The Forgotten Holocaust
The great humanitarian act – the rescue of the 150,000 Bulgarian Roma from the “fascist death camps”, together with the 50,000 Bulgarian citizens of Jewish origin in 1943, still needs to be further clarified and analyzed.
It is not clear exactly how many Roma were killed during the Holocaust, with numbers ranging from 220,000 to 500,000. Their fate in post-war Germany and Europe did not receive much attention due to the focus on the extermination of the 6 million Jews. It was not until 1982 that West German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt publicly stated that Sinti and Roma had been persecuted for their race and that these crimes were an act of genocide. A Memorial to European Sinti and Roma victims of the Nazi regime was officially unveiled on October 23, 2012 in Berlin’s Tiergarten Park with the participation of German Chancellor Angela Merkel. This monument, the work of Israeli sculptor Danny Caravan – the “forgotten Holocaust”, in the words of one of the survivors pays tribute to the hundreds of thousands of Roma exterminated by the fascists, and recalls the need for general opposition to discrimination that this ethnic group still encounters in Europe .
The persecution of Roma in Europe began in the early 16th century, but reached its peak during World War II (1939–1945), in Germany, under Adolf Hitler. Hitler’s ideology of protecting the “pure Aryan” race from mixing with “unclean” tribes such as Slavs, Jews, and Roma became a practice when the Nazis took power in Germany in 1933. Gypsies were subjected to racial discrimination from the very dawn of the Nazi era. ideology and governance. Before Berlin hosted the 1936 Olympics, hundreds of them were interned, In 1936, a special research institute for racial hygiene was established, whose director Robert Ritter declared the Roma to be “primitive beings” without individuality, history or culture. The earliest Nazi document concerning the implementation of a total solution to the Gypsy problem at the national or international level was a draft led by Secretary of State Hans Pfundter of the Reich Ministry of the Interior in March 1936, and the first specific reference to the “final solution of the Gypsy question” (endgültige Lösung der Zigeunerfrage) was made by Adolf Würt of the Research Department for Racial Hygiene in September 1937. In 1938, the head of the SS, Heinrich Himmler, set up a special service for the systematic extermination of the gypsies, also called Sinti and Roma.
Following the intensification of the policy against Roma and Jews, the German government also demanded that Bulgaria extradite its Jews and Roma and deport them to “death camps”. Tsar Boris III refused, saving the lives of about 150,000 Roma and 50,000 Jews. This act of heroism on the part of the Bulgarian people, world unknown and unknown to the world, deserves to be awarded the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize to serve as a true example of interethnic and interreligious tolerance and peaceful coexistence. One of the main reasons for this oblivion is that for many years after the war Bulgaria was in the Eastern Bloc, under the regime of the Communists and under the totalitarian control of the USSR. It was an extremely inconvenient and great obstacle for the communists to recognize and explain to the masses and the world community the salvation of the Bulgarian Jews and Gypsies, whose real saviors are the Orthodox Church, the Bulgarian pro-fascists and the monarchy – the three main opponents of communist ideology and regime.
We believe that you will support our initiative in the framework of the World Harmonic Interfaith Relations Week, adopted for the third year in a row, adopted by a Resolution of the United Nations General Assembly in its 65/5 session, 34th plenary session, 20 October. 2010 for World Week, based on resolutions 53/243 A and B of 13 September. 1999 on the Declaration and Program of Action for a Culture of Peace, 57/6 of 4 November. 2002 to promote a culture of peace and non-violence, 58/128 of 19 Dec. 2003 to promote religious and cultural understanding, harmony and cooperation, 60/4 from 20 Oct. 2005 on the Global Agenda for Dialogue among Civilizations, 64/14 of 10 November. 2009 for the Alliance of Civilizations, 64/81 of 7 December. 2009 on the promotion of interreligious and intercultural dialogue, mutual understanding and cooperation for the benefit of peace and 64/164 of 18 December 2009. 2009 on the elimination of all forms of intolerance and discrimination based on religion or belief. King Abdullah of Jordan, who is at the heart of this idea, held numerous meetings to promote World Interreligious Harmony Week with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso as part of the European People’s Party (EPP) meeting in Meisse near Brussels and the two-day meeting of European leaders in the Belgian capital on 16-17 December. In 2010, European leaders, in the presence of His Majesty King Abdullah, signed a Declaration on Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue, pledging to support the spread of the idea of interfaith harmony nationally.