In Honour of General Hristo Lukov
Hristo Lukov, who was a general in reserve, was born on the 6th of January, 1888, in the town of Varna. Having graduated from His Majesty’s Military Academy in 1907, he was subsequently promoted to the rank of a second lieutenant.
During the First World War, he took part in all the military campaigns that the 1st and 2nd divisions participated in, as a commander of detachment.
It is now necessary to mention a few words in relation to the considerable feat that he accomplished during that period of time.
The year is 1918. Throughout the last days of the war, communist propaganda materials have succeeded in undermining soldiers’ morale, with a substantial number of soldiers deserting the front, while another fraction proclaiming the so called “Radomir Republic”. Taking advantage of the predicament Bulgaria was experiencing at that time, Serbian infantry begins to advance towards Kjustendil, where the army head quarters are situated, bombarding the almost derelict military positions. The commanders are incapable of repelling the advancing Serbian troops. The only one who is still remaining at the position is Hristo Lukov, with 4 heavy guns at his disposal. At that critical moment, under his command, the heavy guns start firing against the advancing enemy. The advancement of the Serbian troops has been checked.
After a truce had been made, lieutenant-colonel Tomic was willing to congratulate the Bulgarian artillery men who had succeeded in repelling his troops the previous day. Upon expressing his wish, the soldiers pointed at Hristo Lukov, whose face still wore the signs of the artillery fire he had been engaged in. ‘What about the rest,’ Tomic enquired. ‘A bunch of shepherds and goatherds who were handing the shells to him constitute the rest,’ was the reply he received. Upon realizing that his troops had been repelled by a single man assisted by several ordinary peasants in his endeavour, the Serbian lieutenant-colonel instantly shrieked furiously, but immediately managed to control his temper and approached Lukov to congratulate him on the immense feat he had achieved. ‘French history,’ the Serbian lieutenant-colonel continued, ‘also knows of such a person, who remained to defend his fatherland alone. Bulgaria is fortunate to have such officers as her defenders.’
On the 23rd of November, 1935, Hristo Lukov gained the most responsible position within Bulgarian military hierarchy: Minister of War. At that time he was carrying out the modernization of the Bulgarian army, transforming it into a first-class European force. It was precisely in that period that he established relations with Herman Goering and other prominent high-rank German officials. General Lukov held the position of being the Minister of War till the 4th of January, 1938. After his resignation, Hristo Lukov, following his immensely patriotic impulse, became involved in certain nationalist circles. Having arrived at the conclusion that only through systematic nationalist activities can the red menace be effectively opposed, he became the leader of the Union of the Bulgarian National Legions.
‘I remember it so vividly, as if it happened yesterday’, ex-legionary Jordan Hadginonev begins. ‘In November, 1942, a national conference was held in the city of Varna, which General Lukov participated in, accompanied by several members of the general headquarters. After the regulative rules had been established, the presenters at the conference began discussing some important organizational issues. One of the delegates present there raised the following question: “Mr. General, due to Germany’ intervention, that of Adolf Hitler, in particular, we received back the territories of Southern Dobrudga, Macedonia, Thrace, and it is now our moral duty to help our allies by sending troops.” The majority of the delegates supported this notion. After expressing his delight at the people’s readiness to sacrifice their lives for a noble cause, General Lukov made the following statement: “Gentlemen, General Lukov doesn’t have the authority to start raising an army. There is a King and a responsible government for that. In case the government decides to send troops to the Eastern front and assigns the task of commanding them to me, I shall not decline”.’
The year is 1943. The German army is engaged in fighting the Soviet forces on the Eastern front. In Bulgaria, the communist party, by strict orders from Moscow, has been organizing the so-called ‘assault groups’, the aim of which is to murder ‘enemies of the people’. The name of General Lukov is included in the list of those who are to be ‘liquidated’. A specific date for the murder has been chosen: the 13th of February. On that day, at around 8:50pm, the General is heading towards his house. After he opens the front gate, his daughter, having heard of her father’s arrival, appears at the living room’s door to meet him. Due to the circumstances, it is only she who witnesses what takes place immediately afterwards. From her testimony one learns the following: having entered through the front gate, General Lukov turnes back, with his face facing the street, to close it. At that moment, a stranger wearing dark, thick glasses suddenly appears and fires at the General’s chest. The daughter shrieks in terror, while her father, though wounded, tries to go inside his house. The murderer follows his victim and fires 3 consecutive shots at him, after which he runs away. The General falls dead on the floor.
This is how General Lukov met his end. His great patriotic deed, however, shall forever serve as a shining example for the future generations of nationalists.