Jewish graves desecrated
A number of tombstones in a Jewish cemetery were damaged by unknown vandals in this city of 240,000 in eastern Slovakia. Family members visiting the cemetery on April 4 discovered the damage, reportedly to 73 tombstones. After telling the city's rabbi, police were summoned to the scene. An investigation has been launched, police said, but no suspects are known to date.
"The investigation has started, and the police will do everything to find the perpetrator," said Vojtech Farkaš, the chief detective.
While the suspect remains at-large, the pain felt by the Jewish community rests front and center. "I don't understand the people who would damage cemeteries," said Rabbi Goldstein, the Jewish flock's chief authority in Košice. "The people who are buried in there have not hurt anyone. Most of the tombstones that were damaged are at least 100 years old."
The tombstones were broken and were moved from their original spots, according to investigators. "The perpetrator has not taken anything away, because the tombstones are heavy," the rabbi said. "I know that they have anti-Semitism in their blood. That's the reason why they cause problems among people." Košice City Hall will finance the tombstones' reparation.
A similar incident struck the Jewish community in Nové Zámky, a city of 44,000 in south-western Slovakia, when vandals reportedly destroyed 150 tombstones during the Easter holidays.
Group wants to save virgin forest
An environmental conservation group based in this bustling metropolis of 240,000 in east Slovakia has launched a campaign to save a virgin forest in the area.
The Forest Conservation Association Wolf, (LZ Vlk), as the group is called, decided to conserve a beech-fir forest by establishing the first private park in Slovakia. That would guarantee that this site, one of the last original forests in Europe, would be saved for the ages.
Vlk's chief, Juraj Lukáč, said the group wants to buy a section of the Čergovské Pohorie mountain range worth about 3 million Sk from a private owner, but the cost is too high. "Because LZ Vlk does not have the money, we decided to find people interested in buying one tree for 1,000 Sk in the forest," Lukáč explained, adding that it will take 3,000 - 4,000 people to keep the forest intact.
Lukáč said Vlk guarantees that no trees that are purchased will face the lumberjack's axe.
Intrepid money forgers arrested
Police in this town of 32,000 in central Slovakia on April 6 detained five people from a six-person counterfeiting ring and charged them with printing phony Austrian schilling (ATS) banknotes.
The group, made up of five men and a woman working from a family house, printed 5,000 copies of ATS banknotes denominated in 1,000 bills; altogether, the bogus currency equalled 5 million ATS. They started the operation in January, churning out the banknotes on an offset printer, which were then printed by an inkjet printer.
Their scheme, however, backfired when they literally sold themselves short. Working through some companions, the money bandits tried to sell their "schillings" at a ridiculous price - one ATS for 50-70 Slovak hallers. One ATS trades on the market for approximately 2.8 Slovak crowns.
Adding insult to injury, organized crime experts in the police force arrested the counterfeiters after the intrepid moneychangers tried to pawn the false notes off on them. Police seized 4,552 banknotes, over 90 percent of the ring's total production. One of the gang is still at-large.
Compiled by Andrea Lörinczová from press reports.
24. Apr 1997 at 0:00