Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.
Fast Forward

Bulgarian Jewish community condemns antisemitic vandalism at synagogue

Over the weekend, vandals claiming to belong to Antifa Bulgaria painted a synagogue in the country with graffiti reading “free Palestine” and equated the Israeli government with the Nazi regime.

The target of the vandals was Bulgaria’s oldest synagogue, the Zion Synagogue in Plovdiv, a city on Bulgaria’s border with Turkey.

Shalom, an organization that represents Bulgarian Jewry, condemned the graffiti, according to Bulgarian news outlet the Sofia Globe. In their condemnation, Shalom cited the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of antisemitism, which categorizes the comparison of modern Israeli policies to the Nazi regime as a form of antisemitism.

While the IHRA definition is disputed by many, most definitions of antisemitism, including that of the ADL, find that holding all Jews responsible for the actions of the Israeli government is a form of antisemitism.

Antifa Bulgaria is most known for their counter protests to The annual Lukov March in Sofia which is hosted by Bulgarian neo-Nazis to honor Nazi Collaborator Hristo Lukov. Lukov was a prominent advocate of antisemitism during the Bulgaria’s alliance with Nazi Germany, but was assassinated by Jewish partisans affiliated with Bulgaria’s Communist party in 1943. No march was held this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Though the kingdom of Bulgaria was allied with Nazi Germany during World War II, it, like Denmark, was one of the few such countries to save almost the entirety of its Jewish population. Few of Bulgaria’s 48,000 Jews were killed or even deported during the war, thanks to the protection of Bulgaria’s Tsar Boris III and local church leaders. However, Jewish men were conscripted into labor battalions, and Bulgarian forces assisting the Nazis did help facilitate the Holocaust in Bulgarian-occupied regions of Yugoslavia and Greece such as Macedonia and Thrace.

According to the Sofia Globe, there were nine reported incidents of antisemitism in Bulgaria in 2019, none of which resulted in a conviction.

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning journalism this Passover.

In this age of misinformation, our work is needed like never before. We report on the news that matters most to American Jews, driven by truth, not ideology.

At a time when newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall. That means for the first time in our 126-year history, Forward journalism is free to everyone, everywhere. With an ongoing war, rising antisemitism, and a flood of disinformation that may affect the upcoming election, we believe that free and open access to Jewish journalism is imperative.

Readers like you make it all possible. Right now, we’re in the middle of our Passover Pledge Drive and we need 500 people to step up and make a gift to sustain our trustworthy, independent journalism.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Our Goal: 500 gifts during our Passover Pledge Drive!

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.