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