European Jewish Congress
Slovakia commemorates 75th anniversary of first Nazi deportations of Jews
Slovakia
Slovakia commemorates 75th anniversary of first Nazi deportations of Jews

On March 25, Slovak President Andrej Kiska unveiled a commemorative plaque on the façade of the grammar school in Kukucin Street in Poprad to mark the 75th anniversary of the first transport of Slovak Jews to the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp.

Jewish girls were held in the building before being transported to the notorious Nazi camp on March 25, 1942.

“The girls didn’t know what awaited them,” Kiska said. “Only 20 survived – out of 1,000. It was a great honour for me to meet today one of the survivors, Edita Grosmanová, who was 17 at the time. I spoke to her, and she told me that she begs us for one thing – she wants people to realise that human beings aren’t divided according to their religion and skin colour. They aren’t divided into Jews, Roma, Muslims, but remain people first and foremost and should always be viewed as such.”

The 1942 deportations of Slovak Jews were carried out according to a Jewish Code adopted in September 1941.

“Young girls began to be assembled as of March 20 and 21, 1942 to be transported, purportedly to work in Poland,” Stanislava Šikulová from the Slovak National Museum’s Museum of Jewish Culture told TASR. “A total of 3,670 girls were taken away in the first four transports, with further trains carrying boys older than 16. Then as of July, the Slovak authorities via Slovak Railways began transporting entire families, including children and the elderly.”

The anniversary commemorative event in the eastern-Slovak city of Poprad continued throughout Saturday with a documentary, conference and exhibition opening at the local Tatra Gallery, and finishing at the local railway station at the hour and place where the first transport started – with lighting candles. On Sunday, a wreath-laying ceremony was held on the same site.

“As extremists and anti-Jewish and anti-Roma sentiments are re-emerging, we frequently ask ourselves what we should do,” the president said. “I don’t know the exact answer, but an old piece of wisdom says that very little is needed for evil to prevail. It’s enough if good people do nothing.”

 Click here to read the full article in Slovak Spectator

Tuesday, March 28, 2017
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