SOFIA (Oct. 23)
Tribute to Metropolitan Stefan, head of the Greek Orthodox Church, for his intervention in behalf of the Jews of Bulgaria during the por-Nazi regime here was paid today in a Hebrew broadcast over the Sofia radio. The broadcast revealed that it was due to the efforts of the Metropolitan that the Germans were prevented from deporting Bulgarian Jews to extermination camps in Poland.
A delegation of three Hungarian Jews, deportees who were slave laborers in German-held copper mines in Serbia until the area where they were working was liberated by the Yugoslav Liberation Forces, arrived here today.
They revealed that 6,500 Hungarian Jews were employed in the mines, which were located at Bor, between Nich and Belgrade. They were part of a labor force of 50,000 Italians, Frenchmen, Netherlanders and other conquered people. About 4,000 of the Jews were brought from Hungary in May, 1943, while the other 2,500 arrived last May, during the period when thousands of Jews were being deported from Hungary to Poland.
The arrivals disclosed that when the Germans retreated from Bor to Belgrade they took with them 4,000 of the 6,500 Jews. Their present whereabouts and fate are unknown. Of the 2,500 left behind, most of the younger man fled to the mountains and joined Tito’s forces. When the Yugoslav troops freed the Bor region, more Jews joined Tito, while others began the long trek homeward, through Rumania and Bulgaria, in the hope of being reunited with their families.
The delegation represents 200 who are now in the Bulgarian town of Vidim. Many of these are ready to join any forces fighting the Nazis, the delegates said, while others want to get to Palestine to join the Jewish Brigade.
Three-hundred Hungarian and German soldiers supervised the Jews labor in the mines. They were beaten and tortured and forced to work from dawn to late at night without clothing or food. The slave laborers wore huge Mogen Dovids on their chests and backs. They were housed in rude labor camps located between Bor and Belgrade.