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Slovakia re-enacts death train to Auschwitz to commemorate 70th anniversary

A special train was dispatched from the Poprad railway station to Auschwitz, Poland on March 23 to mark the 70th anniversary of the first transport of Jewish women from Slovakia to the Nazi concentration camp on March 25, 1942. In addition to students, historians and philosophers, the event was attended by outgoing Prime Minister Iveta Radičová, the SITA newswire reported.

A special train was dispatched from the Poprad railway station to Auschwitz, Poland on March 23 to mark the 70th anniversary of the first transport of Jewish women from Slovakia to the Nazi concentration camp on March 25, 1942. In addition to students, historians and philosophers, the event was attended by outgoing Prime Minister Iveta Radičová, the SITA newswire reported.

The event was attended by Edita Grosmanová, who was among the thousand young women on the train in 1942. Grosmanová, the wife of the author of book which later became the blueprint for Oscar-awarded film Obchod na korze (The Shop on Main Street), returned to Auschwitz after 70 years, saying that “the God wanted it like this”, the Sme daily reported.

“If I were talking for 24 hours, it would not be even a percentage of the things that I have experienced,” she said, as quoted by Sme. “Millions of seconds of fear; I ask all [people], especially the young ones, to talk, talk, talk.”

She said that she is afraid of two things: pain before her death and the possibility that people would forget about the horrible things that happened in the concentration camps during World War II.

“I promise that I will talk,” said Radičová, as quoted by Sme, during the ceremony held in Auschwitz. “The worst thing that can happen to us is indifference.”

Radičová said that she can remember one young student in a political science class who said that the number of Jews who died in the concentration camps was exaggerated, stating that they were counted based on the number of shoes and that each person had two pairs of shoes with them: one for wearing and one kept as a reserve.

On the occasion of the 70th anniversary the Evangelical Church in Slovakia condemned the cruel injustice towards Jewish inhabitants of Slovakia. The Slovak cultural heritage organisation, Matica Slovenská, also apologized on behalf of its members and the Roman Catholic bishops expressed their regret as well, the Pravda daily reported.

Source: SITA, Sme, Pravda

Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports
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