The NAZIs seized Czechoslovakia and created the Protecorate of Bohemia and Moravia (March 1939). Slovakia succeeded and became a nominally independent German protectorate. It also became a an enthusiastic participant in the Holocacaust.
There were before the Munich Conference about 138,000 Jews living in the Slovakian portion of Czechoslovakia. The Slovaks secceed from Czechososlavakia and set up slavishly compliant pro-NAZI state (March 1939). The NAZI's carved up Slovakia and the resulting NAZI-puppet state had a Jewish population of about 89,000. The Slovaks seeking to appeal to their NAZI masters began enacting anti-Semitic laws nased on the NAZI Nuremberg Laws. Officials targeted Jews as the enemy of the Slovak people. The Slovakian Government enacted the Jewish Code (1941). Slovakian officials began deporting its Jews to NAZI occupied Poland as the death camps were beginning to operate (March 25, 1942). Officials deported 57,628 Jews to Poland, about two-thirds of the Slovakian Jews, in the next 7 months. Only about 600-800 Jews survived these transports. Most of the Slovakian Jews were killed in the death camps of the Lublin district. Some were killed at Auschwitz-Birkenau. Slovakian officials stopped deportations (October 20). At that time the killing of the deportees became widely known in Slovakia. The remaining Jews that were unable to hide were interned in labor camps in Slovakia (Sered, Novaky, and Vyhne). After the tide of battle shifted on the Eastern Front, NAZI allies began reconsidering their position. A Slovak National Uprising occurred (1944). The NAZIs as a result occupied Slovakia (autumn 1944). The first deportations were carried out by the Slovaks. Now the NAZIs began deporting the remaining Slovakian Jews. The NAZIs deported 13,000 Jews to the Polish death camps (primarily (Auschwitz-Birkenau) and to Theresienstadt in Czechoslovakia and German camps. Slovakia special police commandos murdered 1,000 at this time. While the Slovakian Government loyally supported the NAZIs in killing Jews, there were many Slovaks who risked their lives to hide their Jewish countrymen. Slovaks hid about About 10,000 Jews.
The first known Jews appared in what is now Slovakia (11th century). Attacks on Jews in Western Europe atthe time was driving Jews east. Overall population trends are difficult to assess, but some information on secific towns are available. Bratislavab ha a Jewish community of about 800 people (14th cenury). The majority of Jews because of prohibitions on certain economic activities abd Church condemntion of interest patyments (seen as usury) engaged in commerce and money lending. The earliest known Jewish cemetary was established at Tisinec (early-15th century). Attacks on Jews were not absent in the East. The stndard blood libel charges resulted in terrible attacks. Authorities burned Jews at the stake in Trnava (1494), This also occurred at
Pezinok where various charges were levied and 30 Jews burned at the stake (1529), After the stunning Ottaman defeat of the Hungarian Christian army at Mohács (1526), Christins expelled Jews from all the major towns Slovak towns.
Conditions for Jews improved in the Austrian Empire (late-17th century). Jews slowly began returnin to Slovak cities from which their ancestors had been expelled and Jeish communities become increasingly common in the area.
Local authorities pass ordinnces restricting Jewish economic activity. Thevlegal situation of the Jews improved notably (18th cebtury). Emperor Joseph II extended civil liberties and many legal restrictions on economic avtivity.
There were before the Munich Conference about 138,000 Jews living in the Slovakian portion of Czechoslovakia. The NAZI's carved up Slovakia and the resulting NAZI-puppet state had a Jewish population of about 89,000. The smaller number probbly reflcts Hungarian seizure of Slovak regions after the Munich Conference and German invasion of the Czech lands.
