Sofia (Jan. 8)
The Bulgarian Cabinet has approved a law providing for the return of certain categories of property seized from Jews by the former Nazi-dominated government, it was announced here today.
The law, a draft of which was made public on Dec. 27, contains the following provisions:
1. Sales of Jewish property to a third person by former governments or by individuals to whom it was assigned are declared invalid and the property reverts to the owners. The government will compensate the purchasers for losses suffered by them, if the property was purchased directly from it.
2. Simulated sales of Jewish property during the period of Nazi-domination, which were made to avoid confiscation, are considered lawful and the present status quo will not be disturbed.
3. Agricultural holdings will be returned to Jews only if they personally cultivated the land prior to its confiscation.
4. Pharmacies taken from Jewish owners will be returned to them.
The new law, as well as various problems facing Bulgarian Jews, were discussed at a two-day conference of the Central Jewish Committee and the Jewish Consistory which opened here yesterday. Revival of Jewish community life, plans for expansion of the Consistory’s activities, and the general political situation insofar as it affects Jews were debated.
FORMER MINISTERS CHARGED WITH SANCTIONING MURDER OF JEWS
At the trial of pro-Nazi and collaborationist cabinet ministers which is now proceeding here, the prosecution today charged that all of the defendants shared responsibility for the murder of thousands of Jews. Among their other crimes, the former officials are accused of ill-treating, robbing and persecuting Jews and delivering 20,000 Jews in Thrace and Macedonia to the Germans for execution in Polish death camps.
Replying to a question by the prosecutor as to why they had consented to persecution of the Jews, the accused replied that they opposed mistreatment of Jews, but did not have sufficient influence to prevent anti-Semitic measures. Christo Petroff, a member of the pro-German Boylov Government, added that he did not know that Jews were being massacred in Germany, and if he had known, he would have resigned immediately. The court rejected his explanation.
Many of the principal defendants are in the hands of the Russian authorities, who have promised to send them to Sofia shortly. Among them are Pater Gabrovski, who, as Minister of the Interior, introduced the first anti-Jewish measures, and Bogdan Filoff, a farmer premier, whose government actively persecuted Jews.