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HISTORY TALKS...

Partisans in the mountains

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THIS POSTCARD from 1944 shows partisans of the Slovak National Uprising (SNP) building shelters in the mountains of central Slovakia. The SNP is one event from Slovak history that has long been underappreciated. During World War Two, partisans struggled against huge odds to battle four or five divisions at the rear of the retreating German army. Thousands of partisans, some of whom came from abroad, such as France, and many Soviet instructors took part. The uprising was firstly directed at the pro-German Slovak State. Therefore, it was no surprise that Germany responded quickly and sent a huge army to quash it. From August 29 to the end of October 1944, the partisans attacked German stations, railways and plants in expectation that the Red Army would fight its way to Slovakia. But German units stationed in eastern Slovakia defended the Dukla Pass so vehemently, Soviet soldiers couldn't advance, and the uprising was suppressed. Nevertheless, the partisans served to distract the Germans, who had to fight hardest near Strečno Castle and the town of Telgárt.

The SNP is not recognized much outside of Slovakia either. But this is quite understandable when put into the context that a range of other dramatic events were taking place in Europe at that same time.


Prepared by Branislav Chovan

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