Sereď concentration camp

Sereď concentration camp was a concentration camp built during World War II in the Slovak Republic. It was founded as a labor camp for the Jewish population in September 1941. In September 1944, it was transformed into a concentration camp operated by units of the SS.

Sereď
Concentration camp
KZ Sereď 18
Barracks at Sereď
Sereď concentration camp is located in Slovakia
Sereď concentration camp
Location of Sereď within Slovakia
LocationSereď, Slovakia
Operated byHlinka Guard, Slovak State, SS
OperationalSeptember 1941–31 March 1945
InmatesSlovak Jews
Number of inmates4,463 deported
Liberated byRed Army

History

Labour camp ("the first Sereď")

Government Decree no. 198/1941, dated 9 September 1941, concerned the legal status of Jews. Known also as "The Jewish Codex", the order stripped all human and civil rights of the Jewish population in the Slovak Republic. According to the decree, Jews aged 16-60 were obliged to do work as ordered by the Slovak Ministry of the Interior. Within a month of the decree's enactment, the Ministry founded an internment camp and labor camp for the Jews in Sereď.[1]

The camp consisted of several manufactories, which produced joinery products, toys, clothing, and other goods. It was originally guarded by the Hlinka Guard. During the first wave of deportations from Slovakia, the camp served as a temporary detention center for deported citizens.

KZ Sereď - Holocaust-Museum - Transportwaggon
Freight car used to deport Slovak Jews

In total, 4,463[2] people were deported from Sereď to other Nazi forced labour camps in occupied Poland; most did not survive. The last two transport trains to leave Sereď during this time carried patients from the local Jewish hospital, as well as physically and mentally disabled people from various medical institutes. After this transport departed, conditions in the camp became better. In this later phase, Sereď was guarded by local police, who opened the gates and let the remaining Jews escape after the beginning of the Slovak National Uprising.[2] Many prisoners ended up participating in the revolt.

Concentration camp ("the second Sereď")

In September 1944, Sereď was transformed into a concentration camp with an SS guard under the command of Bratislava German Franz Knollmayer. The new contingent of SS soldiers proceeded to commit major atrocities against the prisoners, including torture, rape (though this was frowned on as a violation of racial hygiene laws), and murder.[3] By the end of September, Knollmeyer had been replaced by Alois Brunner, who had a mandate to finally resolve the "Jewish question" in Slovakia.[2]

Sereď became the main concentration camp for a second wave of deportations. In separate parts of the camp were imprisoned soldiers of the Slovak insurrectionist army, partisans, and people accused of supporting of uprising. Brunner organized 11 train transports, which deported prisoners to Auschwitz, Sachsenhausen, Ravensbrück, and Theresienstadt.[3] The last transport left Sereď on 31 March 1945, shortly before its liberation by the Red Army.[4]

Legacy

Sereď Holocaust Museum

The labour and concentration camps in Sereď form a national cultural monument of the Slovak Republic. It is the only one preserved camp complex of its kind in Slovakia (Nováky and Vyhne were not preserved). The Sereď Holocaust Museum located in the camp contains expositions related to Jewish culture, life in the camp, and the Holocaust.

References

  1. ^ Beránek 2016, p. 50.
  2. ^ a b c Beránek 2016, p. 51.
  3. ^ a b Konečný 2016, p. 48.
  4. ^ Beránek 2016, p. 52.

Bibliography

  • Beránek, Matej (2016). "Pracovný a koncentračný tábor v Seredi". Historická revue (in Slovak). 3.
  • Konečný, Martin (2016). "Alois Brunner a jeho úloha v procese likvidácie európskych Židov". Historická revue (in Slovak). 3.
Abrahám Pressburger

Abrahám Pressburger (born 1924) was a Jewish-Czech partisan during World War II. He lives in Israel.

Armin Frieder

Abraham Armin Frieder (30 June 1911 – 21 June 1946) was a Slovak Neolog rabbi. After attending several yeshivas, he was ordained in 1932 and became the leader of Slovak Neolog communities before Slovakia declared independence in 1939 and began to oppress its Jewish population. Frieder joined the Working Group, a Jewish resistance organization, and delivered a petition to President Jozef Tiso begging him to halt deportations of Jews to Poland. Frieder was involved in efforts to send relief to deportees and interview escapees to learn about the progress of the Holocaust in Poland. After the German invasion of Slovakia during the Slovak National Uprising, deportations from Slovakia resumed; Frieder was captured but managed to avoid deportation from Sereď concentration camp. After the war, he was appointed Chief Rabbi of Slovakia and attempted to smooth tensions between Neolog and Orthodox Jews. He died after surgery in 1946.

