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Slovak village votes to keep sign honouring fascist leader

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Image source, Getty Images

Local council members in the Slovak village of Varin have rejected a request from state prosecutors to rename the country’s sole street sign honouring Slovakia’s wartime fascist leader, Monsignor Jozef Tiso.

Only one councillor voted in favour of the proposal – the rest voted against.

The matter could now go to court, while the council wants to put the matter to local residents in a referendum.

The village – in the Zilina region – bears a street named “Tisova”.

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Earlier this year, activists tore down the street sign in what was the latest instalment in a long-running saga.

Last year council members were charged under the country’s anti-extremism laws after refusing to rename the street but the charges were later quashed by a special prosecutor.

Tiso led the clero-fascist Slovak State, a client state of Nazi Germany, between 1939 and 1945.

He was arrested in 1945 and hanged by the Czechoslovak authorities as a war criminal in 1947. He is venerated as a hero by the far right and some Catholic clerics.

Under his rule, some 70,000 of 90,000 Jews living in the territory of Slovakia – including all 25 of Varin’s Jewish families – were deported and murdered in the Holocaust.

Slovakia was the only country in wartime Europe that paid Nazi Germany to take its Jewish citizens.

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