Slovakia: Fascist politician seeks minute of silence in Parliament for WWII-era leader, doesn't get it
Slovak media are reporting that the leader of Slovakia's ultra-right "Kotleba-People's Party Our Slovakia" (K-LSNS), Marián Kotleba, asked the leadership of Parliament on Friday to announce a minute of silence to honor the President of the wartime Slovak State, Jozef Tiso, who was responsible for the deportation of Jewish people from the country. Andrej Danko, the speaker of Parliament who is also the head of the nationalist Slovak National Party (SNS), refused the motion.
Kotleba, who was recently labeled a fascist by Slovak President Andrej Kiska, wanted the minute of silence to be held yesterday in honor of "all victims of judicial murder and judicial error". The motivation for the commemoration was to have been the anniversary of the "shameful judicial murder" of Slovak President Tiso, Kotleba wrote to Danko in an open letter.
Tiso headed the Slovak State, which existed between 1939 and 1945 and was under the strong influence of Nazi Germany. According to historians, he was directly responsible for the transports of 70 000 Slovak Jews who ended up in Nazi concentration camps.
After the war, Tiso was convicted of treason by a Czechoslovak court and executed by hanging on 18 April 1947. Although representatives of present-day Slovakia and the church have condemned his deeds, part of Slovak society to this day views him as a representative of their national sovereignty.
While the director of Slovakia's Museum of Jewish Culture, Pavol Mešťan, called Kotleba's request an "affront and a provocation", Danko refused to comment. "The Chair of the National Assembly of the Slovak Republic will uphold the rules of order and sees no reason to express a view of the PR activities of that party," Zuzana Čižmáriková, press spokesperson for the legislature, told news server Pravda.sk.
K-LSNS has been called extremist or fascist after it surprisingly won seats in the legislature after the March elections, and its chair participated last year in demonstrations against immigrants and has previously organized marches against Romani people. Representatives of all the other parties call the K-LSNS extremists, with Slovak President Kiska taking the most consistent position toward the party so far, calling Kotleba a fascist because of his admiration for the Slovak State, which sent so many Jewish people to their deaths.
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