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The winners of the award “Human of the Year 2013” at the award ceremony

The manager of the site Bivol, Alberta Alkalay, was awarded the audience prize “Human of the Year.” A record number of nominations (42) competed for the prestigious trophy in the contest organized by the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee (BHC) for contributions to human rights and their protection. The award was announced by Yana Tavanie from BHC, at a ceremony in Studio 5 of the National Palace of Culture in the capital Sofia. Here are the reasons given by the organizers for the nomination and the award:

Alberta Alkalay was awarded for promoting the exploit of society to rescue nearly 50000 Jews from death camps during the Second World War. On the occasion of the 70th anniversary of this rescue from the Holocaust, she organized and conducted on her own a national literary competition for school students “A Person Who Saves One Life, Saves an Entire Universe.” Many young people from across the country participated. The best essays were published in national online and print media. The values of generosity, tolerance and resistance against Nazism and xenophobia that have been living in our society then deserve to be brought up and proclaimed before the contemporary generations.

Alberta created the documentary “Let’s Remember,” which drew from oblivion the names of worthy Bulgarians who opposed, with the cost of sacrifice, the repression against Jews. On her proposal, the Municipal Council in Burgas agreed to consider declaring posthumously Dyanko Pravchev – mayor of the city in 1939-1944, and intellectual and writer Petko Rosen honorary citizens.

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Alberta Alkalay is one of the initiators, organizers and benefactors for the building of a memorial of the victims of the terrorist attack at Burgas Airport in the summer of 2012.

As manager of the site for investigative journalism Bivol, Alberta Alkalay, has also proved her civil position by constantly defending, despite all difficulties and pressures, the idea of free and objective media, relentlessly exposing corruption, organized crime, the oligarchic model of power and its merge with the rule of the country .”

The Audience Award was also presented to blogger Ivo Bozhkov for his online reporting of antigovernment protests. Two collective nominations received the Grand Prix of the Jury: the groups “Refugees” and “Friends of Refugees.” More details about the “Human of the Year 2013” awards ceremony can be found here.

Many people supported our cause in paying the needed tribute and gratitude to those brave and worthy Bulgarians who, under tremendous risk, opposed the anti-Jewish repressive laws 70 years ago. Thanks to them I am here today among you. I think it is especially important now, when we leave in times of division, to give young people in Bulgaria examples of the most glorious pages of our history. I am happy that I am part of the Bulgarian nation, champion of cherished humanity; a nation having the biggest moral capital – the rescue of nearly 50 000 lives 70 years ago,” a moved Alberta said.

Bivol is a media partner of the initiative.

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Alberta Alkalay (left) with the other winners

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