The Central Israelite Religious Council has written to Prosecutor-General Ivan Geshev commending the steps taken against antisemitism and hate speech in Bulgarian society as well as against the Bulgarian National Union Edelweiss, organiser of the annual Lukov March.
On February 10, the Sofia City Prosecutor’s Office lodged an application in the Sofia City Court to cancel the registration under the law on non-government organisations of the Bulgarian National Union Edelweiss, saying that it organised events contrary to Bulgaria’s constitution, its leaders propagated racist and antisemitic views, and it had a paramilitary structure.
The Lukov March, held each February since 2003, honours a pro-Nazi Bulgarian general who led the fascist Union of Bulgarian National Legions in the early 1940s. The torchlight parade through the streets of central Sofia attracts neo-Nazis from various parts of Europe.
A statement by the Prosecutor’s Office on February 14 quoted the letter from the Central Israelite Religious Council as saying: “We highly appreciate your efforts and the effectiveness of your actions to guarantee democracy in the Republic of Bulgaria and to protect the rights and freedoms of citizens”.
In a Facebook post on February 12, the Organization of the Jews in Bulgaria “Shalom” said that it had always pursued a consistent policy against antisemitism, hate speech and the distortion of the history of the Holocaust in Bulgaria.
“We welcome the Prosecutor-General’s decision and believe that the Bulgarian court will make the most just decision,” Shalom said.
In a letter to Geshev, also quoted on the website of the Prosecutor’s Office, Shalom said that the Bulgarian Jewish community had always expressed its backing for the legitimate actions being taken by the Bulgarian authorities and expressed appreciation “for your important role and your efforts to guarantee the democratic foundations of our country and to protect the rights and freedoms of citizens”.
(Photo of Sofia Central Synagogue: Nikolai Karaneschev)