Holocaust-Era Assets

RG 84: Bulgaria

State Department and Foreign Affairs Records

Records of the Foreign Service Posts of the Department of State (RG 84)


Bulgaria, under King Boris III, attempted to remain a neutral and tried to please Germany by agreeing to sign at a future date the Tripartite Treaty and by enacting legislation in 1940 and 1941 against the Jews and Masons.  But eventually increased German pressure and fear of Russia prompted the Bulgarians on March 1, 1941 to sign the Tripartite Treaty with Germany.  The following day German troops were allowed to enter Bulgaria en route to Greece.  Within the week the United Kingdom severed diplomatic relations with Bulgaria.  Bulgaria declared war against the British and the United States on December 1941.

Germany exercised increased significant control over Bulgaria's economy during the war.  The second largest bank, the German-Bulgarian Credit Bank, which was German-owned before the war, and the Bulgarian Commercial Bank, which came under German influence during the war by the replacement of French interests, influenced most of the trade between Germany and Bulgaria. Various German mining interests obtained concessions on Bulgarian territory for the development of raw materials needed by German industries.  I.G. Farben obtained a concession to build various chemical plants in Bulgaria.  And tobacco, Bulgaria's largest export item, came under German control through German financing of the tobacco crop.

Although King Boris supported measures against the Jews, he refused to have them deported. But he could not protect them.  In September 1942, from pressure from the German SS, Bulgaria adopted numerous policies against the Jews, including the confiscation of their property Deportations, forced by the German SS, began in the spring of 1943, when over 11,000 Jews were sent to Treblinka and other death camps. It is estimated that some 14,000 Bulgarian Jews of an estimated 64,000 pre-Final Solution population were exterminated.  Many of the ones who were not sent to extermination camps or otherwise murdered were sent to labor camps.

King Boris, who died shortly after a stormy meeting with Hitler in August 1943, was succeeded by political leaders who had grown like their king to put more faith in the Allies than the Axis. Allied bombings of Bulgaria during the spring and summer of 1944 forced Bulgaria further away from its alliance with the Axis.  On September 5, 1944 Russia declared war against Bulgaria and three days later Bulgaria asked for an armistice.  Soviet forces then crossed into Bulgaria and a coup led by Communists took control of the government.  On September 8, 1944 Bulgaria declared war on Germany and by the end of the month Bulgarian forces joined with the Russians in fighting the Germans. (Note 62)

Records of the Sofia Legation

General Records 1936-1941 (Entry 2182)
Boxes 1-10A

Classified General Records 1947-1948 (Entry 2183)
Box 1

Records of the U.S. Mission to Sofia

General Records 1943-1945, 1947-1948 (Entry 2184)
Boxes 1-5

Records of the U.S. Delegation to the Allied Control Commission, Bulgaria

General Records 1942-1948 (Entry 2184A)
Boxes 1-2