Twelve years after FDR was born in the US, another important warrior for peace was born on this day in Bulgaria. He was Boris III (January 30 1894 – August 28, 1943) born to mother Marie Louise of Bourbon-Parma and father Ferdinand I, Prince of Bulgaria. He was given the long name of Boris Klemens Robert Maria Pius Ludwig Stanislaus Xaver but he will forever be known as King Boris III, the Tsar of Bulgaria, and known as The Unifier. He came to the throne in his early twenties and made some very brave choices.
Under this courageous leader, Bulgaria was the only nation in Europe to save its entire Jewish population during the Holocaust because he refused to permit the extradition of Bulgaria’s fifty thousand Jews. He was one of the few world leaders who defied Hitler face-to-face during the war, refusing multiple times to deliver his Jewish citizens beyond the borders of his kingdom. Happy Birthday King Boris III! You forever remain an inspiration of genuine strength of will and courage, and the importance of doing the right thing!
Honors and Memorials include:
~ May 12, 1994, United States Congress proclaimed King Boris III a savior of 50,000 Bulgarian Jews during the Holocaust.
~ A huge picture of him is displayed in the Alexandrov Compound in Atlantic City, NJ.
~ King Boris III was posthumously awarded the Jewish National Fund’s Medal of the Legion of Honor, the first non-Jew to receive one of the Jewish community’s highest honors.
~ The Jewish National Fund dedicated to Bulgaria a forest in Israel, a garden named for King Boris, and a Bulgarian square in Jerusalem.
~ The Anti-Defamation League and Chabad have also honored King Boris III for refusing to sacrifice his Jewish subjects to the Nazi juggernaut.
~ Tsar Boris III Boulevard is one of the main boulevards in the Bulgarian cities Sofia and Plovdiv. In Sofia, the largest park is named in his honour: Borisova Gradina.