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Oral history interview with Ján Smarža

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

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    Oral history interview with Ján Smarža


    Interview Summary
    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.
    Ján Smarža
    Eva Riečanská
    interview:  2016 February 08
    creation: Liptovský Mikuláš (Slovakia)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, courtesy of the Jeff and Toby Herr Foundation

    Physical Details

    1 digital file : MPEG-4.

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    There are no known restrictions on access to this material.
    Conditions on Use
    No restrictions on use

    Keywords & Subjects

    Personal Name
    Smarža, Ján, 1927-

    Administrative Notes

    This is a witness interview of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum's Perpetrators, Collaborators, and Witnesses: The Jeff and Toby Herr Testimony Initiative, a multi-year project to record the testimonies of non-Jewish witnesses to the Holocaust. The interview was directed and supervised by Nathan Beyrak.
    Funding Note
    The production of this interview was made possible by Jeff and Toby Herr.
    The cataloging of this oral history interview has been supported by a grant from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.
    Record last modified:
    2023-11-16 09:26:56
    This page:

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