Thursday, March 29, 2012
Slovakia marks 70th anniversary of Auschwitz transports
Earlier this week a special commemoration was marked in Slovakia. On 25 March 2012 a special train travelled from Poprad Station in north-central Slovakia, close to the Polish border, to Auschwitz. This blog has recorded the history of the Slovakian government's planned and executed deportation of Slovak Jews as seen from the perspective of Giuseppe Burzio, that charge d'affaires of the Holy See in Bratislava and recorded in ADSS. This week's commemoration is a part of the ongoing healing process in Slovakia to recognise this ugly chapter in its national history.
This report comes from the JTA agency in Prague.
Slovakia sent a train from its Poprad station to Auschwitz to commemorate the first transport of Slovak Jews, in 1942.
Edita Grosmanova, a Slovak-Jewish concentration camp survivor, and outgoing Prime Minister Iveta Radicova were among the passengers on last Friday's train ride to Oswiecim, Poland, according to Slovak news reports. Some 1,000 Slovak Jewish women were sent to Auschwitz on March 25, 1942.
Grosmanova is the widow of the author Ladislav Grosman, whose book "The Shop on Main Street" was turned into an Academy Award-winning film in 1965 for best foreign-language film.
“If I were talking for 24 hours, it would not be even a percentage of the things that I have experienced," the Slovak paper SME quoted Grosmanova as saying, adding that "I ask all [people], especially the young ones, to talk, talk, talk.”
Approximately 70,000 Slovak Jews were deported to concentration camps during the war by the Slovak state, as the country’s wartime government is referred to typically.
“On March 25 [in 1942] at this station [Poprad], the Holocaust started here,” said Pavol Mestan, director of the Slovak-Jewish Museum.
Slovak cultural organizations and the country’s Evangelical and Roman Catholic churches also offered condemnations and apologies.
Poprad Station, 1942
Memorial Plaque, Poprad Station, 2002