NEWS IN SHORT

Convicted WWII minister gets a bust

FOLLOWING the unveiling of a bust of the controversial foreign minister of the wartime Slovak State, Ferdinand Ďurčanský, in his home town of Rajec, near Žilina, the police have launched a criminal investigation. It is alleged that the bust violates a law banning support and promotion of groups that aim to suppress fundamental rights and freedoms, the SITA newswire reported.

FOLLOWING the unveiling of a bust of the controversial foreign minister of the wartime Slovak State, Ferdinand Ďurčanský, in his home town of Rajec, near Žilina, the police have launched a criminal investigation. It is alleged that the bust violates a law banning support and promotion of groups that aim to suppress fundamental rights and freedoms, the SITA newswire reported.

Most historians agree Ďurčanský was a proponent of anti-Semitism. He was sentenced to death in 1947 for his role in the wartime regime.

The Slovak Union of Anti-Fascist Fighters, the Union of Jewish Communities, the Tilia civic association and the Hnutie Human association, as well as some citizens of Rajec, expressed their disapproval of the bust and requested its removal. The national cultural heritage organization, Matica Slovenská, convened an expert colloquium to evaluate Ďurčanský’s activities from the viewpoint of Slovak history in the 20th century. The historians concluded that he had contributed to the elaboration of anti-Jewish legislation, pushed forward totalitarian practices and promoted cooperation with Hitler’s Germany.

The mayor of Rajec, Ján Rybárik, stated that when the municipal council had approved the bust it did so after referring to materials from a conference on Ďurčanský organised by Matica Slovenská in Rajec in 1996.

After public pressure, council members recommended in February 2011 that the mayor request a comprehensive expert opinion on Ďurčanský.


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