By Clive Leviev-Sawyer of The Sofia Globe
Anti-Semitism, hatred and intolerance must be fought daily, Bulgarian President Rossen Plevneliev and the leadership of the Anti-Defamation League agreed during talks at the Presidency in Sofia, Plevneliev’s office said.
“These inhuman phenomena must be clearly identified and labelled, because that is the only way that we can confront them successfully,” Plevneliev said at the November 20 talks.
He held talks with an ADL delegation headed by its national chairperson Barry Curtiss-Lusher and national director Abraham Foxman.
The ADL was founded in 1913 to fight against anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry and hatred, to defend democratic values, equality, religious freedom and civil rights.
Plevneliev said that he was proud of what Bulgaria had done for its Jews during World War 2 and thanked the ADL for all that it did for Bulgaria, highlighting the excellent relations between Bulgaria and Jewish organisations in the United States.
In World War 2, Bulgaria – then allied to Hitler’s Nazi Germany – refused to hand over Bulgarian Jews for mass murder in the Holocaust death camps in which six million Jews died. Bulgaria’s resistance was driven by leaders of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, civil society and some politicians.
Plevneliev said that there should be continuous discussions about history, to enable young people to know everything about what happened during the Holocaust, fascism and communism.
The President’s office said that Foxman praised Plevneliev’s consistent position in defence of democratic values and the rule of law.
“I wish the modern world would have more moral voices like yours,” Foxman told Plevneliev, according to the President’s office media statement.
Foxman said that democracy is not granted because it is influenced by various geopolitical and social factors. “You have to cherish and continually nurture democratic foundations of society,” he said.
At the meeting, Plevneliev awarded Foxman the Honorary Sign of the Bulgarian head of state.
The award was presented for his great services and personal contribution to the defence of democratic values, tolerance, human rights and promoting the example of Bulgarian citizenry in valiantly rescuing Bulgarian Jews from the death camps.