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Slovak partisans were fighters in irregular military groups participating in the Slovak resistance movement, including against Nazi Germany and collaborationism during World War II.
Irregular military is any non-standard military component that is distinct from a country's national armed forces. Being defined by exclusion, there is significant variance in what comes under the term. It can refer to the type of military organization, or to the type of tactics used. An irregular military organization is one which is not part of the regular army organization. Without standard military unit organization, various more general names are often used; such organizations may be called a "troop", "group", "unit", "column", "band", or "force". Irregulars are soldiers or warriors that are members of these organizations, or are members of special military units that employ irregular military tactics. This also applies to irregular troops, irregular infantry and irregular cavalry.
Nazi Germany is the common English name for Germany between 1933 and 1945, when Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Party (NSDAP) controlled the country through a dictatorship. Under Hitler's rule, Germany was transformed into a totalitarian state that controlled nearly all aspects of life via the Gleichschaltung legal process. The official name of the state was Deutsches Reich until 1943 and Großdeutsches Reich from 1943 to 1945. Nazi Germany is also known as the Third Reich, meaning "Third Realm" or "Third Empire", the first two being the Holy Roman Empire (800–1806) and the German Empire (1871–1918). The Nazi regime ended after the Allies defeated Germany in May 1945, ending World War II in Europe.
World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.
Slovak partisans were an anti-fascist militia formed immediately the creation of the First Slovak Republic in 1939, to fight against Nazis and their collaborators. Men and women both fought in the ranks of partisan units, as well as Jews and Christians alike. Slovak partisans had mixed loyalties as many were deeply nationalistic and wanted a to maintain an independent Slovak Republic free of fascism, while many others were socialists who forged strong links with the Soviet Union and Soviet partisans. Slovak partisans mainly carried out acts of sabotage. Their largest anti-Nazi military engagement was the Slovak National Uprising in 1944, in which Slovak partisans were aided by the Slovak Army and Soviet partisans. Jan Golian and Rudolf Viest generals in the Slovak Army, led the uprising, which was eventually crushed by the Germans and their Hungarian and Ukrainian collaborators. The most famous Slovak partisan brigade was the M.R.Stefanik brigade led by the Slovak partisan hero Viliam Zingor. With 1300 members, it was the largest partisan brigade, and was fiercely nationalistic yet religiously tolerant, with over 300 Jewish members. After the war this brigade, and its leader, fell into disfavour among Czechoslovak Communist politicians, who accused Gustáv Husák of being a traitor to the Slovak nation and people. Zingor was eventually executed by Husák and the communist government on the December 18, 1950. The Janosik brigade was another partisan brigade, which fought in the Tatra Mountains and Orava.
The Slovak National Uprising or 1944 Uprising was an armed insurrection organized by the Slovak resistance movement during World War II. This resistance movement was represented mainly by the members of the Democratic Party, but also by social democrats and Communists, albeit on a smaller scale. It was launched on 29 August 1944 from Banská Bystrica in an attempt to resist German troops that had occupied Slovak territory and to overthrow the collaborationist government of Jozef Tiso. Although the resistance was largely defeated by German forces, guerrilla operations continued until the Soviet Army, Czechoslovak Army and Romanian Army liberated Fascist Slovakia in 1945.
Rudolf Viest was a Slovak military leader, member of the Czechoslovak government in exile, member of the Slovak National Council and the commander of the 1st Czechoslovak army during the Slovak National Uprising. He was the Slovak with the highest military function and the only Slovak general during the interwar period in the first Czechoslovak Republic.
Gustáv Husák was a Slovak politician, president of Czechoslovakia and a long-term Secretary General of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia (1969–1987). His rule is known as the period of the so-called "Normalization" after the Prague Spring.
Slovak Jewish partisans made outstanding accomplishments as members of all-Jewish groups. The most famous Slovak Jewish partisan unit was the Novaky Brigade, formed from the inmates of Novaky concentration camp. The Novaky brigade benefited from its strategic locale, as the camp was in a region populated by miners and farmers who had no sympathy for the pro-Nazi government. With the help of these friendly locals, the Novaky brigade made contacts with other partisans, and arranged to receive aid and weapons in the event of an armed uprising. In honour of their service to their country, 166 Jewish partisans were awarded the Order of the Slovak Uprising.
There were many famous Slovak partisans but none more famous than the famous Jan Nalepka, and Viliam Zingor.
Rudolf "Rudi" Vrba was a Slovak-Jewish biochemist who, as a teenager in 1942, was deported to the Auschwitz concentration camp in German-occupied Poland. He became known for having escaped from the camp in April 1944, at the height of the Holocaust, and for having co-written a detailed report about the mass murder that was taking place there. Distribution of the report by George Mantello in Switzerland is credited with having halted the mass deportation of Hungary's Jews to Auschwitz in July 1944, saving more than 200,000 lives. After the war Vrba trained as a biochemist, working mostly in England and Canada.
Haviva Reik (1914–1944) was one of 32 or 33 parachutists sent by the Jewish Agency and Britain's Special Operations Executive (SOE) on military missions in Nazi-occupied Europe. Reik went to Slovakia in fall 1944 and worked with local Jewish people to resist the German occupation there. She established a camp for Russian prisoners of war who had escaped, and helped organize a Jewish resistance unit. The Germans organized forces to put down the Jewish resistance, and Reik and the other parachutists escaped with about 40 local Jews into the mountains. In November 1944, however, Reik and the other parachutists were captured, killed, and buried in a mass grave.
