Dimitar Peshev was born in Bulgaria in 1894. Although a man of democratic beliefs he initially supported the authoritarian government that ruled Bulgaria during WWII as well as the strategic alliance with Hitler’s government. At the time he did not foresee the real goals of the Nazi government which he thought would bring prosperity to Bulgaria and its people.
Even when the German government requested that its Bulgarian counterpart approve laws that would first convict and later sentence Jews, he initially saw it only a temporary measure rather than the beginning of the end for the Jews in Bulgaria.
Peshev’s recantation began when a close Jewish friend of his youth arrived at his door requesting his help in saving the 8,000 Jews of Kyustendil, a town where he had spent his earlier years. This incident marked Peshev’s turning point, the moment when he realized that the Jewish people of Bulgaria were in danger of perishing at the hands of the Germans.
Having decided to take action, he went to Parliament bursting into the office of Gabrosky, who was then the Bulgarian Minister of Interior. After a fierce argument, Gabrosky issued an order annulling the deportations of Jews from Bulgaria.
Then, he personally proceeded to corroborate with each prefect’s office that the deportation order would not be executed.
Peshev’s next steps would lead him to lose his post as vice-chairmen of Parliament.
In order to save all 50,000 Jews in Bulgaria from deportation he obtained the signatures of 40 members of Parliament and presented his government with a letter of protest in which he publicly denounced the idea of deporting all the Jews from Bulgaria.
Despite having been removed from office he was later brought to trial on charges of having supported the pro-German government and faced the death sentence. After one year in prison the court freed him after leaning about his key role in saving the Bulgarian Jews.
Dimitar Peshev died on 20 February 1973.
Details on Peshev’s Stamp at Bombay Stamp.