Daniel Zion

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Rabbi Daniel S. Zion
Rabbi Daniel Zion.jpg
Personal details
Born 3 August 1883
Salonica, Ottoman Empire
Died 13 November 1979 (1979-11-14) (aged 96)
Jaffa, Israel
Nationality  Bulgaria
Denomination Orthodox (later Messianic Judaism)

Daniel S. Zion, (Tsion, Tzion or Ziyon), (דניאל ציון),(Salonika, 3 August 1883 – Jaffa, Israel, 13 November 1979), was an Orthodox rabbi, Kabbalist[1] and a political activist. He was one of the two senior rabbis of Sofia, Bulgaria during the Second World War.

The Holocaust in Bulgaria[edit]

In May 1943 alongside Chief Rabbi Dr. Asher Hananel (1895–1964) he helped prevent the 800 Jews of Sofia from being deported and handed over to the Nazis to be sent to the extermination camps. He did so by appealing to the Metropolitan bishop of Sofia Metropolitan Stefan the head of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church in Sofia.[2] Bishop Stefan then appealed to Tsar Boris III.

On May 24, 1943, Rabbi Zion addressed a gathering at a synagogue. He then participated in a mass street demonstration against the anti-Jewish Law for protection of the nation.[3] This law was in effect between 23 January 1941 to 27 November 1944.

Bishop Stefan gave him refuge from the Nazis. However on May 26, 1943, he and many demonstrators were arrested by the police. He was then sent to a concentration camp for Jews at Somovit on the bank of the Danube.

On September 9, 1944, he was appointed as one of Sofia's senior rabbis. In 1949 Rabbi Zion emigrated to Jaffa, Israel where he lived until his death in 1976 or 1979 as incorrectly noted by some sources. His duties were assumed by Asher Hananel.[4]

Relationship with Christianity[edit]

After emigrating to Israel Rabbi Zion was accused of having an interest in Dunovism, a Bulgarian mystical Christian teaching which combined Orthodox Christianity with local Bulgarian religious practices led Peter Deunov, and calling for a retrial of Jesus.

Because of these allegations in May 1949 a conference of rabbis in Tel-Aviv declared him "insane" [5] and he was relieved from his duties as a judge on a Beth Din.[6] Some Messianic Jewish and Protestant missionaries state that Rabbi Zion was stripped of his post and then left the rabbinate as he secretly, and later more openly, held the view that Jesus was the Messiah after having a vision of him.[7] They state that Rabbi Zion gave an interview for the United Protestant Service on 14 September 1952 in Jerusalem broadcast on Kol Yisrael Radio, the national Israeli radio station, in which he expressed his faith in Jesus as the Messiah, and served as the President of the Union of Messianic Jews in Israel (Ichud Yehudim Meshihiim Be-Israel) founded by Abram Poljak.


  • Iz Nov Put,(Sofia, 1941)
  • Pet godini pod fashistki gnet, (Memoir: Five Years Under Fascist Oppression), (Sofia, 1945)
  • Troiniya put na Noviya Chovek, (Sofia, 1946)
  • Seder ha-Tephilot: Tephilat Daniel(Sofia, 1946)
  • Rabbi Daniel Zion (1946). Jewish Feasts and Traditions (PDF) (in Bulgarian). Sofia. 


  1. ^ * Betsalʼel, N. Kabbalah and the Holocaust (Orot, 2001)
  2. ^ http://www1.yadvashem.org/about_yad/press_room/press_releases/bulgarian_clergymen.html
  3. ^ http://www.stm.unipi.it/Clioh/tabs/libri/7/11-Genov-Baeva_153-176.pdf?ref=Guzels.TV
  4. ^ American Jewish Year Book, (1951), (Volume 52), Pg. 361
  5. ^ * Friends' Intelligencer, (1950), (Volume 107, Nos. 26-52), Pg. 614
  6. ^ * Betsalʼel, N. Kabbalah and the Holocaust (Orot, 2001)
  7. ^ http://www.givengain.com/cgi-bin/giga.cg?cmd=cause_dir_news_item&cause_id=1507&news_id=26927&cat_id=637


  • Friends' Intelligencer, (1950), (Volume 107, Nos. 26-52), Pg. 614
  • American Jewish Year Book, (1951), (Volume 52), Pg. 361
  • Annual :Organization of the Jews in Bulgaria "Shalom"(1951, 1970, 1980, 1984 and 1987)
  • Arendt, H. Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil, (Viking Press, 1963), Pg. 169
  • Boyadjieff, C. Saving the Bulgarian Jews in World War II (Free Bulgaria Centre, 1989)
  • Chary, F.B. The Bulgarian Jews and the Final Solution, 1940-1944 (University of Pittsburgh Press, 1977)
  • Chary, F.B. "Bulgaria," Wyman, D.S. and Rosenzveig, C.H. (eds.), The world reacts to the Holocaust (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996)
  • Fein, H. Accounting for Genocide: National Responses and Jewish Victimization during the Holocaust, (Free Press, 1979)
  • Groueff,S. Crown of thorns: The Reign of King Boris III of Bulgaria, 1918-1943 (Madison Books, 1987)
  • Haskell, G.H. From Sofia to Jaffa: The Jews of Bulgaria and Israel,' (Wayne State University Press, 1994.)
  • Koen, A. and Assa, Saving of the Jews in Bulgaria, 1941-1944 (Setemvri, 1977)
  • Rothkirchen, L. Yad Vashem Studies on the European Jewish Catastrophe and Resistance, (Volume 7), (Yad Vashem, 1968)
  • Sachar, H.M. Farewell España: The World of the Sephardim Remembered (Howard Morley, 1994)
  • Steinhouse, C.L. Wily Fox: How King Boris Saved the Jews of Bulgaria From the Clutches of His Axis Ally Adolf Hitler, (AuthorHouse, 2008)

External links[edit]