Bratislava, Slovakia (Aug. 31)
Anti-Semitism in Slovakia is still rampant, making life for the 25,000 surviving Jews so miserable that most of them want to emigrate, a survey by a special correspondent of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency discloses.
Emigration from Czechoslovakia is forbidden, however, by the central government in Prague. The Jews in Slovakia, after having suffered Nazi persecutions for at least four years, are now locked up in this eastern end of the Czechoslovak Republic. Not only are they not getting back their homes, businesses and clothing robbed from them by the former pro-Nazi Slovak government, but in some cases there have been attacks on Jews and anti-Jewish discrimination in a manner reminiscent of whon this country was under Nazi demination.
Slovaks who acquired “Aryanized” Jewish business enterprises are still holding on to them, and the repatriated Jewish owners cannot re-possess them. The government is stalling on the question of restoring confiscated property to Jews, even though officially Jews are to regain full rights and all possessions. They are also supposed to receive a maximum of 500,000 crowns per person – the pre-war value of a crown was about three cents – but this plan has not been carried out as yet.
PRO-NAZIS STILL IN GOVERNMENT SERVICO; JEWS SHUNTED AWAY FROM UNRRA AID
The delay in restoring confiscated Jewish property is attributed to members of the pro-Nazi and anti-Semitic Hlinka Guard, many of whom still hold official positions in important government offices. The delay is also due to the deep-seated anti-Jewish feelings among Slovaks which it is felt cannot be wiped out overnight.
On the other hamd, there are many Slovaks who regret the fact that anti-Semitism has gotten the hold that it has in Slovakia, and it is expected that in time official measures will be taken to correct the situation. Meanwhile, conditions like these are existent today:
1. The Jewish community of Bratislava is still unable to regain the 16 buildings which it owns, despite that fact that these buildings are needed for housing repatriated, homeless Jews.
2. When UNRRA clothing was distrubuted here, Jews were pushed out of the receiving line and efforts were made to prevent them from obtaining UNRRA aid.
3. Anti-Jewish demonstrations broke out in Presov and Bardiov a few hours after Russian troops left those towns. Mobs smashed the windows of Jewish homes, shouted anti-Jewish slogans and attacked Jews with clubs. In this case, the authorities took prompt action and arrested the ringleaders, one of whom was sentenced to twenty years imprisonment.
4. In some provincial towns Jews are not allowed to buy the ration of the food made available by UNRRA.
Characteristic of the situation is the fact that when a Jewish widow and her son returned to their home in Topolcany from a concentration camp, she was told that she could not move back into her house until her “political reliability” was proven. No attention was paid to the fact that her husband and two children had been killed and that she herself spent three years in a Nazi concentration camp. An investigation established that the new owner was a turncoat member of the Hlinka Guard who is now considered “politically reliable.”