Google+ The World 2 Come: Movie of the Week: "The Optimists"

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Movie of the Week: "The Optimists"

Keywords: Bulgaria, Jew, Holocaust

The Story of the Rescue of the Bulgarian Jews from the Holocaust

"Our documentary tells the dramatic story of how Bulgarian Christians and Muslims saved 50,000 Jews from the Holocaust. Few people know this rescue story. But that is about to change.

The time was 1943. The place: Bulgaria, a supposedly obscure, backward country in Eastern Europe. But it proved to be among the most civilized of nations. Fifty thousand Jews lived in Bulgaria before and after World War II. Fifty thousand didn't die even though the Nazis had begun to set in motion the trains that were to take the Bulgarian Jews to their deaths.

The Jews of Bulgaria lived because Bulgarian Christians and Muslims found ways to protect them. Individuals and organizations made a difference. Ordinary people stood up for their Jewish friends and neighbors. The Church, certain Bulgarian Parliament members, lawyers, writers, trade unions, professional guilds, and people from all walks of life helped defeat the Nazis' plans for mass deportations.

And this despite the efforts of the Bulgarian government to meet Nazi demands for quotas, i.e., to hand over thousands of Jews for transport to concentration camps.

The Optimists explores how different ethnic and religious groups stood by each other in Bulgaria even during the Holocaust. It is directed by award-winning filmmaker Jacky Comforty, whose family was among those rescued and who was determined to tell this story on film.

Bulgaria's experience offers valuable insight into how we can mobilize to protect human rights and civil rights now. This is a story that must be told. The Optimists tells it."
Source: The Optimists

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