Dimitar Peshev

the book
the author
home page

A tree for Dimitar Peshev

Gabriele Nissim
Berlin, March 21st 2000

At the Yad Vashem Museum in Jerusalem - a place more significant than any other for remembrance of the Shoah - a group of men including Benzior Dinur, Minister of Education, Moshe Landau, President of the Constitutional Court, and Moshe Bejski, a judge, had an extraordinary idea: to build a great garden as a tribute to those individuals who risked their lives to save Jews from extermination by the Nazis. For each one of these men - defined as the "Righteous Among the Nations" - they decided to plant a tree, a symbol of life and hope.

The creators of this garden imagined each tree would enclose a story worth passing down to future generations.
Recalling these stories it was shown that, even in extreme situations, men could choose between Good and Evil, and individuals too could take a stand against Evil. The fate of the Jews was not ineluctable. Not everything depended on Hitler's will alone.
I like to imagine the presidents of the German parliament and Bulgarian parliament, together with everyone present at this meeting, today becoming gardeners and planting a tree in front of the Bundestag in commemoration of Dimitar Peshev.
A man like the vice-president of the Bulgarian parliament in 1943 was sadly lacking in Hitler's Germany.
A tree in his honour, right here in Berlin, would have extraordinary symbolic value, particularly today when political figures like Adolf Haider are saying some very ambiguous things about the past.
What is the story young people could read in Dimitar Peshev's tree?

Dimitar Peshev was the only political leader of a country allied with Germany in World War Two to succeed in blocking the deportation of the Jews of an entire nation. Thanks to his action nearly 50,000 Bulgarian Jews were stopped at the last minute from leaving for Auschwitz.
Peshev was not part of the opposition; he was a high-ranking member of the government, who used every bit of his authority to do what no other politician of the Axis was prepared to do.
Peshev acted from inside the extermination machine. [...]

back to events

 << go back
 << home page
  questa pagina in
versione italiana
  layout by KIWI, Milano
copyright © 1998-2003 Gabriele Nissim
privacy & cookie