Condemnation of an antisemitic photo collage on the Telegram channel of Bulgarian pro-Kremlin minority party Vuzrazhdane is growing.
The collage depicts former foreign minister Solomon Passi, who is of Jewish descent, dressed in the type of clothing Jews were forced to wear during the Holocaust, and in the clutches of men in Nazi-type uniforms, with the caption: “If you don’t want Russian gas, come and have some of ours”.
The Shalom Organization of the Jews in Bulgaria has lodged a complaint against Vuzrazhdane at the Sofia Regional Prosecutor’s Office, while Vuzrazhdane has filed a counter-claim against Shalom, claiming that it is not responsible for the posting of the collage and alleging that the Jewish organisation has lodged a complaint based on “false” evidence.
Among the latest to express condemnation is the embassy of Israel in Sofia, which said that it strongly condemns antisemitic statements and in particular, the disturbing collage with the face of Passi, distributed on the internet “which takes us back to the darkest period in the history of mankind – the Holocaust”.
“Such displays of hate speech have no place and should not be tolerated in a democratic society,” the Israeli embassy said.
On Facebook, German ambassador to Bulgaria Irene Plank said: “When I see how the horrors of the Third Reich, the Holocaust, are still being abused, trivialized and played down in our time, I am deeply shocked”.
Plank said that Passi had been a meritorious foreign minister and had played an essential role in Bulgaria’s path to Nato and the EU, and was a respected politician, a prominent member of the Bulgarian Jewish community and an opponent of the communist regime since the 1980s.
“To use this man for antisemitic incitement fills me with disgust and anger,” the German ambassador said.
The embassy of the United States said: “We stand with the Bulgarian people in condemning recent disturbing antisemitic statements that have found their way into political discourse.
“There is no place for antisemitism or any form of hate speech in a democratic society. Let us all stand together in countering hate and intolerance in all its forms,” the US embassy said.
The UK embassy said: “Antisemitism and the promotion of hatred have no place in our societies. We stand with our friends and partners across Bulgaria and the international community in condemning the recent antisemitic comments in Bulgaria’s political discourse”.
Bulgaria’s Foreign Ministry said on July 18 that it strongly condemns the distribution of the antisemitic image directed against Passi.
Such actions are completely unacceptable and the perpetrators should bear the responsibility provided for by law, the Foreign Ministry said.
“The Ministry recalls that antisemitism is an extremely acute manifestation of intolerance and hatred, which contradicts both the interests and values of the Republic of Bulgaria, as well as the historical traditions of Bulgarian society, which is deservedly proud of saving Bulgarian Jews during the Second World War,” the statement said.