Tuka, Vojtech Lazar”Béla”.

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Tuka, Vojtech Lazar "Béla".

Tuka, Vojtech Lazar “Béla” born, 04-07-1880 in today’s Štiavnické Bane, studied law at universities in Budapest, Berlin and Paris. He became the youngest professor in the Kingdom of Hungary, teaching law in Pécs and from 1914 to 1919 at the Elisabethan University in Bratislava. After the dissolution of that university he worked as an editor in Bratislava. After the founding of Czechoslovakia in late-1918, he was a secret agent of the Hungarian government and the secret coordinator of Hungarian irredentism in Czechoslovakia attempting to revive the pre-war Kingdom of Hungary, which included Slovakia. Since this aim also required the dissolution of the country of Czechoslovakia, he cooperated with adherents of Slovak autonomy or independence. He saw the struggle for Slovakia’s autonomy as an intermediate stage on the way to his final goal, a restored Greater Hungary. In 1923 Tuka founded the organization Rodobrana, “Home Guard”. The Rodobrana was a semi-military organization that policed the HSĽS meetings. Tuka was a deputy to the Czechoslovak parliament from 1925 to 1929. On 01-01-1928 Tuka published an article under the title “Vacuum iuris” alleging that there had been a secret annex to the 31-12-1918. Declaration of the Slovak Nation, by which Slovak representatives officially joined the newly founded state of Czechoslovakia. Tuka argued that the validity of the declaration was agreed to be limited to ten years, in which case Prague’s writ would no longer run in Slovakia after 28-10-1928. After some hesitation, the Prague government charged Tuka with espionage on behalf of the Hungarian government and high treason. The trial found that Tuka’s allegations were in fact false and sentenced him to fifteen years imprisonment, of which he ended up serving roughly ten. Post-World War II documents retrieved from Hungary however showed that he was in the service of the Hungarian Irredenta. On 09-03-1939, Czech troops moved into Slovakia, the Homolov Putsch, in reaction to radical calls for independence from Slovak extremists, including Tuka, who had recently released from prison. On March 13, Hitler took advantage of this situation, prompted Jozef Tiso,

    Slovak ex-prime minister deposed by the Czech troops,  to declare Sloval Independence. The remaining Czechoslovakia was incorporated into the Reich as a protectorate. Soon thereafter, after being accused by Adolf Hitler of being too friendly to Jews, Tiso made Tuka Prime Minister. Tuka strongly advocated the deportation of Slovakia’s Jewish population to the east Nazi concentration camps. His anti-Semitic and radical policies put Prime Minister Tuka in stark conflict with the moderate President Tiso. Together with Internal Affairs Minister Alexander Mach, Tuka became the leader of the radical and pro-Nazi wing within the Slovak People’s Party. This wing,  enjoying little support among Slovaks,  relied on the Hlinka Guard, i.e. the Rodobrana revived by Tuka when released from jail in 1938. Tuka, here with von Ribbentrop He was also the vice-chairman of the Slovak People’s Party. The conflict between the moderate Tiso-wing and the radicals resulted in the Salzburg Compromise, concluded between Slovakia and the Reich on 28-07-1940, as a result of which Tuka and other anti-Semitic, radical political leaders increased their powers at the expense of Tiso and other moderates. The compromise called for dual command by the Slovak People’s Party and the Hlinka Guard (HSĽS).   The Reich appointed storm trooper leader Manfred von Killinger

 438px-Bundesarchiv_Bild_183-L07770,_Manfred_v._Killinger , he committed suicde in Bucharest, age 58 on 02-09-1944, as the German representative in Slovakia. While Tiso successfully restructured the Slovak People’s Party in harmony with Christian corporative principles, Tuka and Mach radicalized Slovak policy toward the Jews. With the shift in power to Tuka and the anti-Semites, Jews were banned from living in streets named after Hitler. In September 1941, the Jewish Code required that Jews wear the yellow star, annulled all debts owed to Jews, confiscated Jewish property, and expelled Jews from Bratislava, the Slovak capital. Twenty thousand Jews were to be deported under the German resettlement scheme, for which the Slovak government was to pay five hundred Reichsmark per deportee. The deported Slovak Jews were later to build the first gas chamber at Auschwitz. SS Hauptsturmführer, Josef Mengele  infamous for performing human experiments on camp inmates in Auschwitz, including children, for which Mengele was called the “Angel of Death”. In July 1942, however, Tuka summoned SS Obergruppenführer, Dieter Wisliceny
 , an adviser on Jewish affairs, and asked for an explanation regarding the fate of the Jewish families sent to Poland. He was particularly concerned about those who had converted to Christianity, and requested permission for a Slovak commission to travel to the areas occupied by the Jews in order to ascertain their well-being. This outburst of concern on Tuka’s behalf had largely been caused by the diplomatic activities of the Papal Nuncio, Monsignore Giuseppe Burzio, he died in 1966, age 64.Giuseppe Burzio 1901-1966 Despite enthusiastic support by Tuka and the radicals, the Nazis began to realize that they would never be able to completely “Nazify” Slovakia. Thus support for Tuka waned and the Nazis reluctantly gradually accepted acts of Slovak independence such as the suspension of Jewish deportations.

Death and burial ground of Tuka, Vojtech Lazar “Béla”.

  After World War II, following a brief trial, Vojtech Tuka was executed on 20-08-1946, age 66, despite having already suffered a quadruple stroke, which left him disabled in a wheelchair. Tuka is buried on the cemetery of Martinsky, Cintori.
CIMG2467 (2)    


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