(JTA) – Czech Justice Minister Helena Valkova was under fire for saying nothing much happened during the Nazi occupation of her country.
Valkova, whose father is an ethnic German and who grew up in a bilingual home, made the statement in an interview that was published on the news website echo24.cz
Asked about her views on the expulsion of Germans from Czechoslovakia after World War II, Valkova, of the center-right ANO 2011 party, said, “The worst. I understand that it was a reaction to what happened before, but in the protectorate not that much happened,” she said in reference to the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia set up by the Nazi occupation forces following their invasion of Czechoslovakia.
Between 1941 and 1945, 46,000 Jews were deported from Prague, mostly to the Theresienstadt concentration camp and from there to Auschwitz. Only 5,000 survived.
Valkova claimed the statement was taken out of context, and that she only meant to compare the relative calm within the protectorate to war-torn Poland and Russia.
Miroslava Nemcova, a lawmaker for the conservative opposition ODS party, was one of several Czech politicians and intellectuals who criticized Valkova for her statement.
“Go to the Pinkas Synagogue in Prague and read the names of Jews murdered by the Nazis during the Second World War,” Nemcova said in parliament on Tuesday, according to the news site blesk.cz.
ODS deputy chairman Martin Kupka said Valkova’s statement “denies or at least overlooks the suffering of thousands of Jews who were transferred from the Czech soil and subsequently murdered, this denies the obliteration of entire Czech villages, this denies the suffering of thousands of brave people who were killed.”