In Bulgaria: Your little ‘Lukov March’ torches were doused

Notch one up for us, you sad, hatred-filled, antisemitic pseudo-patriots. On this night in February 2020, your torchlight Lukov March, your tribute to a pro-Nazi, was doused into a damp squib.

All of these years, since 2003, we have had to bear witness to your egregious evening parade, through the streets of our Bulgarian capital city, in honour of your ersatz hero. Your dark-clad garb, your false elevation of an individual who, left to himself, would have sold himself and this country out to Hitler’s Nazi regime, with all the cost of the six million, and more, that would have meant.

Finally, by the force of the courts of the democratic Bulgaria of the 21st century, your obscene and dangerous parade was halted in its tracks. Tracks that traced the steps that, in their worship of false gods, sacrificed so many on an altar of hatred of the Other.

By the order of the mayor of this city and the judgment of this country’s court, your goosestepping footsteps have been stopped. Instead of your fascist parade, you were left, in your pathetic portions, to lay flowers in tribute to a person who personifies hatred and destruction. General Hristo Lukov, fascist, pro-Nazi, traitor to every of the finest traditions of a free Bulgaria.

You may denounce, as I am sure you will, these writings of the victory against you as the scrawlings of a foreigner, a Zionist, a Jew, a Roman Catholic, a Protestant, the Other, whatever convenient epithet you find most suitable to your nefarious, if ill-conceived epithetics, a non-adherent of your supposed Orthodox Christian faith, as anti-Bulgarian; against your venal, chauvinistic claims to the heritage of Levski, Botev, Paisi Hillendaski. You may go on in this vein. As you will; we stand with those many Bulgarians who will never let you traduce the finest traditions of this country, that defied the Nazis, and did not collaborate. Those Bulgarians who forever will stand in the shining light of ethics, who stood up when it mattered to rescue the lives of their Bulgarian Jewish sisters and brothers. Inasmuch as Bulgarians who face history with honesty today acknowledge what transpired in the “new lands”.

Yes, with those of us who mourn, and ever will, the more than 11 000 under Bulgarian lands, in northern Greece, the former Yugoslavia, the city of Pirot, handed over to join the six million and more delivered to their murders.

And those of us who, against the background of the Holocaust and all it represents, reject with contempt, in this 21st century, the cheap trolling of those who who post comments that are hateful towards the State of Israel, and by extension, Jews as a whole. Those who pursue this fatal, vile, path, slavering in their latter-day hatred for Jews. Those who indulge in hypocrisy, who indulge themselves in the fake balm of false equivalence.

So tonight, you of the Lukov March whose grasping for cheap flowers and base pseudo-patriotism, turned a minor profit for the street corner florists of Sofia, your flame is doused. Your little crypto-fascist parade is averted, and this year, the streets of our city are free of the stench of the flames of your Nuremberg-style torches. Your petty flower-laying at the house of a pro-Nazi hardly worth first item on the news, in this first decade of the 21st century.

Your abuse of the name Bulgaria and its people, regrettably, stands recorded. We do not see you in mourning for the victims of the Holocaust. Why would we? No doubt, you would deny it, or distort it, or recruit into your ranks those youth in ignorance of it.

Yet we see you, you pathetic few, and we stand in contempt of you. We have this in common, with you, however cross our purposes: Memory. Memory, the core of consciousness. We do not forget, as you, in your crude daubings on the streets of Sofia, say that you will never forget. The difference between us? Between honesty about history, and perversion of the past.

You may not, as you revere your false idol, be honest about history, even though you would do well to consign your Lukov to the ashes; he, and his like. We never will.

If there is to be any flame to be held aloft in the night, it is that of the sanctity of human life, of the eternity of every human life, against, against, the extinguishing of human life, down to the youngest life murdered in the Holocaust; it is your flaming torchlight, your veneration of a figure representing only hatred, that this night, in our city of Sofia, was extinguished. And righteously so.

Clive Leviev-Sawyer

Clive Leviev-Sawyer is the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of The Sofia Globe. He is the author of the book Bulgaria: Politics and Protests in the 21st Century (Riva Publishers, 2015), and co-author of the book Bulgarian Jews: Living History (The Organization of the Jews in Bulgaria 'Shalom', 2018). He is also the author of Power: A Political Novel, available via, and, on the lighter side, Whiskers And Other Short Tales of Cats (2021), also available via Amazon. He has translated books and numerous texts from Bulgarian into English.