Washington (Sep. 26)
Czechoslovak Ambassador V.S. Hurban, in a letter appearing in the Washington Post today, replies to charges of anti-Semitic outbreaks in Slovakia.
In a statement to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, amplifying this explanation of recent events in Slovakia, the embassy made available the contents of a cable from the Czechoslovak Government received here today. It recites the following five points in commenting on the reported disturbances.
1. All racial laws discriminating among the people in Czechoslovakia were abrrogated in Slovakia in March when the Czech Government arrived from Russia.
2. The Jews who returned from concentration camps received special supplementary rations, which occasioned rumors among the people that the Jews were receiving special privileges.
3. In Slovakia there had been a few cases of discrimination. These were immediately dealt with and the culprits punished.
4. The Czech Government is seeing to it that food and supplies brought in by UNRRA are distributed justly and the distribution is being controlled.
5. UNRRA has been asked to send a representative from Prague to Slovakia to ascertain and report on the actual state of affairs.
In his Washington Post letter, Hurban asserts that the anti-Semitism in Slovakia was acknowledged “frankly and honestly” by President Benes, but that it was not based on racial grounds. “The Jews in Slovakia during the Hungarian regime were the privileged class who served the Magyar oppressor-to oppress the people and exploit them mercilessly,” Hurban says. “In Bohemia and Moravia the Jews living in pure Czech comunities were nationally mostly Czechs. In Slovakia the Jews living with the Slovaks were nationally Magyars even after the establishment of Czechoslovak independence. It cannot be forgotten so easily by the population. Nevertheless there are factual reports about how the Slovaks, risking their lives, saved Slovakian Jews from deportation to Poland and gas chambers.”