The Pope, who on Monday said in Hungary that in Europe it was necessary to “extinguish the fuse of anti-Semitism,” this Monday renewed his concern about the i hate jews which continues to prevail in Slovakia, where polls show that half the population has anti-Semitic sentiments.

In the last meeting of his second day in Bratislava, the Slovak capital, he expressed his solidarity with the Hebrew community in an emotional encounter between Catholics and Jews.

Four days ago, the Slovak authorities they asked for forgiveness for the collaboration of this country with the genocide perpetrated by the Nazis. It is a horrible story of the Shoah, the massacre of six million Jews in Europe during the Hitlerite nightmare.

What is still very serious for Catholics is that he was a priest, Mgr Jozef Tiso, the main protagonist in Slovakia. Tiso was president of the autonomous government with the support of Hitler and had formed a puppet government.

He was president of the Slovak People’s Party, a Catholic-inspired formation founded in 1913 when the country formed part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Tiso claimed autonomy from the Czechs, who invaded Slovakia on March 9, 1939 and threw him out of power. Hitler rushed to his aid and made him declare independence with German protection. Monsignor Tiso, Prime Minister of the country that was made independent by the Nazi leader, became a few months later President of the new Republic.

Deportations and death

The deportations of the Jews to Germany with the collaboration of the Hinka Guard, the armed wing of Monsignor Tiso’s regime, began in 1942.

It is estimated that 105 thousand Slovak Jews they died in concentration camps, most of them in Auschwitz. In August 1944 there was a popular insurrection that the Germans drowned in blood when they occupied the country.

Lost the war monsignor Tiso fled to a monastery in Bavaria, Germany, where he was captured by the allies who consigned him to the new Czechoslovak state. He was tried, sentenced to death and hanged on April 18, 1947.

Anti-Semitism is not extinct in Slovakia. It has distant roots. According to the agency France Presse, a study by Globsec, a local think tank, revealed that 51% of Slovaks consider that “Jews have too much power and they secretly control the governments and institutions of the entire world ”.

The Pope’s problem is that especially in these lands of central Europe there are many Catholics who still have anti-Semitic feelings. That is why in Budapest he warned about “the threat of anti-Semitism that winds its way through Europe.”

Just with the document of the Second Vatican Council “Nostra Aetate” of 1965, which advocates respect for the Jews, the Church decidedly changed course. During centuries the Jewish origin of Jesus it remained hidden and the Hebrews continued to be considered the deicide people of Christ, the son of God, in many catholic circles and sermons.

A more caring Europe

The Pope took advantage of his day this Monday to ask for a more caring Europe. “Fraternity is what we need to promote an increasingly necessary integration,” he said when received in the gardens of the Presidential Palace by the Slovak Head of State, Zuzana CaputovaPresent the full government and the accredited diplomatic corps.

“What we need you to do is promote an increasingly necessary integration,” said Francisco. He assured that in the post-pandemic stage “the economic recovery alone will not be enough in the world.”

He called on Slovakia “to reaffirm its message of integration and peace” and demanded that Europe “be distinguished by a solidarity that, crossing borders, can bring it back. to the center of the story“.

The second act of the day was his meeting with the bishops and religious of the country in the Cathedral of Saint Martin, in the historic center of Bratislava. To the religious he spoke of the need to “a humble Church that is not separated from the world and does not look at life with detachment ”.

Slovakia is a Catholic country, 62% of the 5.5 million inhabitants. But according to the local clergy, there is a significant decline in the faithful due to secularization.

Jorge Bergoglio in his message advised the clergy “not to forget” the need to “share, walk together, accept the questions and expectations of the people.”

Finally, the Pope spoke to the Slovak religious of the need for dialogue “because a Church that forms in interior and responsible freedom, that knows how to be creative by entering into history and culture, is also a Church that knows how to dialogue with the world.”

This Tuesday, on his third Slovak day, the Pope will fly to the cities of Presov and Kosice. He will return to Bratislava and on Wednesday 15 he will visit the Sastina sanctuary, before saying goodbye and return to rome where you will arrive around 15:30, local time.

Vatican, correspondent