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Oral history interview with Ján Smarža

Oral History | Accession Number: 2011.438.52 | RG Number: RG-50.688.0052

Ján Smarža, born in 1927 in the village of Výrava in Medzilaborce District, Slovakia, describes his family being Ruthenian and the village’s main religion being Greek Catholic; the several Jewish community members, including a store owner who had a large multifamily house; the rise of the Slovak State in 1939 leading to laws requiring Jewish people to wear yellow stars and separating Jews from other people; how the Ruthenians were not acting as guards because Ruthenians were not Slovak; hearing Hlinka Guards shouting a slogan during a gathering in the nearby town of Medzilaborce when President Jozef Gašpar Tiso was visiting during summer holidays; his father taking him to Medzilaborce to see Tiso (Tiso was a Nazi collaborator while president of Slovakia during World War II); attending middle school in Medzilaborce and seeing guards taking a Jewish family out of their home and to a rail station to put them on train cars; furniture in Jewish families’ homes getting sold off at auctions, and his parents buying a table and two stools that had belonged to the Jewish store owner; handmaking socks and gloves for Germans at the war front; and one of his Jewish classmates from first grade surviving Auschwitz and returning to Výrava to find her home was gone.

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Smarža, Ján
Riečanská, Eva
interview:  2016 February 08
creation: Liptovský Mikuláš (Slovakia)
1 digital file : MPEG-4.
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, courtesy of the Jeff and Toby Herr Foundation
Record last modified: 2022-06-24 20:11:19
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