Published October 21, 2017 by rochellewisoff

Today Pegman ventures to the Balkans to spend some time in Bulgaria. Feel free to use the prompt to inspire you in any way you see fit, be it historical fiction, poetry, a personal narrative, fantasy or whatever you like. The only requirement is to keep your post to 150 words or less as a gesture of respect for your readers.

Today, thanks to J Hardy Carroll and K Rawson, I’ve learned another bit of WWII Jewish history I didn’t know.

Genre: Historical Fiction

Word Count: 150


            My grandmother and I strolled beside the spring, arm in arm. We’d had a picnic, just the two of us, to celebrate her 80th birthday and my 13th.

            “I wish my Papa could’ve been here to enjoy your Bar Mitzvah. He was a rabbi, you know.”

            “I know, Nana.”  

            “So I’ve told you.”

            With her intense dark eyes she could take you captive until she decided to let you go. I didn’t mind.

            Tears trickled down her weathered cheeks. “They closed the Jewish schools. We wore yellow stars. March 9, 1943, my 13thth birthday. They rounded us up like cattle. We waited to be deported. It was inevitable. I would never see my beloved papa again. He held me and wept like a child. Then the miracle happened—”

            “At the last minute Dimitar Peshev, the Vice President of the Bulgarian Parliament, got the order reversed.”

            “So I’ve told you.”


From Wikipedia, After the war, the Communists brought forth charges on the Old Bulgarian Parliament for collaboration with the Germans. Peshev was tried for being both an anti-Semite and anti-Communist and was even accused of having been bribed by the Jews in exchange for halting the deportation.[2] However, his Jewish friends from the Kyustendil delegation, led by Joseph Nissim Yasharoff, testified on his behalf and saved him from a death sentence. He was sentenced to 15 years of imprisonment but was released after one year.


    • Dear Eric,

      Although they’ve built a fountain in Jaffa in his memory, not much is written about him. The death sentence was rescinded and he was sentenced instead to 15 years in prison and only had to serve one. He was a hero and a righteous gentile whose memory deserves better. 🙂 Thank you.



      Liked by 1 person

  • I’ve read that although Bulgaria’s Tsar Boris III joined the war on the side of the Axis powers, he did not participate in Operation Barbarossa and saved Bulgaria’s Jewish population from deportation to the concentration camps.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear James,

      The poor Tsar was quite conflicted. According to what I’ve read he never agreed with the deportation of the Jews. He himself put a stop to another deportation order in May of the same year, stating that he needed the Jews to build roads. After that he died quite mysteriously. Nonetheless the Jewish death toll in Bulgaria remained at 0. These men are my heroes.



      Liked by 1 person

  • Dear Rochelle,

    I so love when you go digging. Not only do we get a wonderfully told story, we come out of it just a little more knowledgable. More ammo for Trivial Pursuit!

    Lotsa love,


    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Jan,

      The video is misleading isn’t it? The Communists took over and sentenced him to death, even accused him of Antisemitism. Apparently the sentence was never carried out, because he died in February of 1973. Aside from the errors, pretty impressive history. Thanks, m’luv.



  • Thank you so sharing this story, Rochelle. Extraordinary what some people were able to do to save so many lives, and that Bulgaria’s Jewish population escaped unscathed when so many surrounding were lost … Like the others, I admire your ability to tell a huge, true tale in such small, personal ways. Well done

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Lynn,

      It baffles me that this bit of history is so obscured. Other reports say he saved closer to 50,000 Jewish lives. 50,000 humans is significant in my book. 😀 Thank you for your generous comments re my writing.



      Liked by 1 person

      • Significant indeed, especially when you consider all of the people who would not have been born if it were not for him – thousands and thousands through 3 generations. This piece of history deserves to be more widely known. Thank you for sharing it.


    • Dear Ali,

      According to his niece in an interview I watched, he was a very quiet man. He didn’t go looking to be the center of attention. Apparently he had strong moral convictions and wasn’t afraid to stand up for them. Thank you.



      Liked by 1 person

  • Dear Rochelle

    There are so many stories in history, aren’t there, so many human motivations?

    I really should become a student of the subject, like you, like Josh, but… something holds me back,,, I know not what.

    Thank you for teaching me more about the Jews’ plight.

    Your stories are always fresh, always insightful.



    Liked by 1 person

  • Dear Kelvin,

    I haven’t always been a student of history, in fact, I saw no reason to be bothered with it back in school. I would still be a washout when it comes to remembering dates and names. Perhaps, for me, it comes with being of an age when I look back and remember what is now considered history.
    Of course back in my school days there was no such thing as the internet. A great tool if used properly.
    Thank you for your generous comment.




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