Ratnik


Ratnik

Ratniks (Warriors) for the Advancement of the Bulgarian National Spirit or "Ратник" was a Bulgarian Nationalist organization founded in 1936. Its ideas were close to the German National Socialism, including far-right Nationalism, Antisemitism, but also loyalty to the Bulgarian Orthodox Church. Ratnik was a quasi-military youth organisation. The members were called Ratniks (ratnitsi). They had uniforms (purposely red to compete with the communists for the hearts and minds of the Bulgarian youth and social ideas as well) and also specific badges (with the logo of Ratnik, a Celtic cross).

Famous members of Ratnik were Emanuil Popdimitrov, a Bulgarian writer and nationalist from the Western Outlands, Dimitar Talev, a Bulgarian writer and nationalist from Macedonia, Fani Popova-Mutafova, a famous Bulgarian writer, and the professor and translator of German National Socialist works Ljubomir Vladikin. One of the prime ministers of Bulgaria, Petur Gabrovski, was the founder of Ratnik along with four other Bulgarian Nationalists. Another very famous Ratnik was Alexander Belev, Bulgarian Commissar for Jewish Affairs.

The extremely nationalistic Ratnik was banned even before 1944 by the government, although the ratniks claimed to be loyal to the Monarchy and King Boris III of Bulgaria. The most famous activism done by Ratnik was the so-called "Bulgarian Kristallnacht". It happened on September 20 1939. The ratniks were marching in Sofia and throwing stones at the Jewish shops. The police did nothing to stop them, so many Jewish stores were damaged and property destroyed.

With the coming of the Red Army and the Bolsheviks into Bulgaria on September 9 1944, Ratnik disappeared from the Bulgarian scene. Many of the leaders become members of the Bulgarian national government abroad, some of the young ratniks become volunteers in the Wehrmacht, while others chose to stay in Bulgaria and fight against the Communists.


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