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1943: Death and Resistance
 pg. 435 
Dimitur Peshev, vice-president of the Bulgarian National Assembly, was one of the delegation deputies elected by the citizens of Kyustendil to appeal the order to evacuate the local Jewish population. The deputies presented a statement of protest to Parliament, but withdrew it after the king exerted pressure on them. Although Peshev's refusal to withdraw his signature resulted in his being dismissed from his government post, the deportation orders for the Kyustendil Jews were rescinded.
Photo: Organization of Jews in Bulgaria / United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Photo Archive
Even under the conditions that existed at Belzec, Jewish prisoners tried to maintain some remnant of their prewar religious practices. These kiddush cups, found in the camp, were used to celebrate the Sabbath. Such rituals were illegal in the camp, and the punishment for practicing them was death. Jews, however, still felt the need to practice their religious rites, especially under such trying circumstances.Henning von Tresckow was a major general in the German Army who joined the opposition movement against Hitler. While serving on the Russian front, Tresckow became convinced that the campaign was destined for failure and that Hitler had to be removed from power. He was involved in the failed attempt on Hitler's life in March 1943 that took place in Smolensk, Russia; a bomb made of plastic explosives and disguised as bottles of brandy failed to detonate after being placed aboard the Führer's private plane. After the plot to kill Hitler in July 1944 also failed, Tresckow took his own life.
Photo: Main Commission for the Investigation of Nazi War Crimes / United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Photo Archive
Bulgaria and the Holocaust

Bulgaria is a Balkan nation on the Black Sea, bordered by Turkey, Romania, Yugoslavia, and Greece. In 1939 the Bulgarian government ordered foreign Jews out of the country, while the country's radio and press expressed antisemitic sentiments. In the same year, the British Foreign Office warned the Bulgarians that if Bulgarian Jews were shipped to Palestine, the British would "expect the Bulgarian government to take the immigrants back."

The Nazis pressured Bulgaria into allying with Germany during the Second World War--an alliance that frightened Bulgaria's 50,000 Sephardic Jews, who formed ten percent of the country's population. Pressured by the Germans, the Bulgarian government passed antisemitic laws that were supported by some trade and business groups as well as by right-wing and military organizations. Although antisemitism was common, the nation's clergy, monarchy, parliament, and workers prevented the German SS from deporting most Bulgarian Jews. Nevertheless, almost 12,000 Jews living in lands the Germans had awarded Bulgaria (Thrace and Macedonia) were rounded up and sent to their deaths at the Treblinka death camp.

From September 1944 to April 1945, Bulgaria waged war against Germany. The Bulgarian Army, including Jews, fought Germans in Yugoslavia and Hungary.
Photo: Yad Vashem

 March 8-13, 1943: Jews are part of a Red Army force that mounts a massive offensive against the Germans at Sokolov, Russia. Three hundred Jewish casualties, including 140 fatalities, are tallied by battle's end.
 March 9, 1943: The Bergson Boys pageant, "We Will Never Die," opens in New York City. More than 100,000 Americans witness the show, including many government officials.
 March 10, 1943: The SS demands the deportation of all Bulgarian Jews to Poland, but the Bulgarian government resists thanks to the ambivalence of the nation's king as well as protests by clergy, farmers, and intellectuals. Despite the protests, some Bulgarian Jews are exiled to labor camps at Radomir and Samovit, Bulgaria. However, none are deported, and Bulgaria's Jewish population will continue to increase throughout the remainder of the war.
 March 13, 1943: A bomb plot is attempted against Hitler, but explosives disguised by General Henning von Tresckow as bottles of brandy fail to explode aboard Hitler's private plane.
1943: Death and Resistance
 pg. 435 
The Holocaust Chronicle
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