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Bulgaria accepts blame for 11,000 Holocaust deaths

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Bulgaria’s president accepted responsibility for the deaths of more than 11,000 Jews during World War II.

President Georgi Parvanov, during a visit this week to Israel, took responsibility for the deaths of 11,000 Jewish residents of Thrace and Macedonia, areas that were annexed to Bulgaria in April 1941, Israeli media reported.

Acting under Nazi orders, Bulgarian police arrested Jews in those territories and deported them to Treblinka in 1943. The history of those Jews often has been played down in the face of the saving of 48,000 Jews in Bulgaria proper by the country’s religious and political leaders.

“When we express justifiable pride at what we have done to save Jews, we do not forget that at the same time there was an anti-Semitic regime in Bulgaria and we do not shirk our responsibility for the fate of more than 11,000 Jews who were deported from Thrace and Macedonia to death camps,” Paranov said Thursday at the Israeli president’s residence in Jerusalem.

Parvanov, a member of the socialist – formerly Communist – party, is the first Bulgarian leader to accept responsibility for the deaths.

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