Ultra-nationalist Bulgarian politician Miroslav Ivanov was condemned by Shalom, the Jewish umbrella organization in Bulgaria and EJC affiliate, for a television interview denying the Holocaust and praising Adolf Hitler, the Sofia Globe reported.
Interviewed by Bulgarian broadcaster Nova Televizia (NTV) ahead of the July 11 elections for the Bulgarian legislature, the National Assembly, Ivanov made numerous claims, such as that Nazism wasn’t fascist but was national socialism, a picture of him doing a Nazi salute was actually a “Roman salute,” saying that Jews were happy under Hitler because they could work freely and that the gas chambers operated by the Nazis were used for deworming, as noted by the Sofia Globe.
Shalom condemned both Ivanov and his party, the Bulgarian National Union – New Democracy Party, for these statements and for propagating these beliefs.
Noting that Holocaust denial is a crime, Shalom said that they “call on the prosecution to take a stand on this case, based on both Bulgarian legislation and European practices related to the spread of fascist and antisemitic propaganda and Holocaust denial,” according to the Sofia Globe.
The Bulgarian National Union – New Democracy Party is a far-right party that espouses what they call “Bulgarian values” and is widely considered neo-Nazi. In 2019, the party hosted a conference of other far-right and neo-Nazi groups from across Europe, coming from Germany, Poland, France, Hungary and the Czech Republic, according to Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN).
However, as noted by BIRN, while spreading neo-Nazi ideology is illegal in Bulgaria, it is rarely actually prosecuted.
According to the Sofia Globe, the party has an “unblemished record of never winning any seats in elections.”