Bulgaria, the Jews, and the Holocaust
Title Details

406 Pages

22.8 x 15.2 cm

2 maps and 12 b/w illus.

Series: Rochester Studies in East and Central Europe

Series Vol. Number: 32

Imprint: University of Rochester Press

Bulgaria, the Jews, and the Holocaust

On the Origins of a Heroic Narrative

by Nadège Ragaru

Translated by Victoria Baena and David A. Rich

  • Description
  • Contents
  • Author
A profoundly original historical inquiry, this work offers a critical reflection on the silences of the past and the remembrance of the Holocaust.

During World War II, even though Bulgaria was an ally of the Third Reich, it never deported its Jewish community. Until recently, this image of Bulgaria as a European exception has prevailed—but at a cost. For it ignored the roundup of almost all the Jews living in the Yugoslav and Greek territories under Bulgarian occupation between 1941 and 1944, who were in fact deported to Poland, where they were murdered.

In this new English translation of her work originally published in French, Nadège Ragaru presents a riveting, wide-ranging archival investigation encompassing 80 years and six countries (Bulgaria, Germany, the United States, Israel, North Macedonia and Serbia), in doing so exploring the origins and perpetuation of this heroic narrative of Bulgaria's past. Moving between legal and political spheres, from artistic creations to museum exhibits, from the writing of history to transnational public controversies, she shows how the Holocaust north of the Danube became a "rescue" to the river's south. She traces how individual merits were turned into "national" achievements, while blame for the deportations was planted squarely on Nazi Germany. And she illuminates how discussions on the Holocaust in Bulgaria were held hostage to Cold War dynamics before 1989, only to yield to political and memorial struggles afterwards. Ultimately, she restores Jewish voices to the story of their own wartime suffering.

On publication this book is available as an Open Access eBook under the Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND.
List of Illustrations
Preface
Introduction
On the "Rescue of the Jews" and National Exceptionalism: A Riddle of Received Wisdom
Knowledge about the Holocaust: Justice, Fiction, and Controversies
Contours of an Investigation
Nationalizing the Past, Internationally
Reassessing the Cold War Era
The Way Forward

Chapter 1. The Judicial Production of an Account of Anti-Jewish Persecution: The Genesis of a Heroic Narrative
Judging in Time of War
The (In)visibility of Anti-Jewish Crimes in the "General Trials"
The Construction of a Judicial Cause by Bulgarian Communist Jews
A Sketch of the Trial Scene
Courtroom 11
The Germans, the Fascists, and the "Good People": Drawing the Perimeter of Guilt
A Fascist is an Anti-Semite... and Vice Versa
The Euphemization of Jewish Suffering
The Posterity of the Court: A Central Elision

Chapter 2. Deportation of the Jews, from Belomorie to the Screen: Negotiating a "Socialist" Reading of the War
Cinemas on Unequal Terms in Bulgaria and East Germany
Elusive Presences of the Holocaust on the Screens
One Co-production, Two Institutions, Several Agendas
Konrad Wolf and Angel Wagenstein, a Dear Friendship
Shooting Notes, and Other Digressions
Script, Storyboard, and Film: Effects of Cutting and Framing
Two Very Different Wars: The Bulgarian Lens
Negotiating an East-East Reading of Nazism: German Polychromy?
Jewish Fates, in a Minor Key
Jewish Passivity: A Question of Gender?
Christian Signs forJewish Suffering? A Transnational Symbolic Repertoire

Chapter 3. The Deportation of Jews from Northern Greece: The Mysterious Journeys of a 1943 Film Footage
Archival Inventories as Texts and Gaze
A Film withoutan Author or Instructions?
Scrutinizing Frames that Resist Analysis
From Visual Document to Legal Evidence: The Beckerle Case
Judicial Cooperation between West Germany, the United States, Israel, and Bulgaria: A Tale of the Cold War
When Art Meets the Intelligence Community
Cultural Diplomacy and the "Rescue of the Bulgarian Jews"
The "Rescue" Goes West: Managing Scarcity and Acquisition Competitions
Managing Scarcity and Acquisition Competitions
Epilogue

Chapter 4. Accounts of "Rescue" and Deportation in Dialogue: Memory Controversies after 1989
Bringing Back the Polyphony of the Past: (In)divisible Truths
When History takes Center Stage
Re-negotiating the Territorial Span of Bulgaria's Historical Narrative
Words and Walls of Conflict in Balkan Jewish Communities
The "Blagovest Sendov" Affair: A Bulgarian Forest in the (Domestic) Political Arena
Dimităr Pešev: A New Topography of Memory

Chapter 5. Fruitful Disputes? Transnational Mobilizations and the Institutionalization of a Space of Dissensus
Charting a New Historiography
Bulgarian-Macedonian Holocaust Controversies
When European Institutions Discuss History and Memory
Games of Scale, Games of Chess: Debating Bulgaria's Memory Policies
Remembering the Holocaust to Fight Anti-Semitism: A Room forConvergence?
In the Spotlight of Euro-Atlantic Integration

Conclusion
Historiographical Disputes
What We Talk About When We Talk About the Holocaust
Jewish Voices in the Writing of the Past
Challenges of the Page: Leafing Through Time, Speaking the Seen

Appendix: The March 1943 Deportations from Territories Occupied by Bulgaria
Bibliography
Index

NADÈGE RAGARU is a Research Professor at the Centres d'études internationales (CERI), in Paris, France.

Paperback

9781648250705

October 2023

Buy

$39.95 / £29.99

Shipping Options

Buy Ships within 2 business days

Buy

Purchasing options are not available in this country.

Open Access

9781648250705

October 2023

Title Details

406 Pages

2.28 x 1.52 cm

2 maps and 12 b/w illus.

Series: Rochester Studies in East and Central Europe

Series Vol. Number: 32

Imprint: University of Rochester Press