Holocaust monument defaced in Bulgarian town

Mayor of Vidin decries ‘outrageous and unacceptable’ spraying of ‘Palestine’ and ‘Hamas’ on memorial marking rescue of Jews

A Holocaust memorial in Vidin, Bulgaria defaced with the words "Allah," "Palestine" and "Hamas" on August 19, 2017. (Facebook screen capture)
A Holocaust memorial in Vidin, Bulgaria defaced with the words "Allah," "Palestine" and "Hamas" on August 19, 2017. (Facebook screen capture)

A monument put up by Jews in Bulgaria to thank the town of Vidin for preventing the deportation of its Jews during the Holocaust was vandalized over the weekend.

The Thanksgiving Monument, erected in 2003, was spray-painted with the words “Allah,” “Palestine,” “Hamas,” and the Islamic star and crescent moon symbol, the Shalom Organization of Jewish in Bulgaria said in a Facebook post on Monday.

The organization posted photos of the vandalism, which occurred on Saturday, on its Facebook page.

The mayor of the Vidin municipality, Ognyan Tsenkov, called the vandalism an “outrageous and unacceptable” act, the Shalom Organization said in its post. He reportedly ordered that the monument be cleaned immediately.

На 19 август вечерта беше поруган Паметника на благодарността до Стамбол капия в близост до сградата на Община Видин….

Posted by Организация на евреите в България "Шалом" on Monday, August 21, 2017

Shalom Organization President Alexander Oscar in a letter to the mayor thanked him for his firm statement and quick action, and stressed that the monument “will continue to be a symbol of the brotherhood and a long history between our two peoples,” the post also said.

In 1943, the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, some politicians and many members of civil society were successful in standing up to the Nazis and preventing the country’s Jews from being deported to death camps, the Sofia Globe reported. In 2018, Bulgaria’s Jewish community will mark the 75th anniversary of the prevention of the deportation of 50,000 Bulgarian Jews.

Despite that success, more than 11,000 Jews from parts of northern Greece and Yugoslavia, territories which were under Bulgarian administration during World War II, were deported and killed.

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