World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder thanked political and judiciary authorities in Bulgaria, including Prime Minister Boyko Borisov, for stopping an annual torch-lit demonstration attended by thousands of neo-Nazi marchers to celebrate Holocaust-era General Hristo Lukov, whose movement sent more than 11,000 Jews to their deaths in Treblinka.
The organizers of the march agreed this year to obey a Supreme Administrative Court decision to uphold a municipal court order limiting the event to flower-laying at Lukov's home.
The Sofia Municipal Police reportedly advised the organizers of the march that any person who violated the order would be stopped. Only 60 supporters attended the event.
"For the first time in more than a decade, the Jewish community of Bulgaria has been spared its yearly day of fear and apprehension from shameful flame-wielding thugs who parade through the streets to glorify the very ideology that brought the near destruction of the Jewish people,” Lauder said. “At this frightening time of rising antisemitic activity across the world, this is a moment of true victory for the Jewish community, the people of Bulgaria, and all promoters of justice and tolerance worldwide.”
Lauder expressed the WJC was "deeply grateful" to Bulgarian officials, including Prime Minister Boyko Borisov, Foreign Minister Ekaterina Zakharieva and Deputy Foreign Minister & National Coordinator against Antisemitism Georg Georgiev, Sofia Mayor Yordanka Fandakova, Prosecutor General Ivan Geshev, and "the many others have been sincerely responsive to our concerns over this inciteful demonstration."
"Their cooperation last year with the WJC and the Organisation of Jews in Bulgaria, Shalom, in convening the first-ever March for Tolerance to oppose this scourge was another critical demonstration of their dedication to helping us work to quell these flames of hatred, and it was an action that spoke louder than words. This year, only a few dozen neo-Nazi thugs showed up. Next year, let’s hope that the month of February will pass without a single disturbance of this kind," added Lauder.