Among Neighbors and Relatives: Intercessions and Jewish Persecution Through the Lens of Bulgaria’s Postwar Trials (1944–45) - Sciences Po Access content directly
Book Sections Year : 2023

Among Neighbors and Relatives: Intercessions and Jewish Persecution Through the Lens of Bulgaria’s Postwar Trials (1944–45)

Abstract

This chapter examines the role of personalized ties in the wartime enforcement of anti-Jewish policies in Bulgaria and the 1944–1945 prosecution of crimes against Jews—using the judicial proceedings before the Bulgarian People’s Courts as a lens on the relationships between Jews and gentiles during the war, as well as in its immediate aftermath. Set up in the fall of 1944, Chamber 7 of the People’s Courts was the first jurisdiction exclusively dedicated to the legal reckoning with the Holocaust in Europe. A close reading of the witness testimonies and defense strategies of the accused and their legal counsels reveals complex ties of dependency and power asymmetries between perpetrators and their former Jewish victims. Thereby, the author lifts a veil on the social mechanisms of anti-Jewish persecutions during wartime, a period when exchanges of favors—until then a social norm—were commoditized and turned into venues for brutal financial extraction. She also shows how in the final months of the war the dense web of personal connections permeating Bulgarian society hindered the ability of the prosecutors to prove the guilt and ensure the conviction of the defendants. Ultimately, the court, which was established to document and compensate for the persecution of Jews, ended up constructing a case for the historically good relations between Bulgaria’s Jews and non-Jews.
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Dates and versions

hal-04062407 , version 1 (07-04-2023)

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Nadège Ragaru. Among Neighbors and Relatives: Intercessions and Jewish Persecution Through the Lens of Bulgaria’s Postwar Trials (1944–45). Anna Wylegała, Sabine Rutar, Małgorzata Łukianow (eds). No Neighbors’ Lands in Postwar Europe, Palgrave Macmillan, pp.179-203, 2023, Palgrave Studies in the History of Experience, ⟨10.1007/978-3-031-10857-0_8⟩. ⟨hal-04062407⟩
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