Bulgaria was a Nazi ally in the Second World War. But few people outside the country realise that 80 years ago it saved the 50,000 Jews within its pre-war territories from the death camps. This was thanks to the efforts of individual politicians and public figures, the occasional kindness of strangers and of some prominent Orthodox clergy. It's a remarkable anniversary to commemorate and reflect on.
However those same Jews were subjected to antisemitic legislation, humiliation, and had their property confiscated. Male Jews were sent to labour camps in Bulgaria.
In the territories Bulgaria occupied in 1941, formerly Yugoslavia and Greece it was a different story. There the Jewish population was deported to Nazi death camps, they were escorted by Bulgarian guards and the operation was conducted by Bulgarian officials.
For a few days in March 1943, the Bulgarian town of Lom became then focus of dramatic events with tragic consequences. We found someone who remembers it.