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Anti-semitism in Slovakia Still Strong Despite Government’s Efforts; 16 Jews Killed

There is no lessening of anti-Semitism in Slovakia, although the federal government is fighting it, and day after day officials denounce its repeated manifestations, a survey by this correspondent discloses.

Two recent reports that thousands of Jews had been killed in eastern Czechoslovakia have no foundation in fact. But there have been recent outbreaks at Topolcany, Bardejov, Vranov and Kolbasove, all in Slovakia, the last of the disorders occurring a fortnight ago and involving at least 16 deaths.

Reliable reports received here say that the latest incidents, at Kolbasove, were perpetrated by a band of Poles, known as the Banderovtzy, who operate on the Carpathian frontier. They belong to the irredentist movement in Poland, aim at an independent Ukraine, and they are both anti-Semitic and anti-Communist.

Members of the Banderovtzy have flooded eastern Slovakia with propaganda pamphlets aimed at the Jews. This propaganda has been sympathetically received by some members of the new Democratic Party which, in some sections of Slovakia, parallels the activities of the former fascist Hlinks movement.

LOCAL AUTHORITIES TAKE NO STEPS TO APPREHEND KILLERS OF JEWS

At Kolbasove two weeks ago bandits overran the tiny community, seeking only Jews and Communists, and murdered the 16. Nothing was done to seek out the guilty until the military arrived on the scene eight days ago – to find the community indifferent or, possibly, fearful of reprisals from the Banderovtzy if they made any protest or furnished any details. But a complete investigation is now under way, and it is reported that the leaders of the gang have been identified.

The current anti-Semitic sentiment in Slovakia is also fostered by elements of the Democratic Party of that province. From a score of persons from whom this correspondent has heard anti-Semitic expressions, all were members of this Democratic faction which would seem to be an effective cover today for the Hlinka group.

At Vranov I spoke to a number of people at a black market restaurant. A member of the National Council (Provincial Parliament) spoke up and said: “I do not believe in what the Government is saying. People are not obtaining UNRRA goods and supplies.” He maintained that 1,500,000 meters of cloth had been sent to eastern Czechoslovakia and that three Jewish distributors had made vast profits but that the people who needed the material had not received it.

Inquiries by this correspondent at Kosice disclosed that the Eastern Slovakian Relief Agency had until very recently only 100 meters of cloth, while over at Nedzilaborce I found that UNRRA cloth was being sold to people who had received coupons for it from the County Council. The sellers, however, were not Jews.

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