The fight against the Fascist rule, established in Bulgaria before 1944, is one of the main themes of socialist propaganda, art and monuments respectively. The socialists were in a really bad position during the period; they were hunted, arrested, sent to concentration camps and even executed without trials all over the country.
That was the period in history where the margins in society were really wide: there were the rich aristocrats and royals, a small percentage of the nation that held all the money and lived in luxury, and then there were all others, the poor working-class people and farming villagers. Young and intelligent people like artist, writers and journalists were also part of the poor working class. Socialism appealed to all the masses; they talked about equal rights and equal standards for all people as well as about the worker being the most important figure in the country. This was the idea of the USSR. But, since it was accepted in France and Italy as well, young and educated people everywhere found it very appealing. Naturally, the enemy of those ideas and of the working-class people were the rulers who were allied with the German fascist forces and capitalism—the rich aristocrats.
After the Socialist coup of 1944, all those who had suppressed and hunted them became the new enemies and victims; they were convicted in the so-called People’s Court and were executed or sent to concentration camps.
The post-war Bulgarian Socialist Party-led an active anti-fascist and anti-capitalist propaganda campaign in everything: poetry, newspapers, speeches and, of course, art and monuments.
During the following decades, the anti-fascist propaganda died down—the socialists felt confident in their position of power. No one was building monuments on that theme in particular. Instead, they were usually dedicated to the fallen partisans or the Soviet/Russian victories. So, this monument’s anti-fascist theme is unique for the period.
The monument itself has an interesting form: it is a circle elevated on a plinth and two entrances, above which are several bronze figures ‘breaking’ the circle. The effect is impressive. The figures are of struggling titans, fighting for freedom. Everyone would surely be impressed if they could see them, which isn’t as easy now as the figures are blackened and indistinguishable. Inside the monument, at its centre, there was an eternal flame. The names of the 240 soldiers who died in World War II were also carved on its walls. There were also human remains in niches in the circle, but they were removed at some point.
The monument was visited officially on several occasions during the year and it had an honour guard stationed at the monument all the time—some of the best students were sent there and it was considered a great honour.
Although this monument is unique in form, style and artistic composition, and is placed in the centre of the Sea Garden of Burgas where all the tourists pass, it is abandoned, decaying and serves as a public bathroom. Several years ago, the monument was locked with metal bar doors. But, as of recently, those too are gone.
In recent years, various music and barbeque festivals were held in the wide square around the monument. Journalists have pointed out, in several articles, that people who still have socialist inclinations would likely be mortified by such festivals taking place at that sacred place.
Text by Aneliya Ivanova
Multiple authors* Architects: Bogdan Tomalevski, Nikola Angelov and Vladimir Milkov. Artist: Valentin Starchev
1981Monument for annual events
Form of government
1981 Totalitarianism under Soviet Influence
Spatial Planning Agency
Type of heritage and protection
1981 Monument with real cultural value of local importance
2018 Monument with real cultural value of local importance