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This is not a blog which expresses instant opinions on current events. It rather uses incidents, books (old and new), links and papers as jumping-off points for some reflections about our social endeavours.
So old posts are as good as new! And lots of useful links!

Friday, January 31, 2014

In Memoriam

1 February is Remembrance Day here in Bulgaria for Victims of Communism - but has been so only since 2011. September 9th (1944) is the date which occurs in most of the accounts I have read since it was then that the Communist takeover of Bulgaria took place and the lynching, execution and incarceration of thousands of people got underway– but it was on 1 February that
…….the death sen­tence was passed upon 147 peo­ple from the polit­i­cal elite of the Third Bul­gar­i­an King­dom, includ­ing 67 former MPs and 22 min­is­ters from cab­i­nets dur­ing 1940-1944, among them prime min­is­ters of that time Bog­dan Filov, Dobri Boz­hi­lov and Ivan Bagry­an­ov, as well as the three regents – Prince Kyr­il of Pre­slav, Prof. Bog­dan Filov and Gen­er­al Niko­la Mihov. The sen­tence was passed in the Pal­ace of Jus­tice at 4 pm on 1 Feb­ru­a­ry 1945. The same night, the best known of the defend­ants were exe­cut­ed at the Cen­tral Sofia Cem­e­tery and their bod­ies were bur­ied in a com­mon grave, but it was not before August 1996 that a Chris­tian cross was erect­ed upon it. The sen­ten­ces were jus­ti­fied entire­ly on polit­i­cal grounds. The main defend­ants had first been sent for inter­ro­ga­tion to the former Sovi­et Union and aft­er their return to Bul­gar­ia and estab­lish­ment of the Peo­ple’s Court, their sen­ten­ces were agreed upon between the Polit­i­cal Bureau of the Bul­gar­i­an Work­ers’ Par­ty (BWP) and the Sovi­et lead­er­ship. Present day research of the activ­i­ty of the Peo­ple’s Court leaves no doubt that the entire legal pro­ceed­ings were polit­i­cal­ly biased and the fate of the defend­ants was decid­ed on out­side the court­room.
August 23 was actually named as European remembrance  day for victims of communism and Nazism  - although both Hungary and Latvia commemorate the victims of communism on February 25.  
I am an outsider so should be careful about comments....I have to wonder, however, about the appropriateness of contemporary Bulgarian politicians selecting the best date for such commemoration. Most people these days would not hesitate to string the political class up (God forgive me!). I don't, of course, know anything about how the Bulgarian establishment was viewed by its public in the early 1940s - but it could be argued that it is more appropriate to remember the thousands of more ordinary people who, for a variety of (often dubious) reasons, were summarily executed in those early days of chaos.  

It was bad enough that the judiciary put its stamp on such decisions but just as appalling was the way partisans and others took justice into their own hands and bludgeoned people to death in the even earlier days of the collpase of the old regime. Many ordinary people must have been amongst the perpetrators and constitute a blot on the country's reputation. One reason perhaps why the present-day politicians prefer another date for remembrance.....

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