AJC is dismayed by the neo-Nazi march that took place in Sofia, Bulgaria, over the weekend.
The march, held annually since 2003, glorifies Bulgarian General Hristo Lukov, who backed Nazi Germany and was a leader in the repression of Jews in Bulgaria before and during World War II. This year’s march took place despite the decision of Sofia’s mayor to ban it.
“This public display of anti-Semitism on the streets of democratic Bulgaria’s capital is shocking,” said AJC Executive Director David Harris, who has visited Bulgaria on numerous occasions and been honored by the Bulgarian president. “Though Bulgarian political and civil society leaders had spoken out strongly against the march taking place, it is deeply disturbing that the police stood by when the march organizers proceeded with it.”
March participants dress in Nazi uniforms and carry torches, reminiscent of the period before and during the Holocaust, when General Lukov and his allies sought to spread Nazi ideology in Bulgaria. Lukov was assassinated in 1943.
“Bulgaria today is home to a vibrant Jewish community that, Lukov’s efforts to the contrary, was largely saved during World War II by the steadfast courage of other Bulgarians,” said Harris. “Bulgarian authorities, joined by civil society leaders, should step up efforts to counter the Lukov march organizers and other extremists who spread xenophobia and anti-Semitism.”