Political Prisoners Appeal to Danko for Victims of Communism Museum

Political prisoners write a letter to Danko (photo by TASR)

Bratislava, July 20 (TASR) – Political prisoners acknowledge Parliamentary Chairman Andrej Danko’s (Slovak National Party/SNS) proposal to include visits to concentration camps and more information on the Holocaust in teaching at Slovak schools, states a letter sent to Danko by Political Prisoners – the Union of Anti-Communist Resistance.

At the same time, the group asked Danko to do his best to ensure that mandatory visits to sites commemorating the crimes committed by the former communist regime are included as well, and that a museum dedicated to the victims of communism is set up.

According to the political prisoners’ union chief Jan Litecky Sveda, the museum could be set up at Leopoldov prison (Trnava region) or in any other place, and visiting could become a compulsory part of young people’s education. He pointed to the fact that 250,000 political prisoners were registered after the communists took over power in the former Czechoslovakia. “Meanwhile, 241 people were executed and 400 were shot on the run through the Iron Curtain. During their organised meetings with students at schools, members of political prisoners’ associations were surprised by the absolute ignorance of this period of history. We’re concerned about the growth in leftist extremism tolerated by society. It’s been spread through the unveiling of memorials to controversial senior people of the communist regime, but also by some constitutional officials,” stressed Litecky Sveda.

Political prisoners believe that Danko as head of a party with a 145-year tradition and as parliamentary chairman will accept their request with understanding so that “our children will know what misery a 40-year communist regime brought to the whole of Slovak society”.

During his visit to the newly founded Holocaust Museum in Sered (Trnava region) in June, Danko said that excursions to concentration camps and more information on the Holocaust must become part of teaching in Slovak schools. Danko stated that it’s no secret that Slovakia has a serious problem with people who hide their ideology behind another brand of politics, behind “nice faces and smiles” and “harmless phrases and statements”, a practice that could produce bad end results.

“I, as leader of the Slovak National Party, which has the education minister in the Cabinet, am saying that we’ll insist on a proposal that the Holocaust Museum in Sered should be one of the mandatory excursions for our students,” said Danko at the time.

Opposition MPs called on the Government back in April to incorporate mandatory visits to Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp  in Poland into secondary school curricula and to set aside financial resources for this. Independent MP Zsolt Simon came up with the initiative with the support of the Opposition party caucuses of Freedom and Solidarity (SaS), OLaNO-NOVA and We Are Family-Boris Kollar.

Education, Science, Research and Sport Minister Peter Plavcan has welcomed the Opposition’s proposal. “The Government Manifesto speaks about the need to prevent intolerance, violence and extremism in all forms,” he said in April.