Washington DC Intersection Officially Named after Bulgarian Hero

Diplomacy | November 13, 2013, Wednesday // 16:29|  views

A street intersection outside the Bulgarian Embassy in Washington was officially renamed Tuesday in honor of WW II era Bulgarian lawmaker Dimitar Peshev.

Peshev is credited with helping spare the lives of tens of thousands of Jews during the Holocaust.

A former deputy speaker of Bulgaria’s Parliament, he drew attention to a secret deportation order that would have sent Jews in the country to German death camps. He circulated a protest petition and students, clergymen and others united in support of the Jewish population. The deportation order was ultimately suspended, as King Boris III sent Bulgarian Jews to labor camps but refused to deport them or turn them over to the Nazis. Historians say nearly 50,000 Jews were saved.

“If there was a Dimitar Peshev in every country in World War II, there would be no Holocaust,” Neil Glick, a former D.C. neighborhood commissioner and the leading advocate for the honor, said at a public ceremony at the Bulgarian Embassy in Washington.

Bulgarian Ambassador Elena Poptodorova and D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson aslo attended the ceremony.

“We’re here to honor not just the individual but the country because Bulgaria did distinguish itself,” Mendelson said, as quoted by CBS.

Initially, there was reluctance to name the intersection after the Bulgarian, following an opinion from the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, which pointed out that after all Bulgaria was an ally of Germany during WW II, and that it moreover failed to prevent the deportation of Jews from territories in neighboring Greece and Yugoslavia which were occupied by the Bulgarian army.

Over the summer however, the town hall eventually adopted an act to name the location after Dimitar Peshev.

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Tags: Washington DC, Dimitar Peshev, rescue of Bulgarian Jews, Jews, Nazi Germany, death camps, WW II


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