ACTIVIST Ladislav Ďurkovič, the former leader of the People Against Racism group, claims that Slovakia and the Czech Republic have the highest level of neo-Nazi activity in the former Socialist Bloc.
He estimates that there may be as many as 5,000 far-right extremists in the country based on materials presented at a conference in Lithuania in 2002. Police statistics from 2001 suggest a number around 2500.
The neo-Nazis are organized into groups with names such as Biela Slovenská Jednota (White Slovak Unity) and SS AG Slovakia.
In 2003, 113 crimes were classified as being motivated by race or nationality. Of these the police cleared up 73. Among the most serious crimes of the neo-Nazis, Ďurkovič cites the murder of Anastázia Balážová in Žilina and the burning of Mario Goral in Žiar nad Hronom.
The most recent incident was at the weekend of January22 to 23, when a group of 10 neo-Nazis attacked seven people in Bratislava, leaving five of them wounded.
Neo-Nazis can be found in all parts of the country and come from all social classes, but tend to be young, aged 14 to 25.
According to Ďurkovič, there are well-educated extremists who tend to focus on marketing and propaganda activities, while a larger group of less educated "foot soldiers" carry out acts of violence.
In an interview with the daily SME, Ďurkovič even suggested that the children of top politicians may be involved with far-right organizations, but when invited to name names he said that that would be unwise as "the parents are having a hard time dealing with the situation."
Compiled by Roger Heyes from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.
26. Jan 2005 at 11:26