We remember International Holocaust Remembrance Day

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International Holocaust Remembrance Day was declared by the UN General Assembly on 1. November 2005. The date to commemorate the millions is 27. January. It was on that day in 1945 that the Red Army liberated the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration and extermination camp. By the time the troops entered it, they found 7,600 prisoners who had survived the horrors of the concentration camp.


The Second World War cruelly affected the lives of Jewish families in Trenčín. Just to illustrate - in 1930, almost 2,300 people of the Jewish faith lived in 39 villages in the Trenčín district, of which 1,539 lived in Trenčín itself. In 1948, only 326 of them was registered in today's regional town.


Deportations from the territory of the then Slovak state started in 1942. People were usually forced to leave just one hour before leaving, during which they had to pack the essentials - but the allowed limit was a maximum of 50 kilograms. The Jews of Trenčín were taken to concentration centers in Žilina, Nováky, Sered or Bratislava. There they were loaded onto trains with a final station in Polish extermination camps


At the end of March 1942, a concentration of young Jews began in Trenčín. About 40 of them escaped before the raid. Members of the Hlinka Guard and gendarmes detained more than 100 men and deported them 31. March through the Nováky concentration camp to the Majdanek concentration camp in eastern Poland on. At the same time, Jewish girls and young women gathered in Trenčín. They were dragged to the Patrónka concentration camp in Bratislava, from where they were deported on 1. April 1942 to Auschwitz.


The entire Jewish families were expelled from Trenčín and the surrounding area in April 1942. At the end of this month, two transports with several hundred people left Trenčín for Žilina. Most of them were deported to Auschwitz on 29. April. Another transport with the same route left Trenčín on June 19, and about 100 families from the Trenčín district were included in it. The deportations subsequently continued until October 1942, with more than 75 percent of the Jewish population forcibly evicting the entire district this year, according to the Jewish Central Office.


After the declaration of the SNP, Trenčín was occupied by the German army. She secured all the Jews and their flats almost immediately for her own use. In September 1944, they abducted those who remained in the city. They ended up mainly in the centers in Sered and Ilava, from where they were deported to extermination camps. Among them were doctors who worked at the Trenčín hospital at the time. Only a fraction of the then persecuted inhabitants managed to escape and hide in the mountains or more distant villages. Those discovered by the Nazis were murdered, their bodies found in mass graves.


More than 1,550 Jews in the Trenčín district perished during the Holocaust. After the end of the war, about 350 survivors returned to the city, but not all of them were its original inhabitants. About 15 Jewish partisans and soldiers of the rebel army fell in battle.


After the war, Holocaust survivors organized a fundraiser and repaired a synagogue devastated by the fascist regime. It was ceremoniously opened and consecrated, with memorial plaques bearing the names of Holocaust victims on its premises. The original paper boards, which were later supplemented, are still stored in the archives of the Jewish religious community. Metal signs with the names of Holocaust victims hanging in the synagogue. Behind every single name is a human story that ended tragically. That is why we do not forget and commemorate January 27 with all the respect that this day deserves.



Resources: Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities (Part 3), Historická revue 4/2018