Einsatzgruppe H

Einsatzgruppe H was one of the Einsatzgruppen, the paramilitary death squads of Nazi Germany. A special task force of more than 700 soldiers, it was created at the end of August 1944 to deport or murder the remaining Jews in Slovakia following the German suppression of the Slovak National Uprising. During its seven-month existence, Einsatzgruppe H collaborated closely with the Hlinka Guard Emergency Divisions and arrested 18,937 people, of whom at least 2,257 were murdered; thousands of others were deported to Nazi concentration camps (primarily Auschwitz). The victims included Jews, Romani people, actual or suspected Slovak partisans, and real or perceived political opponents. One of its component units, Einsatzkommando 14, committed the two largest massacres in the history of Slovakia, at Kremnička and Nemecká.

Jozef Tiso

Jozef Tiso (Slovak pronunciation: [ˈjɔzɛf ˈtisɔ]; 13 October 1887 –18 April 1947) was a Slovak politician and Roman Catholic priest who governed the Slovak Republic, a client state of Nazi Germany during World War II, from 1939 to 1945. After the war, he was executed in 1947 for war crimes and crimes against humanity in Bratislava.

Born in 1887 to Slovak parents in Bytča, then part of Austria-Hungary, Tiso studied several languages during his school career, including Hebrew and German. He was introduced to priesthood from an early age and helped combat local poverty and alcoholism in what is now Slovakia. He joined the Slovak People's Party (Slovenská ľudová strana) in 1918 and became party leader in 1938 following the death of Andrej Hlinka. When Nazi Germany seized Czechoslovakia in 1938, the German authorities founded the Slovak Republic out of Czechoslovakia, while the Czech portion became the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia. Tiso became the Republic's President in 1939.

Tiso collaborated with Germany in deportations of Jews, deporting many Slovak Jews to extermination and concentration camps in Germany, while some Jews in Slovakia were murdered outright. An anti-fascist partisan insurgency was waged against Tiso, culminating in the Slovak National Uprising in 1944, which was suppressed by German authorities with many of its leaders executed.

When the Soviet Red Army overran the last parts of western Slovakia in April 1945, Tiso fled to Austria and then Germany where American troops arrested him and then had him extradited back to the reformed Czechoslovakia, where he was convicted of treason against the state, treason against the uprising and collaboration, and then executed by hanging in 1947 and buried in Bratislava.

Pope John XXIII

Pope Saint John XXIII (Latin: Ioannes; Italian: Giovanni; born Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli, Italian pronunciation: [ˈandʒelo dʒuˈzɛppe roŋˈkalli]; 25 November 1881 – 3 June 1963) was head of the Catholic Church and sovereign of the Vatican City State from 28 October 1958 to his death in 1963; he was canonized on 27 April 2014. Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli was one of thirteen children born to a family of sharecroppers who lived in a village in Lombardy. He was ordained to the priesthood on 10 August 1904 and served in a number of posts, as nuncio in France and a delegate to Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey. In a consistory on 12 January 1953 Pope Pius XII made Roncalli a cardinal as the Cardinal-Priest of Santa Prisca in addition to naming him as the Patriarch of Venice.

Roncalli was unexpectedly elected pope on 28 October 1958 at age 76 after 11 ballots. Pope John XXIII surprised those who expected him to be a caretaker pope by calling the historic Second Vatican Council (1962–1965), the first session opening on 11 October 1962. His passionate views on equality were summed up in his statement, "We were all made in God's image, and thus, we are all Godly alike."John XXIII made many passionate speeches during his pontificate. He made a major impact on the Catholic Church, opening it up to dramatic unexpected changes promulgated at the Vatican Council and by his own dealings with other churches and nations. In Italian politics, he prohibited bishops from interfering with local elections, and he helped the Christian Democratic Party to cooperate with the socialists. In international affairs, his "Ostpolitik" engaged in dialogue with the Communist countries of Eastern Europe. He especially reached out to the Eastern Orthodox churches. His overall goal was to modernize the Church by emphasizing its pastoral role, and its necessary involvement with affairs of state. He dropped the traditional rule of 70 cardinals, increasing the size to 85. He used the opportunity to name the first cardinals from Africa, Japan, and the Philippines. He promoted ecumenical movements in cooperation with other Christian faiths. In doctrinal matters, he was a traditionalist, but he ended the practice of automatically formulating social and political policies on the basis of old theological propositions.He did not live to see the Vatican Council to completion. His cause for canonization was opened on 18 November 1965 by his successor, Pope Paul VI, who declared him a Servant of God. On 5 July 2013, Pope Francis – bypassing the traditionally required second miracle – declared John XXIII a saint, based on his virtuous, model lifestyle, and because of the good which had come from his having opened the Second Vatican Council. He was canonised alongside Pope John Paul II on 27 April 2014. John XXIII today is affectionately known as the "Good Pope" and in Italian, "il Papa buono".

Sered

Sered or Sereď may refer to:

Sereď, a town in Slovakia

Sereď concentration camp in Sereď, a Nazi-era labour and transit camp run by the Hlinka Guard

Sered, a minor figure in the Bible.

