Bratislava (Oct. 2)
Jews in Slovakia were “warned” today that they will be held responsible for reports published in the American and British press revealing that anti-Semitism is still rampant in Slovakian towns.
The warning was made in a broadcast by Dr. Josef Letrich, chairman of the Slovak National council. He claimed that the Slovak people are opposed to anti-Semitism, and simultaneously charged the Jews with circulating, at home and abroad, ” untrue and exaggerated reports” on conditions in Slovakia.
At the same time, he appealed to all Slovaks “to have understanding for the Jews who have lived through terrible sufferings.” He urged every Slovak ” to silence the provocateurs of racial hatred and to hand them over to the authorities.”
The Slovak leader admitted that ” no steps have been taken” to implement the measures adopted by the Slovak National Council providing for the abolition of the anti-Jewish laws issued by the former pro-Nazi government. He also admitted that “not all repatriated Jews in Slovakia have had their rights restored.” There are many practical difficulties with regard to the restoration of Jewish property, he said, but “racially, religiously, politically, as well as in the distribution of food, the Jews are equal with slovaks and Czechs.”
The fact that not all Jews in Slovakia are satisfied is due to the difficulties prevailing in war-stricken districts, Dr. Letrich stated. He attributed the reports appearing abroad of discrimination against Jews in the distribution of Unrra relief to “a large-scale campaign against the National Council of the Czechoslovak Republic” and said that the Slovak National Council stands by its agreement with the central government of Czechoslvakia under which full equality of rights is provided for all citizens regardless of race and religion.
“The central government in Prague,” he declared, “is making every effort possible to eliminate fascism, especially in Slovakia, and also anti-Semitism which is a product of fascist ideclogy. activities against racial, religious and national groups are being suppressed by all means at the Government’s disposal. Cases of discrimination in food distribution are being investigated and the guilty are dealt with sternly.”