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WATCH: Honoring the hidden heroes who saved Bulgaria's Jews during the Holocaust

On Yom HaShoah, ALL ISRAEL NEWS correspondents were honored to gather at Christ Church in Jerusalem to commemorate the extraordinary actions of Metropolitan Stefan of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church and Rabbi Daniel Zion, the Chief Rabbi of Bulgaria during World War II.

Through their unwavering faith, interfaith cooperation, and moral leadership, they successfully prevented the deportation of over 50,000 Bulgarian Jews to Nazi concentration camps.

This special event also marks the launch of Avi Mizrachi's groundbreaking book, "Legacy of Hope: Hidden Heroes from Generation to Generation," which chronicles the story of these two heroes and the Mizrachi family's personal connection to this remarkable history.

Watch the video above or read the transcript below.

Good evening, Kayla Sprague for ALL ISRAEL NEWS in the Old City of Jerusalem. Welcome to this profound event commemorating the hidden Holocaust heroes who have played pivotal roles, saving the entire Jewish population of Bulgaria.

Today is Yom HaShoah here in Israel, a day of remembrance for the 6 million Jewish lives lost in the Holocaust.

Many are gathering here at Christ Church, the oldest Protestant church in the Middle East. Why? To honor the courageous efforts of two extraordinary men, Metropolitan Stefan of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church and Rabbi Daniel Zion, chief rabbi of Bulgaria during World War II. Through their tireless advocacy, interfaith cooperation and moral leadership, they successfully halted the deportation of over 50,000 Bulgarian Jews to Nazi concentration camps.

Tonight's event also celebrates the launch of a groundbreaking new book, “Legacy of Hope: Hidden Heroes from Generation to Generation by Avi Mizrahi.” The book tells the story of Metropolitan Stefan and Rabbi Daniel Zion, both from a historical and deeply personal perspective. Avi's own father, Nissim, and his grandparents were eyewitnesses to the miracle that unfolded in Bulgaria. Rabbi Daniel Zion was a respected rabbi in Sofia, Bulgaria during World War II. When the Bulgarian government allied with Nazi Germany and began implementing anti-Jewish laws in 1941, Rabbi Zion spoke out against these measures.

Devorah Boaz, the main researcher for “Legacy of Hope" during Yom HaShoah presentation at Christ Church:

"Why is [Rabbi Daniel Zion] not known to the Israeli public? I truly wondered, throughout the research I conducted: How is it that a man who struggled and did so much to prevent the expulsions and his heroism in World War II, where he was willing to sacrifice – everything even his own life – in order to save Bulgaria’s is he not known? And how is it that he received such harsh criticism afterward? And the only conclusion I reached is that it was because he was a Messianic Jew."

Sprague: One very interesting element about him is that he was a believer in Yeshua, Jesus. God actually gave him a vision and mandated him to share the vision with other Bulgarian leaders. Rabbi Zion worked together with Metropolitan Stefan, the head of the Bulgarian Church, at the time, to convince Tsar Boris III to prevent the deportation of the Bulgarian Jews.

After waiting many hours at the palace, they were able to deliver a letter to the king urging him not to deport the Jews. Their story demonstrates the immense power of unity between Jews and Christians in the face of unthinkable evil.

In May 1943, Rabbi Zion and Chief Rabbi Doctor Asher Hananel appealed directly to Metropolitan Stefan to intervene and stop the deportation of 800 Jews to Sofia. Metropolitan Stefan took their plea to Tsar Boris III, ultimately leading to the cancellation of these deportations. Rabbi Zion declared a ‘day of prayer and fasting ‘in the Sofia synagogue in response to deportation notices being sent to the Jewish community. He encouraged the gathered Jews to maintain faith despite the dire circumstances.

The book also chronicles the Mizrachi family's story behind the war years, detailing their aliyah to Israel and how they helped build the new Jewish state. “Legacy of Hope” is an intimate portrait of faith, divine calling, and the unbreakable spirit of the Jewish people. Let us remember and honor these hidden heroes, and may their example of courage and prophetic solidarity continue to inspire us for generations to come. We are also reminded of how just a few courageous men, inspired by God and the move of the Holy Spirit, can change the fate of nations.

Sprague interviewing "Legacy of Hope" author Avi Mizrachi: What an incredible opportunity to hear parts of your story. What I didn't realize before tonight is how connected this book and this story – the miraculous rescue of the Bulgarian Jews – is to your family. Could you share a little bit about that?

Avi Mizrachi: Well, my mother became a believer because of Rabbi Daniel Zion. And in the 50s...and this is really changed her life, totally. And so my mother came to faith, my sister, then me, then my father. And it's all because of this Jewish rabbi – the rabbi of Bulgaria, who had a vision of Yeshua, became a believer and, during the Second World War, stood with the other leader of the Christian church – together, as the one new man – stood against the evil Hitler, who sent the trains three times to collect the 50,000 Jews, and three times those trains went back empty and 50,000 Jews were saved, which includes my family.

So this is a total miracle of God. And I personally believe that if many nations like that – if the churches stood with the Jewish people – how many more Jews could have been saved from being murdered by the Nazis – slaughtered by the Nazis? But it happened in Bulgaria. A total miracle of God.

Those 50,000 Jews were supposed to, according to the agreement, were supposed to go to Auschwitz and be killed and destroyed. But God used Rabbi Daniel Zion, the rabbi of my parents, and this bishop, Metropolitan Stefan, walking together, praying together, standing against the evil one. And the train turned back to Hitler, empty.

Sprague: Wow. And you're standing here today because of that obedience and that faith and that courage.

Devorah, what an incredible event. Just getting to here....really...years. How many years were you working on this?

Devorah Boaz: Eight years.

Sprague: Eight years of research now being shared. Could you share a little bit about that process and why it's significant? You were working on this research that's so connected to your family with your dad?

Boaz: Yes, it was very personal because I remember my grandparents talking about this rabbi, Rabbi Zion. And it was I wanted people to understand what he did and for the Israeli population and people to know what he did. And I was trying to go figure out this puzzle because I had different pieces, and I wanted to see what this puzzle looked like, because, in the end, 50,000 Jews were saved and my family was saved. And I'm alive because of what this rabbi did. And so I wanted the future generations to know what he did. And I did not want it to get lost in history.

And for me, I knew that if you didn't write it down, if you didn't research, then these things can get lost. And this was such a treasure story that I want people to know and learn and I hope that people will even grasp this, story and even go even deeper in the research.

Sprague to Mizrachi: So to our viewers, to the audience, what would you say, how this relates to how we as believers respond to the antisemitism and what's happening today? What would you be your encouragement to viewers?

Mizrachi: Yes, I believe as we are entering the end times, this evil spirit of antisemitism, racism, that is growing up in the world. This is the time for the born-again Christians –the born-again believers – to stand for righteousness, to stand for truth, and to stand with Israel.

I believe this is the test time. Are you going to stand with Israel? Are you going to stand with the Word of God? Or will you bow down to the Allah of Muhammad, the moon god? And I believe we have no choice because there is a war going on – a spiritual warfare. And we must, as believers – Jewish believers and non-Jewish believers – stand together, praying together, standing against the evil and speak the truth. Because Yeshua Jesus is our only hope.

Jesus is coming back soon and this is our chance to stand together and share the Good News in the midst of all the darkness. Because the darkness cannot overcome the light, and we are the light of this world through Yeshua, Yeshua, Jesus our Messiah.

Sprague: Thank you for watching this feature here at Christchurch on Yom HaShoah. Kayla Sprague for ALL ISRAEL NEWS. Stay tuned for more coverage in the coming days.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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