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Slovaks commemorate national uprising

Several hundred citizens gathered in Bratislava on August 29 to lay wreaths marking the 52nd anniversary of the Slovak National Uprising (SNP) against Nazi rule, Slovak media reported. President Michal Kováč noted the historical importance of the event, stressing that "if we do not want to betray the SNP message, we must fulfill it not only verbally but also in every-day life." Small ceremonies were also held in Banská Bystrica, Košice, and other towns. Kováč was joined in Bratislava by SNS MP Marián Andel, Deputy Premier Katarína Tóthová, and representatives of the Anti-Fascist Fighters Union, political parties, and the Israeli and Russian embassies.

However, the leftist Party of the Democratic Left (SDĽ) expressed disappointment that major SNP celebrations were not held this year, ČTK reported. SDĽ leaders also criticized the fact that official history textbooks containing passages on the SNP were withdrawn under pressure from the Slovak cultural organization Matica Slovenská. Kováč expressed anxiety that during discussions on Slovakia's wartime history, "responsibility for acts against humanity, against civil and human rights [and] for acts motivated by political or racial intolerance is denied or minimized." He said interpretation of those events should be left to qualified and objective historians to avoid their use as instruments for permanently dividing society.

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