Bulgarian Ambassador to the United States Tihomir Stoytchev addressed the B’nai B’rith Diplomatic Encounter Series luncheon on Jan. 24 and talked about Bulgaria’s history of cooperation and friendship with the Jewish people.
Stoytchev spoke of the long history of “mutual respect, understanding and support” his country has with its Jewish population. In particular, he focused on what he said was a significant example of human compassion in history – the remarkable story of the rescue of the Jewish population of Bulgaria during the Holocaust. In his remarks, he also pointed out that the Jewish community today is vibrant and well integrated into Bulgarian society and assured Jews are always welcome.
B’nai B’rith CEO Daniel S. Mariaschin introduced the event by detailing the heroic story of how the elements of the Bulgarian population — including the Orthodox Church, members of Parliament and many other citizens from all walks of life — came together to save the country’s Jewish population of 48,000 from deportation and certain death at the hands of the Nazis. The 1943 rescue of the Jews of Bulgaria, which was an Axis ally, is a compelling story. Tragically however, more than 11,000 Jews from Northern Greece and parts of Yugoslavia, which were under Bulgarian military administration, were sent to the death camps.
The ambassador also presented the priorities of the Bulgarian Presidency of the European Union in the first half of 2018: The future of Europe and of the young people — economic growth and social cohesion; security and stability for a stronger and united Europe; European perspective and connectivity of the Western Balkans; digital economy and skills of the future. The priorities are focused on delivering “solidarity, security and stability” for Europe.
Through the B’nai B’rith Diplomatic Encounter Series, which launched in 2002, diplomats and professionals meet to talk about some of the most topical domestic and foreign policy issues.