LONDON (Sep. 18)
Jewish sources in Eastern Europe have indicated that the Bulgarian government is trying to get rid of that country’s 4000 Jews. That is the hidden intent behind the recent secret trials and conviction of two prominent Bulgarian Jews, both of them members of the Communist Party, the sources said. They reported that three more Bulgarian Jews have been placed under arrest and are expected to be brought to trial shortly.
The sources referred to the cases of Dr. Heinrich Spetter, a government statistician, and Solomon Ben-Yosef, a chemical engineer employed by a government enterprise. Dr. Spetter was sentenced to death for alleged espionage but was released last month after international protests. He is now in Israel. Ben-Yosef just received a 15-year sentence at hard labor for alleged “economic crimes” which were never specified.
According to the sources, many of Bulgaria’s 4000 Jews occupy high positions in government and society. The Sofia regime, however, does not consider them completely “reliable,” even those with Communist Party credentials. Recent developments in the Soviet Union over exit visas have made the Bulgarian authorities suspicious, the sources said. Their present policy seems to be to warn the Jews through the trials that they had best leave the country. The Bulgarians are quite willing to issue exit visas for emigration to any country that will admit the Jews. They know that only Israel will admit them without difficulty, the sources said.