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Simon Wiesenthal Lecture
Roumen Avramov: The Microeconomics of State Antisemitism: Expropriating the Jews Under Bulgarian Rule, 1941–1944

Donnerstag, 23. Juni 2016, 18:30 - 20:00

Dachfoyer des Haus-, Hof- und Staatsarchivs 1010 Wien, Minoritenplatz 1


The fates of the Jews from Bulgaria and from the territories occupied by the country (1941–1944) present a striking dichotomy. While those inhabiting Bulgaria proper survived, the Jews from the Greek and Yugoslav lands administrated by the Bulgarian authorities were deported by them into German custody and murdered in Treblinka.

The economics of this Holocaust story has attracted scant attention. The lecture draws evidence from the Bulgarian archives and addresses the Government’s spoliation policies carried out in the realm under its control. They nurtured behavioural patterns, mobilized social actors and fostered institutional networks. Reduced to its basic economic terms, the expropriation of the Jews boiled down to a forced offer of assets and personal belongings which engendered strongly biased customer’s “markets”. This operation remapped segments of the economic tissue and further enhanced the role of the State through the arbitrary interventions of the Commissariat for the Jewish Affairs. In a broader perspective, the myriad of induced economic transactions contributed largely to the banalization of antisemitism among different strata of the society.

Roumen Avramov is a Permanent Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study Sofia. He works in the areas of economic history, history of economic ideas, economic culture and monetary economics. Among his publications are (in Bulgarian) “Communal Capitalism”. Reflections on the Bulgarian Economic Past (vol.1-3, 2007) and in the field of Jewish studies: “Salvation” and Abjection. Microeconomics of State Anti-Semitism in Bulgaria, 1940 – 1944 (2012); the two-volume collection of documents from the Bulgarian archives (co-selected and co-edited with Nadia Danova) on The Deportation of the Jews from Western Thrace, Vardar’s Macedonia and Pirot. March 1943 (2013).


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