PRAGUE (JTA) – Slovakia sent a train from its Poprad station to Auschwitz to commemorate the first transport of Slovak Jews, in 1942.
Edita Grosmanova, a Slovak-Jewish concentration camp survivor, and outgoing Prime Minister Iveta Radicova were among the passengers on last Friday’s train ride to Oswiecim, Poland, according to Slovak news reports. Some 1,000 Slovak Jewish women were sent to Auschwitz on March 25, 1942.
Grosmanova is the widow of the author Ladislav Grosman, whose book "The Shop on Main Street" was turned into an Academy Award-winning film in 1965 for best foreign-language film.
“If I were talking for 24 hours, it would not be even a percentage of the things that I have experienced," the Slovak paper SME quoted Grossmanova as saying, adding that "I ask all [people], especially the young ones, to talk, talk, talk.”
Approximately 70,000 Slovak Jews were deported to concentration camps during the war by the Slovak state, as the country’s wartime government is referred to typically.
“On March 25 [in 1942] at this station [Poprad], the Holocaust started here,” said Pavol Mestan, director of the Slovak-Jewish Museum.
Slovak cultural organizations and the country’s Evangelical and Roman Catholic churches also offered condemnations and apologies.