Vice President Margarita Popova was among those attending a ceremony on February 1 2013 in honour of the memory of the victims of Bulgaria’s communist era, an event held annually on the anniversary of the sentencing to death of 147 people by a kangaroo “People’s Court”.
Those killed on the orders of the “People’s Court” included the three regents during the time of then-boy king Simeon II, 22 former cabinet ministers, eight royal advisers, 67 members of parliament and 47 generals and senior officers, including the commanders of all armed forces.
At the hands of the communist “People’s Court”, Bulgaria’s former political and military elite was liquidated at a single stroke.
These deaths were far from the only ones at the hands of the tribunal, which handed down a total of 2730 death sentences. In the process of their takeover of Bulgaria, communists also murdered local figures such as mayors, priests and police chiefs, while prison camps also saw a number of deaths, although the precise number is unknown.
The People’s Court process began in December 1944 and included trials of all members of government and parliament from 1941 to 1944. Historians of the period estimate that once other killings are added in, including of teachers, civil servants and journalists, Bulgaria’s communist regime killed about 5000 people in its opening years.
Speaking at the February 1 memorial ceremony, Popova said “no one has the right to falsify history or to rewrite it, and no one can take away the memories of the people whose relatives were massacred”.
In communist society, the talented were those who knew best how to commit acts of evil, and communist society’s greatest need was to find enemies on whom evil could be blamed, she said.
“I would never want this time back, neither I nor my family, nor children nor grandchildren, or those who will come hundreds of years after us,” Popova said.
(Photo of Margarita Popova: Miroslav Belyashki/president.bg)