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Lecture: Joseph Benatov: “How the Bulgarian Jews Survived the Holocaust”

December 12, 2019, 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

In this talk, Joseph Benatov discusses the history of Bulgarian Jews during the Holocaust. In 1943, Bulgaria complied with German demands and deported nearly 11,400 Jews from occupied territories in northern Greece and Yugoslavia (Macedonia). At the same time, Bulgaria successfully resisted German pressures to deport the 50,000 Jews living in Bulgaria. Benatov offers an overview of the facts surrounding these historical events and focuses on the conflicting opinions about the role played by King Boris III, church officials and politicians in the rescue of Bulgaria’s Jewish population. Benatov will also discuss the international debate over the way in which this historical moment should be interpreted, remembered and commemorated.

Joseph Benatov holds a doctorate in comparative literature from the University of Pennsylvania, where he teaches Hebrew. He has written on competing national narratives of the saving of the Bulgarian Jews during World War II; Jewish identity politics in Philip Roth’s early fiction; and the sensationalism of U.S. representations of life behind the Iron Curtain. He has translated fiction, poetry, and drama, including several plays staged to wide acclaim in Sofia, Bulgaria. He is also the English translator of the contemporary Bulgarian novel “Zift.” Every summer Dr. Benatov leads Sephardic trips to the Balkans.

Presented with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this programming do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.


December 12, 2019
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Event Category:


Community Room – First Floor
65 Witherspoon Street
Princeton, NJ 08542 United States
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