Slovak Rabbis Ask President to Prevent Deportation of Jews

(March 6, 1942)


His Excellency
President of the Slovakian Republic
Bratislava

In our most profound distress, we the undersigned, rabbis of the Jewish communities of Slovakia, turn to you, Mr. President, the supreme judge and legislator in this country. We have received a terrible report—although it has not yet been confirmed officially—that the relevant ministries intend to expel the Jews—men and women separately—from Slovakia to the eastern provinces.

However this action may be expressed in law in whatever terms, and however it be explained with rationales of whatever kind, the fact remains that, under the existing circumstances, it portends the physical annihilation of the Jews of Slovakia.

In our despair we call on you, Mr. President of the Republic, supreme judge of the state, in confidence that His Honor believes in the Supreme Judge above him. As servants of God, we entreat you submissively, in the most profound distress, to heed the voice of God and, if you please, help us [avert this] exceedingly great disaster.

After all, we are the creatures of one God, and we are answerable to one God. Please pity us and our families, our women and men, our elderly and our children, all of whom together, in distress and in tears, ask God in heaven for assistance. In anticipation of His mercy, they place their fate in your hands.

For years, we—who in our opinion are innocent of crime—have been persecuted under a law that is becoming increasingly brutal. Humbly before God—a humility that we learned in the course of two millennia of afflictions—we have tolerated these assaults against our health and our lives, our dignity and our property, in silence, without outcry. However, never in our millennia of woeful, lachrymose history have we encountered decrees as cruel and unjust as these, such as the of fear summary death, multiplied by 80,000.

Mr. President! Thousands of us wish only to earn their dry bread by the sweat of their brows. They are willing to perform here, in this country, any harsh labor as ordered, but please, Mr. President, let these unfortunates continue to live with their families in their current places of residence.

“Chastise me, O Lord, but in measure; not in Your wrath, lest You reduce me to naught” [Jeremiah 10:24]. Thus we cry, like the Prophet, cry out to God.

Mr. President, priest and servant of God, we beg of you: please heed this outcry, the voice of 80,000 miserables who fear for their lives and for the lives of those dearest to them.

Most respectfully,

A. Frieder, on behalf of the rabbis of Slovakia, Bratislava, March 6, 1942.

Source: L. Rotkirchen, The Destruction of Slovak Jewry, Jerusalem 1961 p.131


Source: Yad Vashem