Around Slovakia

Banská Štiavnica
Porn shot in a clock shop

WATCHMAKER Róbert M was sentenced to 10 years in prison for shooting child pornography in his clock shop.
The district court in Žiar nad Hronom also sentenced an accomplice of Robert M's to three years in prison, the daily SME reported.
The clock shop was situated in the centre of Banská Štiavnica, with other shops and firms in the same building. After working hours Róbert M shot videos and took photographs of boys under the age of 18.
The boys, from socially vulnerable backgrounds, were lured to the shop by the promise of high earnings.
"We had no idea what was going on in the clock shop although many things were murmured with regards to the watchmaker's relationship to young boys. But we did not know him too well because he commuted to work from Žiar nad Hronom. He seemed undistinguished and they said he also had his own family," an employee in one of the local firms told the daily.
Another resident of Banská Štiavnica also confirmed that there had been talk about the watchmaker's relationship with young boys for a long time.
"My son once told me that some boys went for photo shoots to the watchmaker and they got Sk200 to 300 (€5 to 7.70) for a shooting. I thought he was making it up," said the unnamed source.
Meanwhile the illegal film studio produced several movies and hundreds of photographs. The youngest of the boys was just 12 years old. Together with his accomplice, Róbert M offered the films through the Internet and some of them even had German subtitles.
The police discovered a lot of evidence during house searches. This was not the first time that the watchmaker has been sentenced to prison for such a crime. In 1994 he was given a prison term but released early for good behaviour.

Banská Štiavnica
Beatles photographer's home crumbling

THE HOUSE in which Dežo Hoffman, a world-famous photographer and cameraman, was born is crumbling. Hoffman, who won international reputation as a photographer of The Beatles, was born in the central Slovak town of Banská Štiavnica.
The house does not have any sign stating that the artist was born there, a fact that local civic group Paradajz, has been criticizing for some time.
"The house is privately owned and the owner does not have the money to reconstruct it. We would like to help him by getting a grant," said Anton Pižurný from Paradajz, which focuses on cultural activities.
After reconstructing the house, a memorial plaque would be erected and possibly a room containing a small gallery of photographs would be established in the house.
"I am convinced that the inhabitants of Banská Štiavnica still owe a lot to Hoffman. Although he only lived here for a short time, his is a personality that other towns would fight for," said Pižurný.
Hoffman was born in Banská Štiavnica in 1912, but after his father's death he and his mother moved to Žilina.
Hoffman was known as the photographer of The Beatles and took over a million shots of the legendary British band.
He also photographed stars such as the Rolling Stones, Dusty Springfield, The Kinks, Cliff Richard and The Shadows, Louis Armstrong, and Charlie Chaplin.
Hoffman had a dramatic life. He trained as a typographer but later worked as a cinema usher in Prague and studied journalism. He was later offered work at the Barrandov film studios but his life changed completely during an internship at the 20th Century Fox studios, where he learnt his craft as a cameraman.
Later he took part in the Spanish civil war as a member of the international brigade, and served side-by-side with Ernest Hemingway. As a cameraman on the front line he was wounded three times and after recuperating he joined the Royal Air Force's Czechoslovak squadron.
Hoffman spent most of his creative life in London, where he also died.
His cooperation with The Beatles started in Liverpool in 1962.

Visitors to the international technology and investment trade fair TEX EXPO in Košice, which took place from November 9 to 11 at the Cassosport Hall, viewed giant-sized items such as a 158-kilometre scarf, a 253-metre spoon and a 640-litre teapot. The exhibits were loaned from the Museum of Records and Curiosities in the Czech town of Pelhřimov and the Guinness Club of Records in Košice.
photo: TASR

Prisoner on the loose alerts 84 police officers

A TOTAL of 84 police officers and prison guards took part in a search for Matúš P, a convict who escaped from prison on October 28. He was captured three days later in a disused farmhouse in the eastern Slovak town of Trebišov.
Eleven police dogs also took part in the search, the SITA news agency reported. Police spokesman Peter Žaludek said that while on the loose Matúš P had broken into an abandoned family house in Trebišov.
Matúš P was sentenced to six years in prison in 2002 for robbery and theft.

