TUKA, VOJTECH° (1880–1946), prime minister of Slovakia during World War II and one of those responsible for the deportations of Slovak Jewry. A professor of law at Pecs and later at Bratislava University, Tuka became secretary of the separatist Slovak People's Party and editor of its publication Slovak after World War I. He adopted a strong anti-Czech line, collaborated with the Hungarian Irredenta movement, and in 1923 established the fascist Rodobrana ("Homeguard"). In 1929 he was found guilty of high treason by a Czechoslovak court. In the pre-Munich days Tuka renewed his activity in the pro-German radical wing of the People's Party led by Hlinka. He became the ideologist of "independent" Slovakia, its prime minister (1939–44) and foreign minister (from 1940). Tuka acted as the moving spirit behind the persecution of the Jews, negotiating with the Germans for the deportations of Slovak Jewry and collaborating fully with Hitler and his officials in the "Final Solution." He opposed intervening against the expulsion of the Slovak Jews. He was condemned to death by the National Tribunal of Bratislava but died before the sentence could be carried out.
J. Lettrich, History of Modern Slovakia (1956), index; L. Rothkirchen, Ḥurban Yahadut Slovakia (1961), index, (incl. Eng. summary); O.J. Neumann, Be-Ẓel ha-Mavet (1958), passim.
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.