Panic reigned today among the Jews of Slovakia as police raids and anti-Jewish legislation followed on the heels of widespread terrorism.
Jewish homes in Bratislava and other cities were raided in a search for currency. The action was taken under an order obligating all persons to register Slovakian money with the authorities, but Jewish homes were the only ones raided and those who had more than 30,000 kronen were told to give up the remainder or declare how they spent it.
Simultaneously, a law went into effect depriving 30,000 Jews of their citizenship on the ground that they were naturalized after 1918. Many of those denationalized came from families which lived in Slovakia for generations.
Signs reading “Jews Not Admitted” were displayed in Bratislava parks. Uniformed Nazi storm troopers halted Jews on the streets when walking in couples and asked each individually what they were talking about. If their replies varied, they were arrested on charges of holding anti-Nazi discussions.
The vice-president of the Bratislava Jewish Community was arrested with no reason given. Members of the Maccabi, Jewish sports organization, which was disbanded earlier, were interned in a concentration camp. A Dr. Neumann, one of about 100 Jews tortured in the town of Trnava, died last night of broken ribs.
Incidents of anti-Jewish terrorism were reported in provincial towns throughout the German “protectorate,” with few exceptions. Heads of families were kidnapped, as was done in the early days of the Nazi regime in Germany, and their whereabouts and fate were not known.
In the town of Barjedow, the Jewish population was forced to meet a levy of 300,000 kronen and was forbidden to appear in the streets after 6 o’clock in the evening, and during the day allowed only on certain streets.
In Pezinok, all Jews were driven from their homes, tortured and forced to set fire to their synagogue. The beards of the rabbi and kosher slaughterer were shaven off and both were forced to eat non-kosher meat publicly. The rabbi was later taken to a cellar and forced to sit on the floor with a 62-kilogram weight on his lap and lift it in a sitting position. The entire Jewish population fled the town.
In Swatiyur, a 400-year-old synagogue was destroyed and Jews were beaten. In Zilina, Jews were forbidden to enter department stores and other public places. In Presov, Hlinka Guardsmen bombed a synagogue and plundered Jewish houses. In Kozmarok, Germans destroyed a synagogue by bombing.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.