Hundreds of young people wearing dark clothes and carrying torches marched this weekend through the streets of the Bulgarian capital of Sofia to pay tribute to General Hristo Lukov, who served as war minister in the country in 1935-1938.

The participants, mostly young people dressed in black, with swastikas and performing the Nazi salute, laid wreaths in the old house of Lukov. Some activists came from Germany, Sweden, Hungary and other places.

“General Lukov was a courageous militant official, a war hero (of the First World War), which has inspired the resurgence of the Bulgarian army,” said Zvezdomir Andonov, one of the organizers of the march.

Hundreds of people participated in a counter-protest under the slogan “There are no Nazis in the streets”. The World Jewish Congress, other Jewish groups and political parties in Bulgaria had called for the march to be suspended.

“It is absolutely abhorrent that in 2019 in Europe, the same place where the Nazis tried to eliminate the entire population of Jewish men, women and children, far-right organizations continue to march without limits through the streets with swastikas, symbols of the SS , and messages of hatred towards Jews and other minorities, “said Executive Vice President of the World Jewish Congress Robert Singer.

From 1932 to 1944, the Union of the Bulgarian National Legions advocated anti-Semitism, anti-Communism and a one-party state.

Lukov served as Bulgaria’s war minister from 1935-1938, fostering close ties with senior Nazi officials in Germany. He also pushed for a law based on the 1935 Nuremberg Laws in Germany that stripped the Jews of their civil rights. Lukov was assassinated by communist supporters in 1943.