What We Talk About When We (Do not) Talk about the Holocaust in Bulgaria
61 - 72 p.
Bulgaria, Holocaust, the politics of Holocaust memory in Bulgaria
This contribution explores the history of the politics of Holocaust memory in Bulgaria. During World War II, Bulgaria refused to deport its Jewish community. Until recently, the image of Bulgaria as a European exception prevailed – though at a cost: this narrative omitted the almost total roundup of Jews in the Yugoslav and Greek territories under Bulgarian occupation between 1941 and 1944 and their deportation to Nazi-occupied Poland where they were exterminated. How does one explain a complex past, a single facet, namely the non-deportation of the Bulgarian Jews? The “rescue” narrative has become the primary avenue of narrating the history of World War II in Bulgaria. This article traces the legal, political and cultural arenas, as well as the multiple local, regional and international spaces where these narratives of the past were formed. The author shows how Jewish wartime destinies became “satellized” around a broad range of topics and cleavages. Moreover, the contribution seeks to bring Jews back into the writing and transmission of these historical events.