European Jewish Congress
Bulgarian Jews campaign for ban on 2018 Lukov march
Bulgaria
Bulgarian Jews campaign for ban on 2018 Lukov march

The Shalom Organisation of the Jews in Bulgaria, the country’s EJC affiliate, is campaigning against the holding of the annual “Lukov March” in Sofia in February 2018, calling for an effective ban on an event that honours a pro-Nazi general - at a time when Bulgaria will hold the rotating presidency of the European Union.

The Lukov March has been held for the past 14 years, drawing dark-clad supporters for a torchlight march in honour of Hristo Lukov, who was leader of the Union of Bulgarian National Legions, a fascist organisation that held considerable influence over the government of Bulgaria during the Second World War, when the country was allied to Nazi Germany.

Past Lukov Marches have been refused municipal permission, but have gone ahead anyway, with a substantial police escort.

In a declaration, Shalom called on the national and municipal authorities to impose an effective ban on plans to hold a “Lukov March” in the capital.

The declaration noted: “First held in Sofia in 2003 and repeated annually, the “Lukov March” is organised by far-right groupings in honour of Hristo Lukov, who at the time of the Second World War was leader of the Union of Bulgarian National Legions, a pro-Nazi organisation that – among other things – had been an overt supporter of the Defence of the Nation Act that came into effect in Bulgaria in January 1941.

"This antisemitic legislation, modelled on the Nuremberg laws of Hitler’s Germany, deprived Jews in Bulgaria of the spectrum of civil rights, running counter to Bulgaria’s constitution and traditions of ethnic tolerance. It was part of a policy by the government of the time that not only humiliated Jews but also caused untold financial and economic damage to the community by deprivation of the right to earn a livelihood. A punitive tax on Jews, and the imposition of forced labour on male Jews in camps where conditions were dire, followed. It was these inhumane and abusive measures that Lukov, who had considerable influence on the regime of the time, enthusiastically supported, "  the declaration went on.

"Bulgaria is rightly proud of its courage in preventing the deportation of Bulgarian Jews in 1943. At the same time, it mourns the mass-murder of the Jews from the “new territories” among the more than six million Jews who were killed in the Holocaust. In 2018, Bulgaria will be commemorating the 75th anniversary of these events. In the context of Bulgarian and of European history, permitting the “Lukov March” would be an abomination. In 1943, Dimitar Peshev said that allowing the deportation of the Bulgarian Jews would be a stain on the forehead of Bulgaria. Let us remember his words, the words of a man honoured by Yad Vashem as Righteous Among the Nations, and permit no stain on the face of Bulgaria," the declaration concluded.

Click here to read the full article in Sofia Globe

Tuesday, October 10, 2017
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