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Police investigate Holocaust references by Catholic priest

THE ŽILINA police launched investigation into whether the sermon by Catholic priest Emil Floriš in Čadca meets conditions of committing an extremism-related crime. The priest said that Jews caused their own fate in the Holocaust and Roma could follow them. The police said they act even without somebody submitting a criminal complaint, the SITA newswire reported on September 10.

THE ŽILINA police launched investigation into whether the sermon by Catholic priest Emil Floriš in Čadca meets conditions of committing an extremism-related crime. The priest said that Jews caused their own fate in the Holocaust and Roma could follow them. The police said they act even without somebody submitting a criminal complaint, the SITA newswire reported on September 10.

Since the investigation is still in the beginning, it is too soon to provide more information, said Žilina police spokeswoman Jana Balogová.

The story about the sermon, which took place when Slovakia commemorated the 70th anniversary of the Slovak National Uprising (SNP), was broken by the Czech internet portal e15.cz.

Dušan Sloboda of the M. R. Štefánik Conservative Institute reminded on his blog that the crime is committed by the person who “publicly denies, doubts, approves or tries to apologise the Holocaust, crimes of the regime based on fascist ideology, crimes of regime based on communist ideology or crimes of other similar movement which by violence, threat of violence or threat of other serious harm leads towards violating basic rights and freedom of people”. Sloboda called on the authorities to deal with Floriš’s case, and launch criminal prosecution even without receiving the complaint.

“If the responsible authorities do not act, I will submit the criminal complaint myself,” Sloboda told SITA.

Lucia Kollárová, spokeswoman for the Federation of the Jewish Communities in Slovakia, said that part of the sermon referring to Jews and the Holocaust offends and belittles the memory of the victims. Moreover, part of the sermon contains untrue statements and anti-Semitic clichés and relativises the suffering of Jews during the wartime Slovak state, as reported by SITA.

“Also, the words in the sermon that may be interpreted as indirect call for a new Holocaust of Roma are condemnable,” Kollárová told SITA. “Also regarding the current wave of anti-Semitism in Europe we consider the content of his [Floriš’s] words dangerous and disturbing. We however consider it only a moral and human failure of the individual.”

Spokesperson for the Žilina diocese Zdeno Pupík told SITA that Floriš was talking only about the history of the parish, with a focus on World War II. He referred to bad relations between Slovaks and Jews that led to the nonsensical and cruel Holocaust.

“The Žilina diocese distances from any form of xenophobia,” Pupík said, as quoted by SITA.

Source: SITA

Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports

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