The World Jewish Congress has written to Bulgaria’s Prosecutor-General Ivan Geshev expressing sincere gratitude for the prosecutor’s application in the Sofia City Court to de-register the Bulgarian National Union Edelweiss, organiser of the annual Lukov March, as an NGO.
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.
In a February 13 letter to Geshev, World Jewish Congress executive vice president Maram Stern told Geshev: “Your decision highlights a clear and concerted effort by the current Bulgarian administration to combat growing far-right-wing and antisemitic sentiment in Eastern Europe, currently exemplified by the BNU. We are confident that this proposed ban will also have an impact beyond Bulgaria, considering that the BNU has close ties with neo-Nazi groups throughout Europe”.
The Lukov March was vehemently antisemitic and ultranationalist, and has brought together neo-Nazi groups from across Europe and given them a platform to publicly demonstrate their abhorrent convictions, the letter said.
“Indeed, the Lukov March has served as an annual hatefest, making Bulgaria a gathering point for far-right groups seeking allies across their own borders. Further, members of the BNU have openly embraced Holocaust denial and distortion, often conflating the courageous Bulgarians who risked everything to safeguard their fellow Jewish citizens with overt Nazi collaborators, thus undermining the memory of these ‘righteous among nations’,” Stern said.
“Once again, we wish to thank you sincerely for taking concrete measures to curtail the threat posed by extreme right-wing groups and look forward to future opportunities to cooperate.”