Impact Grants

Return to Impact Grants

Rescued Future

Neli Dimova and Doneta Miteva, Varna and Ruse


This project was developed by Neli Dimova and Doneta Miteva in Varna and Ruse and focused on the research of the role of Bulgarian institutions during the Second World War and the Holocaust. Over 100 students took part in the project. The project also involved 10 teachers and professionals from Regional Historical Museum Varna, as well as members of Shalom Society.


Students were grouped in teams that researched and presented seven topics. The first team focused on the role of Tsar Boris III, presented their research to their classmates who then wrote essays about the role of the Bulgarian Tsar. One of these essays also received the grand prize at the National Holocaust Historical Competition. The second team examined the activities and the role of the National Assembly and Dimitar Peshev. This group, supported by the teachers, raised funds to plant a “Tolerance Tree” in the schoolyard. The third group of students presented the role of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church in saving the Bulgarian Jews during the war and specifically that of Metropolitan Cyril. They prepared a rich photo collection and a poster on the subject. The presentation engaged listeners with interesting questions and concluded with a discussion on the place of the church in the promoting Christian values ​​today.


The fourth group studied and presented the role of Bulgarian journalists from 1941 to 1944. This group made a short film about tolerance in our school. The film was presented to ten classes and at a meeting in Ruse Language School in front of 60 students. They also organized a radio broadcast about the Holocaust and the Jewish community during the Second World War. The fifth topic was developed by a team that focused on the intellectuals from Kyustendil on their contribution to preventing the deportation of Bulgarian Jews.


For the sixth and seventh topics, concerning Jewish culture and traditions and the history of the Jews in Varna, students met members of the Jewish community in Varna. They learned about the Varna Synagogue, Jewish holidays and traditions. They developed an interactive game for all known ethnicities that lived in Varna at the beginning of the 20th century. They organized an exhibition of materials received from descendants of Jews who lived there during the Second World War.


Additionally, students organized an exhibition at the AEG Hall “Geo Milev” Ruse and presented their research interactively. Multimedia presentations on “The Holocaust and the Rescue of the Bulgarian Jews”, extracts from the Holocaust essays and the film “Rescued Future” were shown. After the workshop, our partners from the Ruse High School organized a tour of school, a tour of the historical landmarks of the town of Ruse, as well as a walk along the Danube River.


The project ended successfully as students stated their commitment to preserving the historical memory of the Bulgarian role in saving the Bulgarian Jews and the resistance of the Bulgarian society to the deportation of the Bulgarian Jews. We will continue our work on the project and expand our activities. There is a meeting in October with Tsar Simeon in Euxinograd. We will participate in organized meetings with the Shalom organization in Varna and we will invite specialists from RHM Varna and the Regional Government of Education in Varna to address the students.


For more information about The Olga Lengyel Institute for Holocaust Studies and Human Rights (TOLI), please contact

TOLI is located at 58 East 79th Street in Manhattan. (get directions)