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'It is not our job to look for the offender'

IVAN Petranský was elected to head the board of the Nation's Memory Institute (ÚPN) in February 2007. The Slovak National Party (SNS) nominated him to the post.
In the past, Petranský worked in the historical institute of the Matica Slovenská national heritage organisation, which has been seen as a nationalist group, and he had also been an archivist in the Archdiocese Office in Trnava.

IVAN Petranský was elected to head the board of the Nation's Memory Institute (ÚPN) in February 2007. The Slovak National Party (SNS) nominated him to the post.

In the past, Petranský worked in the historical institute of the Matica Slovenská national heritage organisation, which has been seen as a nationalist group, and he had also been an archivist in the Archdiocese Office in Trnava.

Under his leadership, ÚPN documents were published that showed that his former boss, Archbishop Ján Sokol, collaborated with the country's communist-era secret police (ŠtB) during the totalitarian regime. In May 2007, Slovak Television reported that Petranský intended to have secret negotiations with Sokol and SNS MP Rafael Rafaj about the amendment to the Act on the ÚPN, which would require the institute to publish only the facts that could be proved.

The Act on the ÚPN says the institute should declassify, investigate, publish and document the crimes of the fascist and communist totalitarian regimes form 1939 to 1990.

The Slovak Spectator spoke to Petranský about the latest developments at the ÚPN.


The Slovak Spectator (TSS): When it comes to falsified documents of the ŠtB secret service, which have now been discovered by the ÚPN, why have only two names been published, and not all of those who were involved in the falsifying?

Ivan Petranský (IP): We presented the first two reconstructed cases where we found an attempt to change the registration records.


TSS: So when will be the rest of the names published?

IP: After their reconstruction has been finished, within several months. The individual cases are different in terms of the effort required.


TSS: Is there proof that documents were falsified, deleted and overwritten earlier by ŠtB members, and not just recently? Do you have a chemical analysis or some other expertise that could help you find out approximately when this was done?

IP: The ÚPN never claimed that this was done by ŠtB members, and it is not our job to look for the offender. We were obliged to point out the contradiction between the registration records and other ŠtB documents concerning the period before 1989, and to show that these people were registered by the ŠtB as collaborators. From this point of view, it is premature to speak about expertise.


TSS: Why were the people concerned, i.e. Juraj Vereš and Albert Marenčin, not informed first (before the information was released)? As far as I know, this duty to inform the person in advance was fulfilled in the case of Ján Sokol, but not now.

IP:In the case of Ján Sokol, we did not find any attempt to change the entries in the registration records.


TSS: Juraj Vereš filed a written application to obtain documents about himself. On September 14, 2007, he received a written answer signed by Mr. Petranský and stating that his personal file was destroyed, and that any new findings and discoveries would be communicated to him in writing. So far, this has not happened. Why?

IP: When declassifying ŠtB documents, the ÚPN must send a person written notice about further discoveries that concern them, under the terms stipulated by law. Presenting and publishing significant discoveries - which the attempts to change the registration records undoubtedly are - is not related to the declassification process.


TSS: Don't you think that these new discoveries cast doubt on all the documents from the ŠtB archives?

IP: Surely not. On the contrary, it showed that by using related documents that have not been shredded, further information can be gained. It also showed attempts to change the entries in the registration records, which are a significant piece of evidence, but not the only evidence from the ŠtB activities.


TSS: When will the ÚPN publish the list of Aryanisers who got the property of the Jews sent to concentration camps during the Second World War from the state?

IP: More results from the Fates of the Slovak Jews project are planned to be published within next 10 months.

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