GREETING ADDRESS FROM MR. IVAN KOSTOV,
PRIME MINISTER OF BULGARIA
"Your Excellencies, distinguished ladies and gentlemen
Members of Parliament, dear guests of the Bulgarian Parliament! I
am truly sorry that I am unable to attend in person the solemn session
at the National Assembly dedicated to the contribution of Dimitar Peshev
and the deputies to the Twenty-fifth National Assembly to the rescue of
Bulgaria's Jews. It is with great delight that I favour this idea
to have the Bulgarian Parliament become the forum for the appropriate commemoration
of this Bulgarian parliamentarian, outstanding democrat and humanist, whose
life was a message reaching far beyond the boundaries of this country.
The rescue of Bulgaria's Jews during World War II is
a fact indicating categorically that Bulgaria is a country which provided
convincing evidence of the respect of human rights and freedoms, a country
that gave a categorical and yet unique example of how the joint efforts
of the Bulgarian nation and its state institutions, whose representative
Dimitar Peshev was, enabled the physical rescue of a loyal minority and
at the same time constituted a moral investment in the future of the Bulgarian
nation and statehood.
I have no doubt whatsoever that Bulgaria's semblance
before the world, its pass to the twenty first century ought to be exactly
this ethnic and religious tolerance, because since its very inception the
Bulgarian nation has been the favourable result of a healthy amalgam of
various faiths and traditions.
Personalities such as the Vice President of the National
Assembly, the Honourable Dimitar Peshev, do corroborate the fact that a
representative of a democratic institution could, on the strength of his
conscience and probity, as well as with his fellow deputies' support, to
overturn the baneful lot determined for the Jews in those times of hardships
inflicted upon them, and to grant his country the opportunities to take
pride in such fact.
Bulgaria is fortunate indeed to be recognised by the
rest of the world precisely through personalities such as Dimitar Peshev,
one of the most righteous men of the twentieth century. And the credit
for this goes also to the author of the book 'The Man Who Stopped Hitler',
Mr. Gabriele Nissim. It is my conviction that there is something
particularly symbolic in the fact that the memory of an outstanding Bulgarian
democrat, that had been under ban for an undeservedly long period of time,
is being now revived exactly at this solemn meeting in the plenary hall
of Bulgaria's parliament."
Prime Minister of the Republic of Bulgaria