Bulgarians commemorate protests that saved Jewish countrymen

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Ceremonies are being held in Bulgaria Monday to commemorate the massive protests that saved the country's Jews from deportation to Nazi death camps during the Second World War.

The laying of flowers at memorials in the capital of Sofia and other large cities is to mark the 65th anniversary of protests by Bulgarian clergymen, intellectuals, politicians and others.

In 1943, the pro-fascist government of Germany's ally, Bulgaria, signed a secret agreement with the Nazis to deport 20,000 Jews to death camps in Poland.

This plan was partially put into effect, with more than 11,000 Jews of the Bulgarian-administered territories of Macedonia and Thrace being sent to the death camps.

But thanks to the efforts of the then vice-president of parliament, Dimitar Peshev, the deportation of some 48,000 Bulgarian citizens of Jewish origin was prevented.

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