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.

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
Vazrazhdane Square
Vazrazhdane Square – the ’88’ code should be obvious enough, but the 1914 is a reference to PFC Levski Sofia’s founding
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
On ulitsa Ekzarh Yosif, same street as the Sofia Synagogue.
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
ulitsa Tsar Simeon
intersection of ulitsa Bacho Kiro and ulitsa Tsar Simeon – the butterflies are refashioned/painted-over swastikas
ulitsa Tsar Simeon
ulitsa Tsar Simeon – “Totenkopf 1488” has been there since at least June 2015
ulitsa Tsar Simeon
ulitsa Serdika
Monument to the Soviet Army
sig runes and a swastika behind the Monument to the Soviet Army
next to a playground behind the Monument to the Soviet Army
Rayko Daskalov square
Rayko Daskalov square
On ulitsa Ivaylo, Combat 18 (C18) graffiti with swastika – this has been here since at least April 2012
ulitsa Lajos Kossuth
ulitsa Ivaylo, across the street from a park and playground
“We hate Gypsies,” on ulitsa Veslets – this phrase, along with the sig runes, has been here since at least June 2015
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