Emigration of Young Jews from Bulgaria to Palestine Will Not Be Permitted, Premier Says

The Bulgarian Government is in sympathy with Zionist aspirations for the creation of a Jewish homeland in Palestine, but considerations of “general state policy” preclude the emigration of young, able-bodied Jews, Premier Kimon Gheorghieff said today.

In a lengthy statement on government policy towards the Jewish citizens of Bulgaria, issued in reply to a request by Zionist and non-Zionist leaders, the premier expressed regret at the mistreatment of Jews by the pro-German regimes and pointed out that his government abolished all anti-Jewish restrictions immediately after taking office.

He stressed that laws providing for the return of confiscated Jewish property have been promulgated and added that “our program provides for full religious liberty and equal treatment for all citizens regardless of sex, religion or nationality.” Mr. Gheorghieff expressed the hope that Bulgarian Jews will succeed, together with the whole Bulgarian people, in building peace and prosperity for the benefit of all citizens.

Discussing “certain controversies and divergencies among Jews, whose echoes sometimes reach us,” the Premier said that “we regret them sincerely and hope that they will be overcome as soon as possible, in order that the energy of all citizens may be applied to the economic and cultural development of our country, enabling the state to more easily play its role as protector of everybody.”

“In principle,” he continued, “we have nothing against the aspirations of the Jewish people to ensure themselves a free national home, and furthermore this aspiration has found approval in many international circles, as, for instance, the recent trade union congress in London. We do have certain reservations regarding the emigration of Jews who are Bulgarian citizens, such as the young and able-bodied. These reservations are imposed by considerations of general state policy.

“In conclusion,” Premier Gheorghieff said, “I want to reiterate that the present government, which expresses the sincere attitude of the Bulgarian people towards national and religious minorities, treats Bulgarian citizens of Jewish origin as it does all other citizens of free Bulgaria, with equal sympathy, attention and confidence.”

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