Figure 1.-- Here is Israel Baruch with his sister Marietta (just behind him) and his cousin Ida (in back of Marietta). This picture was taken in Sofia, Bulgaria, during 1932. The children are standing in the snow in front of their grandmother's house in Kyustendil (Sofia).
The most tragic part of researching the Holocaust is the story of actual individuals. In the case of Bulgaris because of the courage of the King, the Church, and people at large there are many heatening experiences during this sad period of European history. One such account is that of Israel Baruch and his family living in Sofia. Israel and his sister Marietta were the children of Yako and Lisa Baruch. Yako Baruch was a successful lawyer and Zionist activist in Bulgaria during the period between the two world wars. The family was quite affluent. Israel in the photo here wears a double breasted short pants suits with large brass buttons. He wears a white shirt with a large white collar underneath and long tan stockings. Notice the sharp creases in his trousers. The Baurch family like other European Jews had to confront NAZI-inspired anti-Semitism and the Holocaust.
Israel and his sister Marietta were the children of Yako and Lisa Baruch. Yako Baruch was a successful lawyer and Zionist activist in Bulgaria during the period between the two world wars. The family was quite affluent,
Here we see a youthful Israel Baruch (figure 1). He later changed his name to Israel Borouchoff. Israel is with his sister Marietta (just behind him) and his
cousin Ida (in back of Marietta). This picture was taken in Sofia, Bulgaria,
during 1932. The children are standing in the snow in front of their grandmother's house in Kyustendil (Sofia). Israel was born in 1929, so he is about 4 years old in this photo. Marietta is about 7 years old.
Israel in the photo here wears a double breasted short pants suits with
large brass buttons (figure 1). He wears a white shirt with a large white collar underneath and long tan stockings. Notice the sharp creases in his trousers. I'm not sure what he is carrying in his hand. It looks like a small hat with a high crown and a decorative band, but it seens to be too small for his head. As an older boy preparing to reach Palestione he wears plus-fours.
King Boris and many Bulgarians had wanted to stzy neutral in World War II. Hitler in the months leading up to Barbarossa gradually drug the Balkan countries into the Axis in an effort to secure his southern flank. Mussolini's adventures in Albania and Greece complicated this effort. Yugoslav naytionalists twarted Hitler's Balkan diplomacy. The Bulgarians joined the Axis and participated in the invasion of Yugoslavia and Greece (April 1941). The Bulgarians who had a long-standing relationship with the Russians, refused to participate in Barbarossa, the NAZI invasion of the Soviet Union (June 1941). After Pearl Harbor, Hitler declared war on America and the Bulgarians dutifully followed the lead of their NAZI ally.
NAZI military victories in Poland (1939) and France (1940) made Germany the dominant military power on the Continent. They forced the Bulgarians to join the Axis despite Ling Boris' reluctance (1941). The Bugarian Government under NAZI pressure passed a new antisemitic "Law for the Defense of the Nation". This sharply restructed the ability of Jewish families to make a living. Israel's family was forced to display the sign, "Jewish
residence,". Later they had to wear yellow stars. Bulgarian officials had begun arresting Jews and interning them. The Government also ordered the deportment of Jews to NAZI death camps. Although no actual deportments occurred from Bulgaria proper, there was great fear among Jews that deportment was about to begin. In fact, the King, the Church, and other Bulgarians opposed the deportment. The Church did so openly and the public reaction was so intense that the Governent had to cancel the deportment order.
Israel attended the prestigious American Grade School in Sofia. After Bulgaria declared war on the United States (DEcember 1941). The American Grade School had to closed. Israel had to transferr to a Hewbrew school housed in the Central Synagogue of Sofia. Jews by this time had been excluded from Bulgarian state schools by the country's anti-Semetic legislation.
Yako Baruch was so concerned about possible deportment that he had Israeal leave the country in an effort to reach Palestine and saftey (February 1943). Israel traveled overland through Turkey, Syria and Lebanon. This was at the time a very difficult trip. Turkey was neutral, but not favirably disposed toward Jews. The British at this time had seized Syria and Lebanon from Vichy, but the official policy in defference go the Arabs was to restrict Jew immigration to Palestine. Israel finally arriving in Palestine (January 1944). Here he was safe as the British had stopped the Afrika Korps at El Alemine (October 1942). Thus there was no Holocaust in Palestine, although there was constant danger of Arab attacks. Israel worked at Yagur Kibutz. Becauseof the Arab attacks, kibbutzes throughout Palestine had begun collecgting arms in violation of British regulstions. They were also active in smuggling in Jews in further violation of British regulations. Thus the British raided kibbutzes searing forf illegal arms and Jews without papers. It was here that Israel was arrested by British soldiers for helping illegal immigrants and for burning ID cards. He was briefly imprisoned, but managed to get released, perhaps because he was so young.
Israel after the War accepted deportment. He rejoined his family back in Bulgaria in 1946. He studied music to become a professional musician, a flutist.
Israel emmigrated to America. He studied at the prestigious Julliard School of Music in New York City. He remained in the United States to play with various orchestras including the St. Louis Symphony. He later became a professor of flute at universities in Wisconsin and Michigan.
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