Slovak Jews blast Shoah deniers

PRAGUE, March 21 (JTA) — Slovak Jewish leaders are using the 60th anniversary of the first Slovak transport to a Nazi concentration camp to lash out at the growing number of Holocaust deniers. The Central Union of Jewish Religious Communities raised its concerns in a statement released Tuesday to mark the March 1942 day when soldiers took 1,000 young women from their families and sent them to Auschwitz. The transport, on March 25, was the first of many over the course of 1942. By that autumn, 58,000 men, women and children had been deported with the blessing of the pro-Nazi Slovak State. In its statement, the Central Union said 99 percent of those transported were murdered. It went on to argue that the consequences of the Holocaust could be felt vividly, even today. "The number of those who demonstratively dismiss the existence of the Holocaust is growing, despite the large number of witnesses, historical records, archives," as well as "films, newspapers and mass graves," the union´s statement said. The Central Union also argued that the battle over how to write history books is in reality a fight about the future — because, it said, whoever controls the past controls the future. "It is a continuation of the Holocaust," the statement continued. "Dead Jews cannot be killed again, the last thing that can be taken from them is the almost forgotten shadow of their former existence." Meanwhile, Slovak Jewish leaders are continuing efforts to gain compensation from the government for Holocaust-related injustices. A joint commission considering compensation for property the Nazis confiscated from Slovak Jews will meet in Bratislava next month. Comprised of state officials and Jewish representatives, the commission is identifying and establishing the value of seized property.

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