Boris III of Bulgaria

Boris III. of Bulgaria (born 30 January 1894 in Sofia, † August 28, 1943) was a Bulgarian Tsar from the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.

Tsar of Bulgaria since 1918

He was the son of King Ferdinand I in 1918 and ascended the throne when his father, following the defeat of Bulgaria in World War I resigned. It was the second major defeat of the country in just five years after the disastrous Balkan War (1913). The Treaty of Neuilly had to cede to its neighbors and pay reparations painful what the political and economic stability threatened Bulgaria country.

Two movements, the Agrarian Union and the Communist Party, called for the overthrow of the monarchy and a change of government. Under these circumstances that Boris succeeded to the throne.

One year after Boris’s accession, Aleksandar Stambolijski was a member of the Agrarian Union, was elected Prime Minister. When the large peasant as popular, he moved to the hostility of the middle class and the military. Already in April 1923 Boris was privy to the conspiracy plans against the government. After the coup of 9 June 1923 he chartered the new government and the rebels accepted the “resignation” of Stamboliyski Cabinet. As a result of the coup occurred in September to a communist survey, which became known as the September uprising. 1925 Greece declared war on Bulgaria. Despite the intervention of the League of Nations, the confusion lasted until 1934, when Boris the military allowed the establishment of a dictatorship. The following year he took over control of the country and ruled as an absolute monarch, but later put a parliament and gave women the right to vote.

World War II

At the beginning of World War II swung the feelings of the people on the side of Germany, which had forced Romania to return Southern Dobrudja back to Bulgaria. In 1941, Boris allied with the Axis powers n and joined Germany’s war against Greece and Yugoslavia in an attempt to regain the lost territories in the Treaty of Neuilly. Despite his sympathies for Nazi Germany Boris refused cooperation in two important ways:

In early 1943, Germany demanded that the Bulgarian Jews would be sent as part of Hitler’s “Final Solution” to Poland, and sent for this purpose SS-Hauptsturmführer Theodor Dannecker to Bulgaria. This first organized the deportation of about 11,000 Jews in the occupied territories under Bulgarian rule in Thrace and Macedonia. However, as the Bulgarian Jews to be deported to the concentration camps, this demand led to a public outcry, led by prominent figures such as President of the Parliament Dimitar Peshev and Archbishop Stefan of Sofia. Tsar Boris, who had been washed in the deportation issue, found himself forced to act so that the deportation of 48,000 Bulgarian Jews to Auschwitz was prevented.

Still unacceptable for Hitler as the failed extermination of the Jewish population in Bulgaria but was the refusal of the Tsar, the Soviet Union to declare war, especially when the defeat of Germany began to emerge.

In August 1943, Hitler summoned Boris to a meeting in Berlin. While Boris had declared war against the distant United Kingdom and the United States, he again refused to Bulgaria’s participation in the war against the Soviet Union. On Hitler’s insistence on entry into the war, the Tsar said to have replied, the Bulgarian people would never raise his arms against Russia, which is owed liberation from 500 years of Ottoman rule. In addition, the Tsar referred to the uncertain attitude of the neighboring neutral Turkey. The ‘symbolic’ war against the Western powers led to citizens Sofia’s a disaster, as the city was heavily bombed in 1943 and 1944 by the British and American air forces.

Soon after his return to Sofia Boris apparently died of a heart attack on a hike in the Rila Mountains. The police report of 6 September 1943 stating that he was poisoned. Rumor to replace him at the behest of Hitler by a more compliant government. Boris was succeeded by his six year old son Simeon.

Tsar Boris was buried in the medieval Rila Monastery. After seizing power in 1944, the Communist-dominated government had his body exhumed and the courtyard of the Vrana Palace install it. After the fall of the communist regime tried to exhume it again, but it was only his heart, which was re-interred in the Rila Monastery.

Marriage and issue

On 25 October 1930 married Tsar Boris in Assisi, Italy, according to the Catholic rite Princess Giovanna of Savoy (1907-2000), daughter of King Victor Emmanuel III. from Italy. After a boat trip from Brindisi, the couple went on 30 October in Burgas solemnly on land and then married in an Orthodox ceremony in Sofia. From this marriage came in January 1933, a daughter, Marie Louise, and in 1937 a son, the heir Simeon out.


Boris III. was an avid train lover and not infrequently led even steam locomotives. The magazine The locomotive reported that he had offered a train driver’s license, the Bulgarian railway.

On 16 April 1925 committed the illegal Communist Party in the Orthodox cathedral in Sofia an assassination attempt on Tsar Boris III. and the assembled members of the government. The king escaped by chance the bombing, but about 200 churchgoers were killed.

The park Borissowa gradina in Sofia is named after him.


•Michael Bar-Zohar: Beyond Hitler’s Grasp.The heroic rescue of Bulgaria’s Jews. Adams, MA Avon, 1998, ISBN 1-58062-541-X.

•Hans-Joachim Härtel, Roland Schönfeld: Bulgaria.From the Middle Ages to the present. Publishing Frederick Pustet others, Regensburg 1998, ISBN 3-7917-1540-2, (East and Southeast Europe.History of the countries and peoples).

•Nentscho Iliev Boris III, King of the Bulgarians. Balgarsko including Delo, Sofia 1943.

•Ana Karlsreiter: King Boris III. of Bulgaria and the Bulgarian foreign policy from 1938 to 1943. Munich 2001, (Munich, Univ., Diss, 2001).

Tsar (Bulgaria)


House Coburg-Koháry

Winner of the St. Alexander Order

Support of the Military Order for Bravery

Holder of the Pour le Mérite (military order)

Support of the Military Order of St. Henry

Saint Lazarus

Person in WWII (Bulgaria)


Person (Sofia)

Support of the White Eagle Order

Born 1894

Died in 1943


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