Sofia’s swastika problem: photo gallery

Sofia’s swastika problem: photo gallery

A month ago I took a walk through central Sofia to document all the swastikas and other far-right imagery I’d seen on the streets in my few months there.

Spoiler: there’s a lot, or at least a lot more than I’m used to seeing on a city street (i.e., close to zero).

All the photos here, save one, were taken on March 17, 2018. Aside from a few crops/rotations, none of these photos have been edited.

I haven’t got much in the way of editorial commentary beforehand, other than:

  • Clearly it’s a minority of a minority of people doing this sort of thing – don’t go around saying that ‘muhh all Bulgarians must be Nazi sympathizers blah blah’ because, no.
  • For the most part, as the photos will indicate, it’s clearly Levski Sofia football hooligans doing this. Others I’m less certain about.
  • If you’re wondering why these swastikas and other blatant far-right/neo-Nazi symbols are allowed to stay up for an extended period of time in a European capital, don’t worry – I’m asking the same question.
    • Complacency? Cost of removal? The idea that ‘oh they’re just kids/idiots, they don’t know what it *really* means’? An accepted part of city life? I don’t know. I’d like to find out.

Nonetheless, here’s a selection of some of what I saw.

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On Vazrazhdane Square – the same square where the Organization of Jews in Bulgaria ‘Shalom’ (OJB Shalom) has its Sofia office in the Jewish Cultural House (Evreyski Kulturen Dom) ~100 feet away
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Vazrazhdane Square
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Vazrazhdane Square – the ’88’ code should be obvious enough, but the 1914 is a reference to PFC Levski Sofia’s founding
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Not far from the synagogue, on ulitsa Tsar Samuil. Not only are there more swastikas/far-right imagery on the shutters, but this has all been here since at least June 2015, according to Google Street View
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On ulitsa Ekzarh Yosif, same street as the Sofia Synagogue.
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At the corner of ulitsa Veslets and ulitsa Pop Bogomil – while this swastika’s been crossed out, it’s been here since at least June 2015
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ulitsa Tsar Simeon
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intersection of ulitsa Bacho Kiro and ulitsa Tsar Simeon – the butterflies are refashioned/painted-over swastikas
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ulitsa Tsar Simeon
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ulitsa Tsar Simeon – “Totenkopf 1488” has been there since at least June 2015
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ulitsa Tsar Simeon
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ulitsa Serdika
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Monument to the Soviet Army
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sig runes and a swastika behind the Monument to the Soviet Army
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next to a playground behind the Monument to the Soviet Army
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Rayko Daskalov square
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Rayko Daskalov square
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On ulitsa Ivaylo, Combat 18 (C18) graffiti with swastika – this has been here since at least April 2012
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ulitsa Lajos Kossuth
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ulitsa Ivaylo, across the street from a park and playground
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“We hate Gypsies,” on ulitsa Veslets – this phrase, along with the sig runes, has been here since at least June 2015
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The only photo here not taken March 17 (this one from March 19) – a swastika on a light pole outside the Levski Sofia club/store on Todor Alexandrov Boulevard
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