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35,000 Jews Survived in Bulgaria; Official Pledges Return of Jewish Property

Thirty-five thousand Jews have survived the German occupation of Bulgaria, but not a single Jew remains in Macedonia from where the entire Jewish population was deported to extermination camps in Poland, the correspondent of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency established upon his arrival here today. Before the war there were about 50,000 Jews in Bulgaria.

Dimo Kazasov, Bulgarian Minister of Propaganda, assured the J.T.A. correspondent today that the Jews in Bulgaria would get back all property, businesses and other assets confiscated by the state, or forcibly sold under the anti-Jewish laws of the former pro-Nazi regime. It may take time to settle the transfer of some of the property, he said, but the Bulgarian Government is determined to solve the problem in a manner which will not disrupt “the traditional friendship and mutual understanding between the Bulgarians and the Jews.”

Emphasizing that the Jews in Bulgaria are already enjoying full freedom and equality and that all the anti-Jewish laws have been abrogated, including the law under which the Jews had to pay a special “Jewish tax” on their property up to seventy-five percent of its value, the minister stated that “due to the State’s financial difficulties, these sums will be transferred into a State loan with definite security.” He added that the Bulgarian Government will support the Zionist demands for a Jewish State in Palestine and that Bulgarian Jews will be permitted to emigrate to Palestine,

IMPOVERISHED SOFIA JEWS RETURN TO THEIR HOMES FROM EXILE

The correspondent of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency found that of the 25,000 Jews who resided in Sofia, capital of Bulgaria, before the issuance of the anti-Jewish laws, only two hundred were left. The remainder were deported to provincial towns. Many of them are now returning to their homes, but they are all ruined economically, due to the fact that during the German occupation they were deprived of all their possessions, including money, jewelry and even furniture. Among those who have already returned to the Bulgarian capital are 6,000 Jewish youths who were used for forced labor.

More than forty percent of the Sofia Jews are still living in the small provincial towns to where they were deported. Almost all of them have no clothes to protect them from the cold of the approaching autumn. The Jews returning to Sofia find their homes occupied by Bulgarians. But an official order made public today by the Bulgarian Government permits them to automatically claim their dwellings without any formalities.

The Jewish Consistoire, representing all the Jewish communities in the country, has resumed operations in Softs Jewish partisans are returning to their families and Jewish communal work which was conducted underground during the German occupation is now going on openly. The Zionist organization in Bulgaria and the Zionist youth groups have reopened their offices. The executive committee of the Zionist organization issued an appeal urging the Jews to join the “Patriotic Front” which is composed of representatives of all political parties in liberated Bulgarians.

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