A wall of the Sofia Central Synagogue in Sofia, Bulgaria was vandalized with a swastika and an anti-Semitic message, reported Bulgaria’s Central Israelite Spiritual Council on Sunday.
Next to the spray painted swastika, was the symbol “14/88.”
According to the Anti-Defamation League, 14/88 is a combination of two white supremacist symbols, and an endorsement of “white supremacy and its beliefs.” The “14” stands for the “14 Words” slogan: "We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children." And the “88” stands for “Heil Hitler” – with H being the eighth letter of the alphabet.
The swastika is clear proof that the defacement was not just vandalism but an act of anti-Semitism, said the Central Israelite Spiritual Council.
“We strongly condemn this action and call on the authorities to find the perpetrators as soon as possible and to impose the most severe sanctions,” they said.
The synagogue is the largest in Southeastern Europe, and one of two functioning synagogues in Bulgaria. It is also the third-largest in Europe.
The incident was not the only time in recent years that the Sofia Central Synagogue has been vandalized by anti-Semites.
In January, 2019, the synagogue was attacked on Shabbat by an unknown vandal who threw stones at the building and smashed the windows of its Great Prayer Hall.
“Shalom,” the main organization of the Jewish community in Bulgaria, noted that the attack took place on Shabbat and several days before International Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27.
“The incident itself is extremely troublesome, but the complete lack of reaction by passersby on the street is even more worrying,” Shalom President Alexander Oscar said, according to the Sofia Globe.