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Letter to the Editor: Štefánik was a hero, Tiso was a traitor

As a Slovak 70 years young who was born in Vrbovce, I arrived in this great country of ours in 1937, and am now retired after 38 years from the United States Army. I am very much a Slovak interested in the welfare and well being of the place of my birth. I am also saddened by the break-up of the two countries into Slovakia and the Czech Republic, and to this day I can't seem to comprehend as to why it occurred.

I have one complaint with the [Spectacular Slovakia travel] magazine you published. There is an article about Gen. M.R. Štefánik and Jozef Tiso, where they are on the same page, adjacent to each other. To me, this is a disgrace; it is like comparing President Roosevelt to Adolph Hitler. Gen. Štefánik was our greatest hero, and Tiso was a traitor to the Slovak people regardless of religious affiliation.

As a young non-commissioned officer during World War II who could speak the Czechoslovak language, I was assigned the task of transporting Czechoslovaks who were prisoners, having been displaced by the Germans in Plzeň. During this venture - which was not pleasant - I heard many stories about Tiso and his gang, including Hlinka, and how these prisoners were there because of those two traitors. It is a shame that even now some of our people think they were heroes working for and with Hitler.

We live on the west coast of Florida, not too far from Masaryktown, settled by Slovaks in 1926. It is a great little town where many Slovaks still live, with a great community hall and occasional dances and celebrations. Even though I receive three Czechoslovak newspapers each month, I learned more from your two copies than I did from those in the last year.

Samuel B. Cernek, Homosassa, Florida, USA

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