Hitler remiliatized the Rhineland (1935) and conducted the Anschluss bringing Austria into the Reich (April 1938). Hitler's next target was the Sudetenland and Czechoslovakia. The country had beeen created by the Versailles Peace Treaty. Hitler began to escalate his tirades against Czecheslovakia, claiming that the erhnic Germans in the Sudetenland were being mistreated. The NAZI rearmament program, the remilitarization of the Rhineland and the Anchluss with Austria came as a shock to Czecheslovakia. Even more so, the lack of response from Britain and France. The Czechs who had defensive alliance with France were prepared to fight. Even with the Anchluss, many Europeans chose to see the NAZI actions as domestic German matters. This changed with Hitler's next target--Czecheslovakia. Hitler in 1938 demanded the Sudetenland in Czecheslovakia which had a minority German population. Neville Chamberlin, the British Prime Miniister mused how terrible it was that war should be threatened by a "... quarel in a far away country by people of which we know little." British Primeminister Nevil Chamberlin delivered the Sudetenland to Hitler at the Munich Conferece (September 1938).
The NAZIs seized Czechoslovakia and created the Protecorate of Bohemia and Moravia (March 1939). The Sudetenland was incorporated into the Reich. Slovakia suceeded and a pro-NAZI regime seized power. Hitler ordered the Wehrmacht to seize the rest of the country (March 1939). Here Hitler step over another milestone, for the first time he seized control of non-Germans. NAZI policies varied depending on the area of Czecheslovakia (the Sudetenland, Bohemia and Moravia, and Slovakia). We note that some Czechs were forcibly removed from the Sudentenland, but we have few details at this time. NAZI policies in Bohemia and Moravia were much more begin that later implemented in Pland, but vecame more secere as the occupation progressed, especially after the appointment of Teynhard Heydrich as Governor. The Czechs as the first occupied country, were the first to be drafted for forced labor in Germany. The Czech arms industry played an importan role in the German war effirt. Hitler convinced that the Czeches were being treated to lightly, appointed Reinhard Heydrich to replace the first NAZI governor. His assasination by British-trained patriots ere the cause of horendous reprisals by the SS.
Slovakia seceeded from Czechoslovakia as the Wehrmact massed on the Czrch border. Slovakia declared independence as the Slovak Republic (March 14, 1939). Monsignor Tiso was elected president. Tiso might be described as a clerical nationalist. Tiso was a strident natinalist, but not a NAZI. His vission was a independent nationalist, Christian, corporative state. Tiso faced even more radical Slovak nationalists and their paramilitary Hlinka Guards--the Slovak version of the SA Storm Troopers. The radical nationalists were more clearly Fascists and cooperated with the NAZIs who also entered Slovakia (March 15). The radical nationalists worked closely with strongly NAZI German minority led by Franz Karmasin. As a result, radicals dominated the Slovak government. Vojtech Tuka gad been released from prison and became prime minister. An ally Ferdinand Durcansky was appointed foreign minister. Hlinka Guard commander Alexander Mach was appointed propaganda minister. Slovakia became a compliant NAZI puppetstate. A NAZI "advisory mission" was installed in each Slovak ministry. The Wehrmact had entered Slovakia (March 15) and soon was stationed throughout the country. Slovakia became the most slavishly obedient of all the NAZI satellite regimes.
Slovak officials quickly after declaring independence began taking measures against Jews. The Slovaks seeking to appeal to their NAZI masters began enacting anti-Semitic laws based on the NAZI Nuremberg Laws. Officials targeted Jews as the enemy of the Slovak people. Czechoslovakia had been a democratic country in which Jews had full civil rights. Laws were designed to prevent Jews from participating in public affairs.
In addition to legal measures aimed at Jews, the Hlinka Guard began extra-legal attacks on Jews.
The Slovak Government enacted a "Jewish Code" (September 1941). This was the Slovak version of the NAZI Nuremberg Laws. The Code required Jews wear a yellow armband so they could be easily identified. Jews were prohibited from marrying gentiles and banned from many jobs. A canpaign was begun to expel Jews from Bratislava. Authories expelled 15,000 Jews by October 1941. Many were interned it camps. The Jewish Code provided the legal basic for the expropriation of Jewish property, their internment, and ultimately deportment to NAZI camps in occupied Poland where they were murdered. The Slovak Government negotiated an agreement with Germany covering the deportation of the country's Jews (1942). The deportments began immediately and about 68,000 Slovak Jews were deported to NAZI concentration camps, mostly in occupied Poland. About half of Slovakia's Jews were able to evade deportation under a provision of Slovak law that permitted Tiso to exempt Jews from deportment if they were classified as being economically necessary for Slovakia.
