The Fury of a Holocaust Survivor

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.”