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Matica issues text vilifying Roma

MATICA Slovenská, Slovakia’s oldest cultural heritage institution, funded by the state budget, has published a text promoting Jozef Tiso, president of the Nazi-allied wartime Slovak state, and vilifying Roma, in a report on a conference devoted to the country’s 20 years of independence.

MATICA Slovenská, Slovakia’s oldest cultural heritage institution, funded by the state budget, has published a text promoting Jozef Tiso, president of the Nazi-allied wartime Slovak state, and vilifying Roma, in a report on a conference devoted to the country’s 20 years of independence.

Marián Tkáč, chairman of Matica Slovenská, claims that the institution’s bodies did not know about the text. He also promised consequences, the TASR newswire reported.

The Pravda daily broke the story on March 4. It reported that Matica Slovenská published the text by Radovan Novotný presented at a conference devoted to Slovakia’s 20 years of independence in November 2013 in Košice. In a contribution called “Fair Approach”, Novotný proposes a solution to fight against the “sprawling of anti-social Gypsies”, explaining that it should be “exactly the same as advised and done by Dr Jozef Tiso”.

Novotný, according to Pravda, was active in Slovak Togetherness, the prohibited party of far-right extremist Marian Kotleba.

Both historian Dušan Kováč and the Culture Ministry called the text unacceptable. The organisers of the conference deny responsibility for inviting Novotný and publishing the text. According to Tkáč, it was Matica Slovenská’s department of political science, chaired by Roman Michelko, which organised the publishing of the text.

Michelko, however, told Pravda that the main organiser was the Košice-based branch of Slovakia Plus, which is connected to the local Matica Slovenská branch.

“Novotný had bigoted Catholic and slightly extremist opinions, with which I do not identify,” Michalko said.

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