Slovakia commemorates Battle of the Dukla Pass

SLOVAKIA’S top officials attended a commemorative event marking the 70th anniversary of the Battle of the Dukla Pass between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, one of the bloodiest events of World War II, on October 6. President Andrej Kiska and Prime Minister Robert Fico at the ceremony in Vyšný Komárnik (Prešov Region) also drew attention to many casualties from among Slovaks and Czechs who are buried at a nearby cemetery. In total the battle had cost the lives of at least 70,000 soldiers, mainly Germans and Soviets.

SLOVAKIA’S top officials attended a commemorative event marking the 70th anniversary of the Battle of the Dukla Pass between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, one of the bloodiest events of World War II, on October 6.

President Andrej Kiska and Prime Minister Robert Fico at the ceremony in Vyšný Komárnik (Prešov Region) also drew attention to many casualties from among Slovaks and Czechs who are buried at a nearby cemetery. In total the battle had cost the lives of at least 70,000 soldiers, mainly Germans and Soviets.

The president said in his speech that he would not like to comment on the military meaning of the battle vis-à-vis the huge number of casualties, but noted that this battle boosted the morale of the domestic anti-fascist resistance, as reported by the TASR newswire.

Fico stressed that this government wants to pursue peace in the first place.

“Only peace can ensure the development of Europe,” Fico said, as quoted by TASR, referring to the conflict in Ukraine. “No clank of arms, sanctions and misunderstanding, but only a debate and talks are a way from this crisis situation.”

One of the strongest moments of the ceremony was the revelation of the copy of statue of Czechoslovak soldier that was erected at the memorial of the Battle of the Dukla Pass victims to commemorate the battle in 1949. It replaced the piece by Ján Kulich that was installed at the memorial in 1960s when the original statue was removed by the leaders of communist regime.

Kulich’s statue was moved to the nearby observatory battle.

“I do not want to pretend to be a polymath, but I believe the management of the Institute of Military History that it made a right step and the history returns to its original state,” said Defence Minister Martin Glváč, who also attended the event, as quoted by the Sme daily.

Kulich is an author of controversial Svätopluk statue at Bratislava Castle ordered by members of Smer.

Glváč also said during the ceremony that he will try to rename the Prístavný (Port) Bridge in Bratislava to back to the Bridge of Dukla Heroes as it was called during communism, TASR wrote.

Source: TASR, Sme

Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports

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