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Yad Vashem Monastir. The Story of a Sephardic Community in Macedonia

Monastir During the Holocaust

Alexandr Belev

The Commissar for Jewish Affairs Alexandr Belev (third from left) speaking to his assistants during a visit to the place where the Jews were concentrated, the “Monopol” tobacco factory storerooms, Skopje, March 1943The Commissar for Jewish Affairs Alexandr Belev (third from left) speaking to his assistants during a visit to the place where the Jews were concentrated, the “Monopol” tobacco factory storerooms, Skopje, March 1943
The Commissar for Jewish Affairs Alexandr Belev speaking to Jewish women at the place where the Jews were concentrated, the “Monopol” tobacco factory storerooms, Skopje, March 1943 The Commissar for Jewish Affairs Alexandr Belev speaking to Jewish women at the place where the Jews were concentrated, the “Monopol” tobacco factory storerooms, Skopje, March 1943

Head Commissar of the Commissariat for Jewish Affairs in Bulgaria, 1942-1943.

Alexandr Belev was born on 7 July 1900 in the city of Lom, Bulgaria. He studied law, and at the beginning of the war in 1940 worked at the Bulgarian Ministry of the Interior as director of the office of surveys and publications. From 1941, he began to work as a judicial advisor at the Ministry. Belev was active in the preparation of the “Law for the Protection of the Nation” and in legislating all the antisemitic laws in Bulgaria, cementing a close bond with the Germans.

In light of his clear antisemitic views, on 3 September 1943 Belev was appointed Commissar of the KEV (Commissariat for Jewish Affairs), the institution established to deal with the “Jewish problem” in Bulgaria. His job entailed preparing orders, regulations and directives regarding the persecution of Jews in Bulgaria.

On 22 February 1943, he cosigned – with the Gestapo representative Theodor Dannecker – an agreement to deport 20,000 Jews from Bulgaria (in the agreement the words “new areas,” those that had been annexed to Bulgaria – Macedonia, Thrace and parts of Serbia – were deleted, and an endeavor to deport a further 8,000 Jews from the “old areas” – Bulgaria – failed). Belev organized and dealt with the deportation of the Jews of Macedonia and Thrace in March 1943. In addition, in April-May 1943, under pressure from the Germans, he prepared a further plan to deport all the Jews of Bulgaria, and a last attempt was made to carry this out in the summer of 1943. In October 1943 Belev was replaced by Christo Stomainokov, who headed the KEV.

On 9 September 1944, Alexandr Belev was shot under unknown circumstances.

Belev was tried posthumously in a Bulgarian court together with other “anti-Jewish criminals of Bulgaria.” Belev was found guilty and and was sentenced to the death penalty.

The online exhibition was made possible through the generous support of:

Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany

The Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany works to secure compensation and restitution for survivors of the Holocaust.

Since 1951, the Claims Conference - working in partnership with the State of Israel - has negotiated for and distributed payments from Germany, Austria, other governments, and certain industry; recovered unclaimed German Jewish property; and funded programs to assist the neediest Jewish victims of Nazism.