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The Černová Tragedy: 15 people killed for consecration of their church

Slovaks overlook the 1907 massacre, although it is a red-letter day.

The Slovak Post issued the Andrej Hlinka stamps on the occasion of the 140th anniversary of the Slovak Catholic priest and politician's birth in 2014. Hlinka was a key figure in the October 1907 Černová Tragedy, although he was not presentThe Slovak Post issued the Andrej Hlinka stamps on the occasion of the 140th anniversary of the Slovak Catholic priest and politician's birth in 2014. Hlinka was a key figure in the October 1907 Černová Tragedy, although he was not present (Source: TASR)

He asked people to donate money in 1905 for a new church in his hometown of Černová, which is nowadays a borough of Ružomberok. He himself donated money. Catholic priest Andrej Hlinka could not consecrate the church once it was completed, though.

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Hlinka strongly criticised politics in Budapest because in the early 20th century, the Hungarian part of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire, of which Budapest was the capital, was oppressing minorities in an attempt to create one homogeneous Hungarian nation. And oppression hit Slovaks hard, too.

For his disobedience, a Hungarian-speaking bishop based in the Spiš Region, pressured by Budapest authorities, stripped Hlinka of his robe for a long time, preventing him from consecrating the church.

People in Černová tried in October 1907 to change the date set by the bishop several times, but they were unsuccessful. Instead, slaughter of 15 Černová inhabitants took place on the consecration date of October 27. It was the police of Slovak origin that opened fire, although oppression came from Budapest.

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Dozens were injured and later sentenced to months in prison for their “riot”.

The church in Černová was eventually consecrated on June 29, 1910, by Hlinka himself after the Vatican declared its support for him.

Listen to the forgotten story of the 1907 Černová Tragedy, in which armed culprits became witnesses and unarmed victims the culprits.

Sources: Historická Revue (history magazine), Tragédia v Černovej a slovenská spoločnosť - The Černová Tragedy and Slovak Society (book by R. Holec, 1997), Černová 1907 (book by R. Letz, 2017).

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