Shaul Gattenyo is furious with the Jerusalem municipality. The 76-year old Holocaust survivor gets angry every time he passes a memorial at the corner of Hanoh Albek Street and Hebron Road. The inscription reads: “Pride and Glory to the Bulgarian people for saving the Jews of Bulgaria during the Shoah “.
He gets especially infuriated at this time of the year, because it was on March 11 1943 that Bulgaria, allied with Nazi Germany and occupying Macedonia, gathered all of the 7,200 Jews of Macedonia into a tobacco factory warehouse in Skopje and sent them in three trainloads to Treblinka .
“My parents and grandparents who were rounded up by Bulgarian police were among those murdered in Treblinka,” explains Gattenyo. “ I was 2 and half years old at the time and was saved by my Slovenian nanny , Zora P`iculin who has been recognized as Righteous Among the Nations. She hid me in a monastery.”
Gattenyo points out that while it is true that the Bulgarians did not deport the Jews from Bulgaria proper, they do not deserve a blanket stamp of approval for their conduct.
What he , and other Macedonian Jewish families would like to see, says Gattenyo, is an adjacent plaque acknowledging the fate of the Macedonian Jews.
He has sent letters of protest to Mayor Nir Barkat , President Rivlin , Prime Minister Netanyahu, Minister Gila Gamliel and Avner Shalev chairman of Yad Vashem.
“Until now the President Rivlin , Prime Minister Netanyahu and minister Gila Gamliel haven`t even bothered to answer my letters , sent long time ago, “ says Gattenyo.
Barkat replied, stating that “The Bulgarians deserve the honor, and we will not remove the memorial… ”
“But Barkat didn`t mention anything about what happened to the Jews of Macedonia,” insists Gattenyo.
Only Shalev replied that he sympathized with him.
Gattenyo is a retired math teacher and one of the last survivors. “I don’t think we are asking for too much. I think our community deserves the acknowledgement.”