A monument erected in Bulgaria’s Vidin by Israelis from the town has been defaced. The monument was daubed with the words “Allah”, “Palestine”, “Hamas” and the star and crescent moon symbol, the Shalom Organisation of the Jews in Bulgaria, the country’s EJC affiliate, said in a Facebook post on August 21.
The Thanksgiving Monument was put up in 2003 by Jews as an expression of gratitude to the Vidin community for acting to prevent the deportation of Bulgarian Jews from the town to the Nazi death camps.
In 1943, the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, some politicians and members of civil society stood up in successful opposition to Bulgarian Jews being deported to the death camps.
Shalom quoted the mayor of Vidin municipality, Ognyan Tsenkov, as describing Saturday’s act of vandalism as “outrageous and unacceptable”. Tsenkov took immediate action to have the monument cleaned.
In a letter to the mayor, the president of Shalom, Dr Alek Oscar, thanked him for his firm position, timely action and emphasised that the monument would continue to be “a symbol of fraternity and a long history between our two peoples”.
In a statement on August 21, the Embassy of Israel in Sofia said that it severely condemned the outrageous defacing of the Thanksgiving Monument” in Vidin.
The statement noted that the monument was erected by Israelis of Bulgarian origin to thank the people of Vidin for their support to the Jewish community during the Holocaust, the heroic act that prevented the deportation of the Jews to the Nazi death camps.
“Those who defaced the Monument committed a barbaric act of disrespect towards the historic legacy of the Bulgarian people.”