Saturday, September 29, 2012

ADSS 9.206 Karel Sidor to Maglione on Anti-Jewish measures in Slovakia

The Slovak minister, Karel Sidor had returned from a visit to Bratislava for consultation with his government on a suitable response to the insistent interventions of the Holy See.  Pius wanted the deportation of Slovak Jews - converted or not - stopped.  Giuseppe Burzio, the Vatican's charge d'affaires in Slovakia was energetic in visiting bishops and ministers to press for a permanent halt for any deportation plans.

The diplomatic language reveals two important details:  firstly, Slovakia was not going to accede to the demands of the Holy See, it remained the right of the Slovak government to decide on its Jewish policies; and secondly, in an attempt to stem rising concerns as to the fate of the deported Jews, Slovakia would send a commission to visit Slovak Jews in Poland.  Given what Rome already knew of the fate of Jews sent to Poland, there is little doubt that the promised commission was seen for what it was, a feeble attempt at semantics.  If the Jews were dead, it was not the Slovak government's fault.

ADSS 9.206

Karel Sidor, Slovak Minister to the Holy See to the Secretary of State, Cardinal Maglione
Reference: 68/dôv/1943 (AES 3361/43)

Location and date:  Rome, 28.05.1943

Summary statement: Anti-Jewish measures in Slovakia
Language: Italian

The undersigned Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Slovakia to the Holy See has the honour to communicate to his Eminence, the Cardinal Secretary of State of His Holiness the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Slovakia in response to the Note of the Secretary of State to His Holiness, number 2.731/43 of 05.05.1943 (1) with his Note of 20.05.1943, number 6.625/1-43 has made known to our Legation the following declaration:

“With reference to the notes, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic is at pains to clarify its point of view as follow:
The statement of the Minister of the Interior, Mach, made in Ružomberok on 07.02.1943 (2) is intended to be understood in the sense of the decree already issued by the Government of the Slovak Republic in regard to the expatriation of the Jews (3), namely:

1. Jews who are a danger to the security of the state will be expatriated from Slovakia.
2. The remaining Jews will be alienated from the economic and cultural life of the nation and will be sent to concentration camps in Slovakia.  The baptised and unbaptised will be sent to separate camps and given the possibility of work.
3.  Jews granted the benefit of exemption by the President of the Slovak Republic are free to exercise their professions and will not be disturbed in their private lives.

Therefore, we authorise you to make our point of view known to the competent agencies of the Secretariat of State of His Holiness with the provision that the Slovak government in agreement with the authorities of the Reich will establish a special Slovak commission comprised of a Catholic priest, a Protestant minister, a State official and a journalist. (4)  This commission will have the competence to visit Slovak Jews residing in Poland, gathering information about them and to ascertain the condition of their living conditions and, in particular to see if baptised Jews from Slovakia are permitted to practice their Christian faith in the concentration camps.  We will communicate the findings of this commission at a later date”. 

Cross references: 
(1)  See ADSS 9.176
(2)  See ADSS 9.85
(3)  See ADSS 8.334
(4)  See ADSS 9.147, where the same guarantees are listed.

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