Stolpersteine in the Trnava Region

Stolpersteine is the German name for stumbling blocks collocated all over Europe by German artist Gunter Demnig. They remember the fate of the victims of Nazi Germany being murdered, deported, exiled or driven to suicide. The first Stolpersteine of the Trnavský kraj, the Trnava Region of present-day Slovakia (formerly Czechoslovakia), were collocated in August 2016.

Generally, the stumbling blocks are posed in front of the building where the victims had their last self chosen residence. The name of the Stolpersteine in Slovak is: pamätné kamene, memorial stones.

The lists are sortable; the basic order follows the alphabet according to the last name of the victim.

The Holocaust in Slovakia

The Holocaust in Slovakia was the systematic dispossession, deportation, and murder of Jews in the Slovak State during World War II. Jews were blamed for Slovakia's territorial losses to Hungary and were targeted for discrimination and harassment, including the confiscation of property and businesses. The exclusion of Jews from the economy impoverished the community and caused social problems, which encouraged the government to conscript them for forced labor.

In 1941, the Slovak government negotiated with Nazi Germany for the mass deportation of Jews to German-occupied Poland. Between March and October 1942, 57,000 Jews were deported to Auschwitz concentration camp and the Lublin district of the General Government; only a few hundred survived. The persecution of Jews resumed after August 1944, when Germany invaded Slovakia and triggered the Slovak National Uprising. Another 13,500 Jews were deported and hundreds more were murdered in Slovakia by Einsatzgruppe H and the Hlinka Guard Emergency Divisions.

A total of 68,000 to 71,000 Slovak Jews were murdered, more than 80 percent of the prewar population. Survivors faced renewed antisemitism and difficulty regaining stolen property; most emigrated. Although the one-party postwar Communist regime banned discussion of the Holocaust, the ban was removed after the 1989 Velvet Revolution. The participation of the Slovak State in the Holocaust remains a contentious issue in the country.

Working Group (resistance organization)

The Working Group (Slovak: Pracovná Skupina) was an underground Jewish organization in the Axis-aligned Slovak State during World War II. Led by Gisi Fleischmann and Rabbi Michael Dov Weissmandl, the Working Group rescued Jews from the Holocaust by gathering and disseminating information on the Holocaust in Poland, bribing and negotiating with German and Slovak officials, and smuggling valuables to Jews deported to Poland.

In 1940, SS official Dieter Wisliceny forced the Slovak Jewish community to set up the Jewish Center (ÚŽ) to implement anti-Jewish decrees. Members of the ÚŽ unhappy with collaborationist colleagues began to meet in the summer of 1941. In 1942, the group worked to prevent the deportation of Slovak Jews by bribing Wisliceny and Slovak officials, lobbying the Catholic Church to intervene, and encouraging Jews to flee to Hungary. Its efforts were mostly unsuccessful, and two-thirds of Slovakia's Jews were deported to the Auschwitz concentration camp and camps and ghettos in the Lublin Reservation. Initially unaware of the Nazi plan to murder all Jews, the Working Group sent relief to Slovak Jews imprisoned in Lublin ghettos and helped more than two thousand Polish Jews flee to relative safety in Hungary during Operation Reinhard. The group transmitted reports of systematic murder received from the couriers and Jewish escapees to Jewish organizations in Switzerland and the Aid and Rescue Committee in Budapest.

After transports from Slovakia were halted in October 1942, the Working Group tried to bribe Heinrich Himmler through Wisliency into halting the deportation of European Jews to Poland (the Europa Plan). Wisliceny demanded a $3 million bribe, which far exceeded the Working Group's ability to pay, and broke off negotiations in September 1943. In April and May 1944, the Working Group collected and disseminated the Vrba–Wetzler report by two Auschwitz escapees documenting the murder of hundreds of thousands of Jews. By stimulating diplomatic pressure against the Hungarian government, the report was a major factor in regent Miklós Horthy's decision to halt the deportation of Hungarian Jews to Auschwitz in July. After the Slovak National Uprising in fall 1944, the Germans invaded Slovakia and the Working Group attempted to bribe the Germans into sparing the Slovak Jews. Its failure to clearly warn Jews to go into hiding is considered its greatest mistake.

Most historians agree that the actions of the Working Group had some effect in halting the deportations from Slovakia between 1942 and 1944, although the extent of their role and which of their actions should be credited is debated. The group's leaders believed that the failure of the Europa Plan was due to the indifference of mainstream Jewish organizations. Although this argument has influenced public opinion and Orthodox Jewish historiography, most historians maintain that the Nazis would not have allowed the rescue of a significant number of Jews. It has also been argued that the Working Group's negotiations were collaborationist and that it failed to warn Jews about the dangers awaiting them, but most historians reject this view. Israeli historian Yehuda Bauer considers the Working Group's members flawed heroes who deserve public recognition for their efforts to save Jews.

Camps and prisons
Massacres and roundups
Major perpetrators
Jewish Center
Rescuers
Aftermath
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