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Author(s): Salner, Peter
Date: 2020
Abstract: This study discusses anti-Semitism in Slovakia after the Velvet Revolution of 1989. The introductory section presents an overview of the most destructive manifestations of anti-Semitism during 1918-1920, the Holocaust, and the Communist era (1948-1989). Anti-Semitism in Slovakia is less aggressive than in many other countries of the European Union. Physical violence is especially rare, and even the defacement of Jewish sites (particularly cemeteries) is typically motivated by vandalism, rather than by anti-Semitism. The most frequent expression of prejudice against Jews takes the form of verbal insults. These are predominantly used by children, who hear them from their families. Children (and adults) generally view these words as a regular part of the language culture and do not attribute a pejorative context to them. Between 1990 and 2019, anti-Semitism became embedded in the ideological equipment of certain political parties. In the process, it has moved from the margins of society to its center. Although I have examined different aspects of anti-Semitism in Slovakia in the past,2 it was only while writing this study that I could more thoroughly consider the various manifestations of this phenomenon in the current democratic milieu. Jews in Slovakia3 welcomed the Velvet Revolution of 1989 with the hope that it would usher in a brighter future. At the same time, some members of the community—especially the older generation—voiced concerns that the newfound freedom of expression would once again allow people to fulfill the adage that every change is a change for the worse. The history of Slovakia in the 20th century provides at least three examples which affirm this unfortunate Jewish experience.