Following the unveiling of a bust of the controversial foreign affairs minister of the wartime Slovak State, Ferdinand Ďurčanský, in his home town of Rajec, near Žilina, the police have launched a criminal investigation based on suspicion of support and promotion of groups aiming to oppress fundamental rights and freedoms. Žilina Regional Police spokesman Radko Moravčík said, as reported by the SITA news agency.
According to most historians, Ďurčanský was a proponent of anti-Semitism. The National Court sentenced him to death in 1947. The Hnutie Human association lodged the criminal motion with the police. The Slovak Union of Anti-Fascist Fighters, the Union of Jewish Communities, the civic association Tilia, and Hnutie Human, as well as Rajec citizens expressed their disapproval with the bust and requested its removal.
The national cultural heritage organisation Matica Slovenská convened an expert colloquium to evaluate Ďurčanský's activities from the viewpoint of 20th-century Slovak history, concluding that Ďurčanský contributed to elaboration of anti-Jewish legislation, pushed forward totalitarian practices and promoted cooperation with Hitler's Germany.
However, the mayor of Rajec, Ján Rybárik, stated that when the town approved the bust, the municipal council referred to materials from a conference on Ďurčanský organised by Matica Slovenská in Rajec in 1996. According to Rybárik, Ďurčanský should have a bust in Rajec, as it was his home town. Rybárik said he sees more positives in Ďurčanský’s personality than negatives. The €14,000 cost of the bust was paid for out of the town's budget.
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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15. Jun 2011 at 10:00