Declaration of loyalty to the Fascist regime by the Catholic clergy of Slovakia (1940)
This Declaration was made in 1940 when Hitler’s puppet regime in Slovakia was led by a Catholic priest, Msgr. Tiso at the head of the Fascist party founded by Father Hlinka. This document argues for still more clerical influence by reminding the government who helped the Fascists to power: “The Slovak Catholic priests were the first who waged war against Judeo-Marxism”. Also included are excerpts from the 1942 Declaration of the Slovak bishops vilifying the Jews.
On November 7, 1940 the Catholic clergy declared their loyalty to the Slovak Fascist regime in the official newspaper of the Catholic Church, Katolícke noviny (Catholic News).
1. The Slovak Catholic priests were nearly always the vanguard in the Hlinka´s first ranks, [Father Hlinka´s Party].
2. The Slovak Catholic priests maintained Hlinka´s Party newspapers, the Slovak and the Slovenská pravda (Slovakian Truth) with their own resources.
3. The Slovak Catholic parsonages were always a haven for Hlinka´s deputies and the county party secretaries.
4. The Slovak Catholic priests were always the soul of the municipal organisations of the HSLS [Hlinka´s Slovak People’s Party]: in the villages they were its chairmen or active members.
5. The Slovak Catholic priests delivered speeches and wrote papers on behalf of the HSLS.
6. The Slovak Catholic priests suffered for the HSLS.
7. The Slovak Catholic priests were the first who waged war against Judeo-Marxism and against Red Communism.
8. The Slovak Catholic priests were the leaders of the strongholds of HSLS, the Catholic Women’s Association and the Orol [Eagle] Association [a sports club used to inculcate the religious and political ideals of the HDLS].
9. The Slovak Catholic priests have led the nation to morality and defended it against every pernicious foreign influence.
10. The Slovak Catholic priests have made economic sacrifices second to none in order to revitalise the nation.
11. The Slovak Catholic priests welcomed with utmost pleasure the Slovak State [formed when Hitler divided Czechoslovakia, to better control its parts] and were the first to engage themselves in its development.
12. In this new state Slovak Catholic priests have formed the vanguard of the most active [HSLS members].
13. The Slovak Catholic priests stand openly on the side of this Government.
Two years later the Church again voiced its support for the fascist state. On April 26, 1942 — one month before passage of the Constitutional Act No: 68/ 1942 about the deportation of the Jews — the Slovak prelates made the “Declaration of the Bishops to the racial legislature”.* It included these remarks:
…the tragedy of the Jewish nation stems from the fact, that they didn’t recognise Our Lord the Saviour and prepared for Him a horrible and ignominious death.
In earlier times in Hungary when the political-religious laws were being drawn up during 1848-1896 a law was enacted granting the Jews the status of guests. Church representatives protested against this Act, because they were afraid the Jews could react with harmful acts in the public life. The ruling powers of that times and the public opinion accused the Church of being reactionary. But the facts have proven that the Church was right.
* Source: JUDr. Katarína Zavacká, CSc., (Slovak Academy of Science - Institute of State and Law), “V čom je problém základnej zmluvy Slovenskej republiky so Svätou stolicou”, (“The kinds of problems involved in the Basic Treaty of the Slovak Republic with the Holy See”), Práca, 2 June 2000. http://slovakia.humanists.net/zmluv_komplexne.html
Translated by Dr. Alexander Rehák