Opening of the exhibition at the Bergen-Belsen Memorial on October 16, 2018 with the survivors Pavel Kucera (1st from the left) and Dr. Yvonne Koch (center) and S.E. Dr. Peter Lizák, Ambassador of the Slovak Republic in Berlin (4th from the right), the Lower Saxony Minister of Culture Grant Hendrik Tonne (3rd from the right) and Michael Fürst, Chairman of the National Association of the Jewish Communities of Lower Saxony (1st from right)
Opening of the exhibition at the Bergen-Belsen Memorial on October 16, 2018. Guided tour of the exhibition by Dr. Thomas Rahe, scientific director of the memorial
Opening of the exhibition at the Bergen-Belsen Memorial on October 16, 2018. The Slovak survivor of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, Dr. Yvonne Koch
Opening of the exhibition at the Bergen-Belsen Memorial on October 16, 2018. The Slovak survivor of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, Pavel Kucera

“Long live our just cause!” The Slovak National Uprising, 29 August to 27 October 1944

Opening of the special exhibition of the German Resistance Memorial Centre in cooperation with the Institute of History at the Slovak Academy of Sciences

The Slovak National Uprising began in late August of 1944 and was one of the biggest insurgencies against National Socialist rule in Europe. In the last months of World War II, a series of insurgencies broke out all over the continent in an effort to fight the German occupation forces and the collaborationist regimes. The Slovak uprising was planned in agreement with and received support from the Soviet Union, the United States, and Great Britain.

It was directed against the collaborationist, authoritarian, and extremely anti-Semitic Slovak government. The united resistance groups that organized the nationwide armed insurgency included democrats, communists, and partisans, as well as soldiers and officers unwilling to fight alongside the German army.

The Slovak National Uprising emerged through the cooperation of all these groups and the endorsement of the Czechoslovak government in exile. It involved tens of thousands of people willing to fight against the German forces that invaded Slovakia in order to quell the resistance movement. The leaders of the resistance overcame their ideological differences in order to work toward common goals: the liberation of Slovakia and the restoration of a state in which a democratic Slovakia and the Czech lands are equal partners.

The insurgents were defeated by the German forces in late October of 1944. However, the Slovak partisans continued fighting until Slovakia is liberated in April 1945. The uprising significantly changed the image of Slovakia from an obedient German vassal to a recognized member of the anti-Hitler coalition. It demonstrated that tens of thousands of Slovaks preferred a democratic Czechoslovakia over an authoritarian, collaborationist Slovak state. The history of the Slovak National Uprising became an integral part of the struggle against National Socialist rule in Europe. The uprising created a lasting legacy for Slovakia, upholding the European ethos of humanism, democracy, and solidarity in the struggle for freedom.

The exhibition had been on display from 17 October to 16 December 2018. A book to accompany the exhibition will be available to purchase on site.

Location: Bergen-Belsen Memorial, Forum