A Slovak Jewish organization is protesting a bill that honors the 1930s leader of a Nationalist party.
The Association of Slovakia’s Jewish Communities condemned a bill that the Slovak parliament will likely vote on later this month to honor the Catholic priest Andrej Hlinka, leader of the Slovak People’s Party before World War II.
Protesting the depiction of Hlinka as a heroic founder of the modern Slovak state, the Jewish umbrella group said in a statement, “Andrej Hlinka rejected the democratic principles of Czechoslovakia and spoke with admiration about politicians such as Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini.”
“The Jewish community in Slovakia considers the name of Andrej Hlinka a symbol of Slovak fascism in the years of 1939-45,” the statement said. Hlinka died in 1938, but his party evolved into a movement that was closely allied with Hitler during World War II.
As a Nazi puppet state, Slovakia sent more than 70,000 Jews to concentration camps during World War II and was the only country in Europe that paid Germany to deport Jews.