The University of Chicago News Office
Jan. 22, 2003 Press Contact: Josh Schonwald
(773) 702-6421

New film tells how Bulgaria’s Jews escaped the Holocaust

Is religious and ethnic violence inevitable, and can ordinary people do anything about it? The Optimists: The Story of the Rescue of the Bulgarian Jews from the Holocaust will offer an answer to that question on January 23 at 3:30 p.m. in the University of Chicago’s Max Palevsky Cinema, at a free screening and discussion with the film’s director and the Bulgarian ambassador.

In her meditation on human behavior in the face of evil, Hannah Arendt wrote that “I know of no attempt to explain the conduct of the Bulgarian people” who rescued their entire Jewish population from the Nazis during WWII. By telling this little-known story, The Optimists offers insight into how people can mobilize to protect human and civil rights.

The film showing will be followed by a discussion with the director, Jacky Comforty, and the Ambassador of Bulgaria, the Hon. Elena Poptodorova. The event is free and open to the public. It is sponsored by the University of Chicago Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, the Center for East European, Russian and Eurasian Studies, and Doc Films. The Max Palevsky Cinema is located in Ida Noyes Hall, 1212 East 59th St., on the University of Chicago Campus. Parking is available nearby. More information on the film is available at
Last modified at 05:05 PM CST on Monday, April 14, 2003.

University of Chicago News Office
5801 South Ellis Avenue - Room 200
Chicago, Illinois 60637-1473
(773) 702-8360
Fax: (773) 702-8324
Contact Us