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Slovak Uprising Day
Slovakia

Slovak Uprising Day 2017

Slovak Uprising Day celebrates the first day of the Slovakian resistance to the push of Nazi Germany in 1944. It is held on 29 August each year.

YearDateDayHoliday
201729 AugTueSlovak Uprising Day

Near the start of World War II, Slovakia became allied with Germany. In 1942, Germany requested 20,000 young, healthy Jews from Slovakia as the start of removing all Jews.

Josef Tiso, President of Slovakia, facilitated and encouraged the deportations. Not long after, two Jews escaped Auschwitz and gave information to the Vatican and the Slovakian government of the Nazi mass killings of Jews. Although he was a key player in these anti-Semitic activities, Tiso was able to keep some Jews from being transported by applying them to key industries needed to arm the German forces. Up to 40,000 Jews were saved but, although figures vary, in the end, somewhere between 70,000 and 105,000 Jews were sent to German concentration camps and perished. Around 83% of Slovakian Jews were deported and killed.

In 1944, the Soviet Red Army seemed to be winning the war against Germany and pushing back the Nazi forces. A resistance group gathered in Slovakia to oust the government. On 28 August, German troops moved into Slovakia to quash the rebellion. On 29 August, the anti-Nazi resistance arose in force against Tiso in Slovakia.

The resistance itself turned ugly and morphed into a guerrilla war for many months but, through the help of the Soviets and the Romanians, Slovakia was liberated in April 1945. During this time the Germans still managed to deport many thousands more Jews to Auschwitz. Tiso was arrested by the Americans and stood trial in Czechoslovakia. He was executed in 1947.

Today, Slovak Uprising Day is a national holiday celebrated by the laying of wreaths at the memorial in Bratislava and at other memorials and graves.