Prof Israel Borouchoff S Letter

Prof. Israel Borouchoff’s letter to Congressional Representative Tom Lantos

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May 16, 2003

Congressional Representative Tom Lantos California-12th, Democrat 2413 Rayburn HOB Washington, DC 20515-0512

Dear Mr. Lantos,

As an American citizen, and one of the 48,000 Jewish survivors of the World War II Holocaust in fascist Bulgaria, I wish to call your attention to H. CON. RES. 77 of March 4, 2003, which you and Mr. Wilson have introduced, and passed by Congress with Senate concurrence on March 11, 2003.

The above resolution specifically names and glorifies King Boris III, head of the fascist Bulgarian government, an anti-Semite and staunch ally of Hitler, as savior of Bulgaria’s Jews, along with the true heroes who fought on our behalf in our struggle for survival against the menace of the Nazi murder machine!

In December of 1941, Bulgaria, with Boris III at the helm, declared war on the United States of America. He signed the agreement of February 22, 1943 to send to the gas chambers of Treblinka 11, 343 of our brethren from Thrace, Macedonia and Pirot, lands that comprised and integral part of Bulgaria. In a telegram nr 442 of April 4, 1943, Joachim von Ribbentrop stated to Ambassador Beckerle in Sofia, that King Boris III told him he had approved the deportation of the Jews from these territories. These represent 20% of the Jewish population of United Bulgaria, totaling 60,000.

The claim that “old” Bulgaria rescued all of her 48,000 Jews, and that the size of the country’s Jewish population actually increased, as stated in the resolution, could not be further from the truth! It is a grave insult to the descendants of the victims, as well as blatant denial of the Holocaust!

According to official diplomatic correspondence between the Bulgarian and German governments, the 170 Jewish Bulgarian citizens (from old Bulgaria) living in France were abandoned and sent to Auschwitz!

Fascist Bulgaria behaved in a manner not too different from Vichy’s France, which also got rid of “only” 75,000 of her “undesirable foreign Jews”, or Rumania, which allowed the Jews from Bessarabia and Bukovina to be annihilated, but “saved” her Jews from within the country’s old confines. Glorifying Bulgaria’s King Boris III is not much different than glorifying Vichy’s Pétain, or Rumania’s Antonescu!

It is indeed hard to believe that the 418 congressional representatives voted in favor of H. 2

CON. RES. 77, while completely ignoring the aforementioned historical facts. A possible explanation is that they were unaware of Boris’s well-documented behavior, and that his signature “graces” the anti-Jewish legislation of November 19, 1940, which he initiated. It rivaled the Nuremberg laws in severity, and effectively destroyed our lives, robbed us of our properties, turned us into second-class citizens, and by forcing us to wear the Yellow Star of David, marked us as fair game for insults and physical abuse by fascist thugs. Many Jews, who could not pay the draconian taxes imposed, had their properties confiscated, and were reduced to poverty. King Boris, the glorified hero of your resolution, is directly responsible for that, in addition to the aforementioned genocide of 20% of United Bulgaria’s Jewish Population.

Boris III dramatically demonstrated his true anti-Semitic self with the most vicious and prosecutorial anti-Jewish pronouncements of his reign during his April 15, 1943 speech before the Cabinet of the Holy Synod. As the transcript so reads, he maintained that the Jews’ spirit damages all of humanity, in as much as it creates “hatred among the population, skepticism, and moral corruption”, and that “the actual world cataclysm is owed to a large extent to their speculative spirit. The faster the people of the world free themselves of their influence, the stronger patriotism and national spirit will become”. Are these the words of a hero credited for saving the Jews? We would not have needed to be saved, had he himself not so willingly handed over more that 11,000 of us to the Nazis, and had he not been only too anxious to deport the rest of us in payment for favors by his ally Hitler! Is this the same person, whom you praise in your resolution? For your convenience, I am attaching herewith a copy of the transcript as documented in Tzvetan Todorov’s book “The Fragility of Goodness”.

In Israel, a forest of trees was planted named “Bulgaria Forest”. In it two marble plaques were erected: one commemorating vice-President of the Parliament Dimitur Peshev, the Bulgarian clergy, and the persons who fought on our behalf; the other was in memory of the 11,343 Jews of Macedonia, Thrace and Pirot who perished in Treblinka.

Later, without any publicity whatsoever, a third plaque, commemorating King Boris III and his wife Queen Giovanna was erected in Bulgaria Forest. Thus the anti-Semite monarch, responsible for the devastating anti-Jewish legislation, the expulsion of thousands of our brethren to Nazi Germany, and the macabre plans to deport Bulgaria’s entire Jewish population, was ironically being honored alongside the true hero Peshev, whom he had punished for fighting on our behalf!

Following a tremendous outpouring of indignation and protests by survivors, descendants of Treblinka victims, and many Bulgarian and Israeli political leaders and historians, a public committee, led by the man who created “The Garden Of The Righteous” for Yad Vashem, Supreme Court Justice Moshe Beiski, was formed. After lengthy deliberation, it ordered that the monuments be removed, and that a new monument be built in memory of the 11,343 Jews from Thrace Macedonia and Pirot that died in Treblinka. In April 2002, indeed such a monument was erected, reversing this outrageous travesty.

While we celebrate the survival of the 48,000 Jews from the confines of Old Bulgaria, the painful tragedy of the heavy price the Jews of United Bulgaria paid will always remain part of the Holocaust’s tragic history. The lives of more than 11,000 of them 3 were sacrificed as payment for the gift of lands and spoils of war Hitler offered King Boris


Many historians of world renown have documented the behavior of Boris, and the truth will prevail! History will not forgive us if we, as the greatest democracy on the globe, do not rescind H. CON. RES 77.

On May 1, 2003, I delivered a speech for the 10th Annual Federal Observance Program as part of the Holocaust Days of Remembrance at the Lincoln Theater in Washington, DC. The program focused on Bulgaria during the Holocaust, and I spoke about some of the topics that I have stated here before a very interested audience that, inexplicably, had not heard much about Dimitur Peshev’s brave acts, as well as those of several Jewish leaders, whose roles were pivotal in our struggle for survival. Bulgarian Ambassador to the US, Ms. Elena Poptodorova was the other keynote speaker, and in addition to her repeating the false claim that the Jewish population in Bulgaria increased, introduced a newly conceived tall tale that gentile Bulgarian people wore the Yellow Star of David as a token of solidarity with us! Ms. Poptodorova was born in 1951. I was born in 1929 and was there, wearing the Yellow Star of David, and never saw, heard or read any evidence about gentile Bulgarians, not even our closest friends, wearing it! I challenge any one to find genuine historical evidence that this was indeed true. Nevertheless, it certainly shows the efforts of the Bulgarian government, which has never apologized for the genocide, destruction of our lives and pilfering of our properties as Hitler’s ally, to ingratiate itself in the eyes of Americans. Its goal has been successful, both in achieving H. CON. RES. 77, and best of all, in joining the NATO with the United States’ unanimous endorsement!

My appeal to you, Mr. Lantos, is that you, as distinguished Congressional Representative and survivor from the Holocaust yourself, act to reverse the travesty of H. CON. RES. 77. Fascist Bulgaria’s leader who tacitly approved the gassing of 11,343 of his citizens, does not deserve honor, but condemnation! I am sure I need not to remind you, that just two months ago, we went to war against a dictator who did the same thing to his own citizens as well! It would behoove the legislative body of our great nation to find a way to rectify this serious blunder in a manner similar to that of the Israeli committee led by Supreme Court Justice Beiski.

Yours most sincerely,

Professor Israel Borouchoff
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