Town apologizes to Jewish community

THE INHABITANTS of Topoľčany officially apologized to its Jewish inhabitants on October 23, 2005, for an event in which 48 Jews were injured 60 years previously, the daily SME reported.
"We are aware of the blame that lies on all of us Topoľčany inhabitants. I beg you, in my name, in the name of the town, and the inhabitants of the town for a pardon," said Topoľčany Mayor Pavol Segeš to representatives of the Jewish

Topoľčany Mayor Pavol Segeš hands out an official appology for the Jewish pogrom that took place in 1945.
photo: ČTK - Miroslav Földeši

In an official statement, the councillors expressed deep regret over the event, stating that the biggest responsibility for the bloody violence lay with the state administration and the security forces.
The head of the office of the central union of Jewish religious communities in Slovakia, Jozef Weiss, who comes from Topoľčany, considers the apology to be an act of redress.
He also said that not all of the town's inhabitants have come to terms with the black chapter in the history of the town.
"The apology is an expression of virtue. I think the bloody events in Topoľčany mean it should have come earlier," said one Topoľčany inhabitant.
The complete list of all Jews who were wounded in the violence as well as the nature of their injuries was read out at the meeting.
The pogrom took place on September 24, 1945. According to historian Ivan Kamenec, although the events only took a few hours, they caused a stir among the Slovak public as well as in ruling circles at the time.
According to SME there was anti-Jewish sentiment in Topoľčany even before the transportation of Jews to Nazi death camps during World War II, but they were not extreme.
However, because of the war and the character of the Slovak state - a Nazi puppet state - these sentiments escalated.
Jews held a relatively strong economic position in Topoľčany, one of the sources of the anti-Jewish feelings.
At the beginning of September 1945 rumour spread that the Jews wanted to take over a local church school and on September 24, a group of women demanded an explanation from the local administration.
The municipality denied the information but meanwhile another rumour spread suggesting that a Jewish doctor called Berger was killing schoolchildren with a poisonous vaccine.
The crowd raided the local school and beat the doctor. A mass psychosis spread and the inhabitants of the town beat every Jew that did not manage to hide.
Then the crowd started plundering Jewish property and even people from the surrounding villages came to join in.
"I was 12 then. Our teacher told us that there were riots in town and sent us home from school. We went through the main square and saw how they were beating people.
We were scared and so we hid in the Jewish cemetery until the sun set. Then, for the next two days we were scared to go out of the house," said Weiss.

Dunajská Streda
Shipwreck owner ignores authorities

THE WRECK of the Romanian cruise ship Oltenita, which burnt and partially sank on October 2 near Gabčíkovo in the western Slovak Trnava region, has not yet been removed from the scene, authorities stated on October 28.
The owner of the ship, a Romanian citizen, is not co-operating with Slovak authorities and is not interested in removing the wreck, the head of the National Shipping Authority (SPS) Ján Juria told the TASR news agency.
The Romanians should have towed the wreck away by October 20. However, they sent a letter to the SPS asking the office to tow it away. "We don't have either the means or the authority to do this," Juria said.
The owner wanted to demolish the ship on site. However, Juria thinks the only possibility is to tow the wreck to the harbour. "The date for towing the wreck was scheduled for December 15," he said.
The shipping route at the scene of the accident had to be narrowed because of the wreck. Also, with the water level changing, fuel has started to leak.
According to Juria, the Romanian owners attitude is not unusual. Owners of ships that run aground often act this way, he added.

Nitra - Zlaté Moravce
Victims of the "road of death" commemorated

FAMILIES of victims of the so-called "road of death", the I/65 that connects Nitra and Zlaté Moravce in the country's western region, held a commemorative meeting for their loved ones at Zlaté Moravce City Hall on November 2, the TASR news agency reported.
Peter Hatina from the traffic inspectorate said that since 1996 there has been 2,053 car accidents on the road, with 62 deaths and 108 people seriously injured.
Since the beginning of this year there have been 178 accidents on the road and seven people have died.
Participants in the commemoration act laid wreaths and held a mass at a cross close to the turn off to the road.

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