The Organization of the Jews in Bulgaria “Shalom” has condemned as completely unacceptable the support declared for the Lukov March by Angel Dzhambazki, the ultra-nationalist VMRO’s candidate for Sofia mayor.
Dzhambazki declared his support during a television debate on public broadcaster Bulgarian National Television’s weekly Panorama programme on October 18.
The Lukov March is held annually in Sofia in February, honouring a pro-Nazi general who led the Union of Bulgarian National Legions, a fascist organisation in the 1930s and 1940s that was influential at the time Bulgaria was allied to Hitler’s Axis and which supported antisemitic policies, including the thwarted plan to deport Bulgarian Jews to the death camps of the Holocaust. The march, held by torchlight, attracts neo-Nazi groups from various parts of Europe.
In the television debate, Dzhambazki was challenged by Kaloyan Pargov, list leader for the Bulgarian Socialist Party, whether he continued to support the Lukov March.
Dzhambazki replied: “Yes, of course, yes. That worthy Bulgarian general was murdered by terrorists from your party. Do you know that? Is it not so?”
Shalom said that it was unacceptable for Dzhambazki to use the national airwaves, in the midst of an election campaign, to promote an event that is embarrassing for Bulgaria “an expression of rising nationalism, whose organisers and participants, through hate speech, promote intolerance of the other”.
The symbolism of the Lukov March is a brazen demonstration of fascist and xenophobic ideas from the time of the Second World War, in the heart of the capital city, Shalom said, underlining that it had made this point repeatedly.
“We will continue to strongly condemn any attempt to publicly support the Lukov March and to accrue political dividends from it, because we believe in the democratic foundations of Bulgarian society, that will not allow the revival of Nazism,” Shalom said.
Bulgaria goes to the polls in mayoral and municipal elections on October 27 2019. Dzhambazki is one of 20 candidate mayors in Sofia. In municipalities where the October 27 vote does not produce an outright victory in the mayoral race, a second round will be held on November 3.