THE INTERIOR Ministry has halted a fund-raising effort which was intended to pay for the reconstruction of the birthplace of Jozef Tiso, Slovakia's wartime leader and an ally of Adolf Hitler. Despite having originally authorised the fund-raising, the ministry cancelled it following media scrutiny.
The Slovak Spectator weekly reported on the fund-raising efforts of the Association for the Preservation of Traditions (SPZT), which were due to have continued for a year, on July 21.
During Tiso’s presidential term, which lasted from 1939 to 1945, approximately 70,000 Jews were deported from Slovakia to German concentration camps, where most were killed.
Under Slovak law, the ministry can approve a fund-raising effort only for a purpose which is beneficial to the public. After the Sme daily asked the ministry in late September how a fund-raising effort to preserve Tiso’s house could serve the public good, the ministry cancelled it.
“After the notification, the minister ordered the original decision to be scrutinised,” Interior Ministry spokesman Erik Tomáš told Sme.
When asked by The Slovak Spectator in July in what way the fund-raising was beneficial to the public, the Interior Ministry's Alena Koišová conceded that Tiso "is a controversial personality in our history," but said the application did not threaten public order and fulfilled all legal conditions.
Ľudmila Staňová from the Interior Ministry also said that the “Interior Ministry had no reason not to allow the association, which fulfilled all the duties stemming from the [relevant] law, to begin a public fund-raising effort.”
The SPZT is led by controversial nationalist Stanislav Pánis, who is also the chairman of a nationalist political grouping, Slovak National Unity. Pánis, along with his supporters, has organised celebrations to commemorate Jozef Tiso on numerous occasions.