AROUND SLOVAKIA

Remembering victims of WWII air raid

SEVENTY years ago, on June 16, 1944, the US Air Force bombed 80 percent of the Apollo refinery in Bratislava, claiming the lives of 176 locals.

SEVENTY years ago, on June 16, 1944, the US Air Force bombed 80 percent of the Apollo refinery in Bratislava, claiming the lives of 176 locals.

Apollo was a joint-stock company, which in 1896 launched the operation of the Apollo refinery, popularly called Apolka, where mineral oils were refined and petrol, kerosene, paraffin, candles, Vaseline, tar and even artificial ice were produced. During the Second World War, Slovakia’s official ally, Nazi Germany, controlled the production, and the refining of diesel fuel and oil was modernised to produce fuels for the German army.

The refinery on the Danube’s left bank was attacked by US bombers in several waves on June 16. Numerous employees of the Apollo facility died, as air raid shelters failed to protect them from the burning oil. The city’s inhabitants were also among the fatalities, as bombs targeted residential areas of Bratislava. To commemorate the victims, Bratislava’s fifth bridge, finished in 2005 near the original site, was named Apollo.

The air raid’s success was in part due to a female industrial spy from inside Apollo, as Slavo Kalný writes in the book Bombardovanie Apolky (The Bombing of Apolka).

In 1946, the remains of the Apollo factory were nationalised, i.e. confiscated by the state, and incorporated into the national enterprise Slovak Refineries of Mineral Oils, which was renamed in 1949 to Slovnaft, a national enterprise. The refinery operated there until 1963, when it was moved to a new location on the city’s outskirts, Vlčie Hrdlo, the TASR newswire wrote.

In May 2005, an exhibition took place in Bratislava’s Primate’s Palace, showing the fate of the Apollo refinery from the founding charter until the tragic events of June 1944.

Top stories

Stanislav Boledovič

Teach for Slovakia chief talks education reform

STANISLAV Boledovič, the founder of the Teach for Slovakia project, believes that it helps socially disadvantages children succeed.

Police President Tibor Gašpar

Harabin releases third convicted police officer

Another police officer convicted for corruption was released by the appellate senate chaired by Štefan Harabin with the argument that the police inspectorate that investigated his case is unlawful. The former…

The Vietnamese community is well integrated.

Slovakia’s ‘invisible minority’ counters migration fears

Immigration has been at the centre of Slovakia’s public discourse in recent weeks, and though it may seem so, the issue is hardly a new one. Vietnamese people, for instance, have lived in Slovakia since the 1970s…

Illustrative stock photo

Slovak among languages featured in new Google tool

SLOVAK is among the 27 languages available for instant visual translation in a new Google Translate application.

The Apollo bridge, located close to where the refinery used to stand.

Source: TASR