BEYOND HITLER'S GRASP by Michael Bar Zohar


The Heroic Rescue of Bulgaria's Jews
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A fast-paced account of the dramatic rescue of 50,000 Bulgarian Jews from probable annihilation during the Holocaust. Former Israeli Knesset member Bar Zohar vividly describes the Bulgarian effort to keep Bulgaria’s Jews beyond Hitler’s grasp. Despite deportation orders, not one Bulgarian Jew is known to have been delivered to the Nazis. Providing a historical backdrop to this largely unknown story, the author disputes allegations of anti-Semitism in Bulgaria. The Bulgarians, he asserts, were unusually tolerant of Jews, Greeks, and other minorities; pogroms weren—t a native tradition. Other interesting facts: Bulgarian Jews were for the most part a nonobservant lot, not set apart in public by distinct garb or by rites and dietary habits. Nor were they wealthy. They were modest workers—largely craftsmen and peddlers—who lived alongside Christians in the poorest sections of Bulgarian towns. Despite their firm Zionist leanings (90 percent immigrated to Israel after the war), they “felt so strongly for their homeland they were willing to die for it.” Unsurprisingly, then, the Bulgarian people remained mostly indifferent to the extreme right’s attempts to incite hatred against the Jews. Rather, Bulgarian society—especially the cultural and political elite—was determined to protect its Jewish minority. Standing particularly firm against anti-Semitism was the Bulgarian Church itself. Bar Zohar documents how, time and time again, the Church confronted the government and challenged anti-Semitic measures. But the Jews of Thrace and Macedonia were less fortunate: he describes the vicious treatment and deportation of these 11,343 forlorn people through Bulgarian territory to the death camps of Treblinka and Majdanek. Weaving elements of romance and espionage into a dramatic tale of redemption, Bar Zohar intrigues and informs us. (b&w photos) (First printing of 40,000; author tour; radio satellite tour)

Pub Date: Nov. 5th, 1998
ISBN: 1-58062-060-4
Page count: 288pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 1998


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