Slovakian officials began deporting its Jews to NAZI occupied Poland as the death camps were beginning to operate (March 25, 1942). The Slovaks were one of the first countries to agree to deport their Jews as part of the NAZI's Final Solution. The NAZIs demaned Slovak workers to work in German war industries. The Slovak government offered Jews instead of Slovaks (October 1941). The death camps in Poland were not yet in place. The NAZIs after developing plans for killing Jews at the Wannsee Conference, the NAZIs accepted the Slovak offer. The arrangement was that the Slovak Republic would pay for each Jew deported and the NAZIs promised that the Jews would never return to Slovakia. The initial arrangement was that the Slovaks would send "20,000 young, strong Jews". The issue of Jewish children arose and elderly Jeews who were not fit for work. The Slovak government eventually agreed to a German proposal to deport the country's entire Jewish population. Slovakian authorities commened the deportations (March 1942). Officials deported 57,628 Jews to Poland, over 70 percent of the Slovakian Jews, in the next 7 months. Only about 600-800 Jews survived these transports. Most of the Slovakian Jews were killed in the death camps of the Lublin district. Some were killed at Auschwitz-Birkenau.
Gisi Fleischmann and other Jews managed to appeal to sympahetic Slovak officials and the church leaders. Apparently the Vatican also intervened. There were also bribes paid. As a result, Slovak officials finally stopped the deportations (October 20). At that time the killing of the deportees became widely known in Slovakia. The remaining Jews that were unable to hide were interned in labor camps in Slovakia (Sered, Novaky, and Vyhne). After the tide of battle shifted on the Eastern Front, NAZI allies began reconsidering their position.
As the Red Army moved west, the liberation of Czechoslovakia became possible. The Soviets would reach Slovakia first. The Slovak National Council authorized Lieutenant-Colonel Jan Golian to organize a national coup (March 1944). The plan was to coordinate with the advancing Red army. President Benes approved the operation. Golian set up a headquarters at Banska Bystrica and organized Slovak partisan units made up primarily of escaped POWs and Army deserters. The Slovak National Uprising began (August 29). It proved a dissaster. The Soviet Government did the same as they were also to do when tthe Polish Home Army struck in Warsaw. The Soviets saw the Slovak resistance as politically unreliable, meaning that it was not controlled by the Communists. The Americans attempted to help, but could offer little real assistance. The NAZIs reponded by formerly occupying Slovakia. The Slovaks held out for 2 months. The Germans finally took Banska Bystrica (October 27). It was, however, a Pyrrhic victory. The NAZIs had crushed the Slovak National Uprisding, but reverses in France and the Soviet crushing of Army Group Central meant that NAZI military power had been smashed. Local patisan groups continued to strike at the Germans while the Slovaks waited the arrival of the Red Army. The NAZIs took advantage of the occupation to round up Jews and deport them to the concentration camps in Poland still under their control.
The first deportations were carried out by the Slovaks. Now the NAZIs began deporting the remaining Slovakian Jews. The NAZIs deported 13,500 Jews to the Polish death camps (primarily (Auschwitz-Birkenau) and to Theresienstadt in Czechoslovakia and German camps. Slovakian special police commandos murdered 1,000 at this time. Another 5,000 Jews were interned.
While the Slovakian Government loyally supported the NAZIs in killing Jews, there were many Slovaks who risked their lives to hide their Jewish countrymen. Slovaks hid about About 10,000 Jews.
Slovak and NAZI authorities deported about 70,000 Jews from Slovakia; about 65,000 of them were murdered.
We have few accounts concerning the individuals involved. We do know about one family that managed to escape--the Mullers from Hlohovec.
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