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Bulgaria’s Chief Rabbi Reported Arrested; Held Since Several Weeks Ago

Bulgaria’s Chief Rabbi, Dr. Asher Hannanel, was arrested by Bulgarian authorities several weeks ago, according to reports reaching here today. The Bulgarian embassy here refused today to confirm or deny the reports of the arrest.

The Chief Rabbis arrest was confirmed indirectly at Sofia when the Bulgarian Undersecretary for Religious Affairs attended services at the Synagogue during the High Holy Days. He was asked about Rabbi Hannanel’s absence from the services, and replied: “I don’t know what the charges against him are, but you may rely on the Justice of the Bulgarian courts.”

Rabbi Hannanel is a prominent figure of Bulgaria, He was active in the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, and the author of many works, including a comprehensive history of Bulgarian Jewry. He visited Israel last year and, at that time, hailed the Bulgarian attitude toward the Jews in that country.