(JTA) — The speaker of Slovakia’s parliament initiated a criminal probe for alleged hate speech against a lawmaker who criticized the conferring of a national honor on Jewish laureates due to their ethnicity.
Andrej Danko, the speaker of the National Council of the Slovak Republic, on Thursday said he would subject the far-right lawmaker Stanislav Mizik to disciplinary action in addition to the probe over his posting on Jan. 10 on Facebook of a text slamming the initiation into the Ľudovit Stur Order of three Jewish recipients out of 20 this year, the news website Dennik N reported.
The honor bestowed on Jewish recipients by Slovak President Andrej Kiska “turns logic on its head,” Mizik, a member of Slovakia’s Kotleba – People’s Party Our Slovakia, wrote on Facebook, because the founders of the Slovak nation “had a negative relationship to the Jews due to their selling out of the Slovak nation, usury and also because of religious issues,” Mizík wrote.
The honoring of Ivan Kamenec, a respected scholar on the Holocaust in Slovakia, Mizik wrote, was inappropriate because Kamenec is “a Communist Party candidate who has often worked as an undercover agent” for the communist-era secret police and a “Marxist, who himself admitted in an interview that he is a Jew.”
Juraj Herz, a Jewish film director, was also ineligible for the award due to his origins as was Eva Mosnakova, a Holocaust survivor who lectures at schools about her survival, Mizik wrote.
Martin Kornfeld, the CEO of the Federation of Jewish Communities in Slovakia, told JTA Monday that his organization was pleased at Danko’s “strong reaction” to Mizik’s words, which were reported by many media in Slovakia. Kornfeld called Kotleba a “fascist party,” citing the open veneration by many of its followers of Jozef Tiso, a Nazi collaborator who during World War II served as Germany’s puppet ruler in his capacity as president of the First Slovak Republic.
About 100,000 Jews were murdered in the Holocaust in Slovakia, including thousands who fled there from other countries before World War II. About 15,000 survived.
Last year, amid opposition to the arrival in Central Europe of hundreds of thousands of migrants from the Middle East, Kotleba enjoyed a meteoric rise in popularity in the general elections, that took it from being the 10th largest party with 1.5 percent of the national vote to the country’s 5th largest with eight percent.