Bratislava (Aug. 2)
More than two months after the liberation of all of Czechoslovakia, anti-Semitism is still rampant in Slovakia, and no steps have been taken to annul the anti-Jewish laws introduced while Slovakia was an “independent” puppet state of the Germans, a week-long survey by a Jewish Telegraphic Agency correspondent reveals.
Although decrees abrogating all anti-Jewish legislation were issued some time ago by the central government in Prague, Jews returning here from concentration camps are finding it virtually impossible to recover property confiscated from them during the fascist regime. All Jewish property that was nationalized is still held by the state, and no decrees have been issued for its return. Persons attempting to recover their possessions come up against a stone wall and their legitimate grievances are being utilized by reactionary groups as a basis for increased anti Jewish propaganda.
Jewish communal and religious activities however are beginning to revive in the larger cities of Slovakia, although only about 12,000 Jews remain of the 135,000 who resided in Slovakia in 1942. About 5,000 of the other 123,000 escaped abroad, and over 115,000 were murdered by the Germans. Four thousand Jews are in Bratislava and Jewish communities exist in Kosice, Nitra, Novozamky, Dunstreda, Presov and Zilina. There are also small groups of Jews in smaller towns and villages.
Soup kitchens have been established in most places with funds provided by the Joint Distribution Committee. A Jewish hospital has been set up in Bratislava and a convalescent home for the aged in Tatras. Since all synagogues were destroyed, services are held in private quarters. However, two yeshivas have reopened in Bratislava and Kysice.
The majority of the young Jews in Slovakia want to leave the country as they feel that there is no future here for Jews.