Today, exactly 80 years since the first transport of Slovak Jews left Slovakia for Auschwitz, Slovakia commemorated a painful anniversary. In this first train, which departed from Poprad city, there were 999 young unmarried Jewish girls and women. Only a few survived until the end of the Second World War.
Other transports soon followed. In the first wave of deportations alone, which lasted until October 1942, almost 58,000 Slovak Jews – children, women, men and elderly people – ended up in Nazi concentration and death camps.
The Slovak Parliament adopted today, 25 March 2022, a resolution condemning those tragic events, expressing their regret, and apologizing to the Jewish community for the actions of the former wartime Slovak State. The resolution declares that Parliament finds “the forcible deportations of citizens of Jewish origin from the territory of the then Slovak Republic, which took place between March 25, 1942 and October 20, 1942, to be particularly reprehensible.” It also stresses that any legislation leading to discrimination or the violation of human and civil rights is unacceptable.
The Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic, Ivan Korčok, said in a statement, “The transports to death at the time were only the culmination of processes and events that began much earlier, namely the spread of hatred against a group of people who were guilty merely of existing and how they were born.” Read the full statement here.
The official remembrance ceremony today took place at the Poprad city railway station and was attended by the President of the Slovak Republic Zuzana Čaputová and other state officials, Holocaust survivors and their descendants, as well as public and non-governmental organizations.