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On October 28, 1918, after the end of the Great War, Slovakia became part of the Czechoslovak Republic. Two decades later, on October 6, 1938, the country’s political leadership declared autonomy, and within a few months, on March 14, 1939, the Slovak National Assembly voted for the establishment of an independent state. Already during the period of autonomy, the government adopted anti-Jewish legislation (this trend would continue throughout the brief lifespan of the new state) aimed at gradually shutting Jews out of social and economic life. This state-sponsored persecution of the Jews culminated in mass deportations which began in 1942. In Central Europe, Holocaust remembrance typically involves events that took place on the territory of the given state. In Slovakia, these include the anniversary of the first transport (March 25, 1942) and especially September 9, 1942, when the Slovak National Assembly issued Decree 198/1941 on the Legal Status of the Jews. On September 13, 2000, the National Council of the Slovak Republic established September 9 as Memorial Day for Victims of the Holocaust and Racial Violence. To understand the criminal nature of the wartime Slovak regime, it is important to examine Constitutional Act 68/1942 on the Resettlement of the Jews, passed by the national assembly on May 15, 1942, by which time nearly 30,000 Jews had already been deported to concentration camps. The assembly thus retroactively legitimated deportations which in most cases ended in the death of the Jewish victims. This article centers on survivors’ testimonies about the impact of Act 68/1942 on them and their families. The selected recollections illustrate the process of the deportations as well as ways of avoiding them.



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