Juraj Jánošík was a famous Slovak highwayman. Jánošík has been the main character of many Slovak novels, poems and films. According to the legend, he robbed nobles and gave the loot to the poor, a deed often attributed to the famous Robin Hood. The legend is also known in neighbouring Poland and the Czech Republic. The actual robber had little to do with the modern legend, whose content partly reflects the ubiquitous folk myths of a hero taking from the rich and giving to the poor. However, the legend was also shaped in important ways by the activists and writers in the 19th century when Jánošík became the key highwayman character in stories that spread in the north counties of the Kingdom of Hungary and among the local Gorals tourists in the Podhale region north of the Tatras. The image of Jánošík as a symbol of resistance to oppression was reinforced when poems about him became part of the Slovak and Czech middle and high school literature curriculum, and then again with the numerous films that propagated his modern legend in the 20th century. During the anti-Nazi Slovak National Uprising, one of the partisan groups bore his name.
Resistance movements during World War II occurred in every occupied country by a variety of means, ranging from non-cooperation, disinformation and propaganda, to hiding crashed pilots and even to outright warfare and the recapturing of towns. In many countries, resistance movements were sometimes also referred to as The Underground.
Ján Golian was a Slovak Brigadier General who became famous as one of the main organizers and the commander of the insurrectionist 1st Czechoslovak Army in Slovakia during the Slovak National Uprising against the Nazis.
A partisan is a member of an irregular military force formed to oppose control of an area by a foreign power or by an army of occupation by some kind of insurgent activity. The term can apply to the field element of resistance movements, examples of which are the civilians who collaborated with or opposed Nazi German, Fascist Italian and Ustaše Croatian rule in several countries during World War II.
The Belarusian Resistance during World War II opposed Nazi Germany from 1941 until 1944. Belarus was one of the Soviet republics occupied during Operation Barbarossa.
The history of the Jews during World War II is almost synonymous with the Jewish persecution and murder of unprecedented scale in modern times in political Europe inclusive of European North Africa. The massive scale of the Holocaust which happened during World War II heavily affected the Jewish nation and world public opinion, which only understood the dimensions of the Final Solution after the war. The genocide, known as HaShoah in Hebrew, aimed at the elimination of the Jewish people on the European continent. It was a broadly organized operation led by Nazi Germany, in which approximately six million Jews were murdered methodically and with horrifying cruelty. During the Holocaust in occupied Poland, more than one million Jews were murdered in gas chambers of the Auschwitz concentration camp alone. The murder of the Jews of Europe affected Jewish communities in Albania, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Channel Islands, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Libya, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Moldova, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, and Ukraine.
Jewish resistance under the Nazi rule took various forms of organized underground activities conducted against German occupation regimes in Europe by Jews during World War II. According to historian Yehuda Bauer, Jewish resistance was defined as actions that were taken against all laws and actions acted by Germans.The term is particularly connected with the Holocaust and includes a multitude of different social responses by those oppressed, as well as both passive and armed resistance conducted by Jews themselves.
Jewish partisans were fighters in irregular military groups participating in the Jewish resistance movement against Nazi Germany and its collaborators during World War II.
Rudolf Margolius was Deputy Minister for Foreign Trade, Czechoslovakia (1949–1952), and a co-defendant in the Slánský trial in November 1952.
The History of the Jews in Slovakia goes back to the 11th century, when the first Jews settled in the area.
The 1st Czechoslovak Partisan Brigade of Jan Žižka, initially known as Ušiak-Murzin Unit, was the largest partisan unit in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia during the German occupation of Czechoslovakia. After its core membership of Soviet-trained paratroopers were dropped into Slovakia in August 1944, the brigade crossed into Moravia and began operations in earnest at the end of 1944. Its focus was guerrilla warfare, especially sabotage and intelligence gathering.
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.
Ján Nálepka was a Slovak captain who organized and led an anti-fascist Slovak partisan detachment in the Soviet Union during World War II.
Karol Hochberg was a Jewish collaborator during the Holocaust, who led the "Department for Special Affairs" within the Ústredňa Židov, the Judenrat in Bratislava which was created by the Nazis to direct the Jewish community of 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.
The Kremnička and Nemecká massacres were a series of massacres committed between 5 November 1944 and 19 February 1945 in Kremnička and Nemecká, Slovakia by the Hlinka Guard Emergency Divisions and Einsatzkommando 14 following the suppression of the Slovak National Uprising. During the uprising, many Jews fled to Banská Bystrica, a partisan stronghold; when the town fell, Jews, actual or suspected Slovak partisans, and Romani people captured during roundups were temporarily held in the town's jail. The victims were then trucked to the murder sites at Kremnička and Nemecká, where they were shot. The majority of the 747 people shot at Kremnička were Jewish. Exact figures are not known for the Nemecká massacres, because the bodies were burned, but historians estimate a death toll of around 900, of whom most of the known victims were Jewish or Romani.
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. 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.