Quality of life

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10 Comments

    1. B — See here:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_slovak_republic
      Or more specific to holocaust:
      ~~ FROM http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_slovak_republic#The_Slovak_Republic_and_the_Holocaust ~~
      ~

      The Slovak Republic was one of the countries to agree to deport its Jews as part of the Nazi Final Solution. Originally, the Slovak government tried to make a deal with Germany in October 1941 to deport its Jews as a substitute for providing Slovak workers to help the war effort. After the Wannsee Conference, the Germans agreed to the Slovak proposal, and a deal was reached where the Slovak Republic would pay for each Jew deported, and, in return, Germany promised that the Jews would never return to the republic. The initial terms were for “20,000 young, strong Jews”, but the Slovak government quickly agreed to a German proposal to deport the entire population for “evacuation to territories in the East”. The only member of the Slovak Parliament who voted against expelling the Jews was János Esterházy.

      ~
      But let’s not just believe Wikipedia… Rabbit will post more stories.

  1. It’s true. Plus, the mass postwar deportations of Germans and Hungarians, coupled with attempts to hide and/or assimilate the Roma, all had the deeply unfortunate result of turning Slovakia into a pretty culturally/ethnically homogenous country. Today there are fewer than 500 Jews currently living in Bratislava (at least that are registered as residents). For me, coming from San Francisco, the lack of diversity is pretty glaring. But I’m optimistic about Bratislava becoming more diverse with time. Give it a few decades and I think it’ll start to catch up with some of its more diverse neighbors.

  2. Obviously one can think of this and what happened to the Jews and later to mostly Germans and some Hungarians. Though with the Hungarians it was actually mostly about an argument between the governments of Czechoslovakia and Hungary about an exchange of population (still doesn´t change the fact that tens of thousands of people were forced from their homes and that the Hungarians posession in Czechoslovakia was way bigger than the posession that the Slovaks who came from Hungary had there). But then one can also think about how the Western powers threw Czechoslovakia first to Hitler in order to avoid war (how “greatly” did that work out) and then to Stalin after WWII and consider where the two countries could have been today if none of it happened. Doesn´t make what happened during WWII and afterwards right of course. But can´t do anything about it right now and can´t undo any of these historic wrongs. But which nation in the world doesn´t have any bloody history in their past? Should white Americans now think about all the slaves that once suffered in the US or all the people who were victims of segregation in the Southern states, not even talking about the fate that met the Native Americans, each time they have a little fun?
    As for your remark about the Roma, Jeff, I´m sorry but that just sounds like a kinda arrogant Westerner who says things without knowing about them fully, the Roma in Slovakia and other CEE countries are a complex and complicated issue and anyone who claims that it is about the poor poor good Romas who are just the victims of racism from the bad bad white people is just as wrong as anyone who claims that everything is just the Romas fault.
    As for Slovakia being homogenous and then mentioning that we´ll “catch up” to our more diverse neighbours sounds kinda hilarious considering that despite everything Slovakia is still the most ethnically heteregoneous country from our neighbours (not counting Austria but that´s a different story as they have a history of belonging to the Western world therefore meaning lots of modern immigrants). Sure, Prague or Budapest might have more of these moder-day immigrants, but overally both Czech republic and Hungary are very homogenous countries (the biggest national minority in CZE are Slovaks, in Hungary the historical national minorities exist more on paper than in reality), , population of Poland is formed by 96,5% of ethnic Poles, Ukraine is made up of 95% of Ukrainians and Russians (though they don´t acknowledge the existence of the Russyns). Compared to that according to the last population census there was just 80% of ethnic Slovaks in Slovakia (though that was also because 7% of people didn´t claim any ethnicity, so the real number is probably closer to 85 than 80, but still much more heterogenous than those neighbours that we have to catch up to. All the countries in this region used to be heterogenous once upon a time, but this region became a toy in the hands of much bigger actors during the cruelest conflicts in the world´s history. I would think that it would be kinda obvious that Slovakia isn´t heteregoneous in the sense that countries like USA or Canada, which were basically created by immigrants from all over the world. But it is heteregoneous enough when compared to it´s neighbours (though obviously after 1000 years of life together there won´t be as many differences between Slovaks and Hungarians as there might be between other ethnic groups).

      1. I hear always that SK has highest per capita Roma population of any EU nation. (Has anyone found that data on EuroStat yet?) Intense population movement & mixing over the centuries in such a central location leads to fundamentally different racial constructions of “white” and “black” and so on — and of course rabbit is trying to tell subjective story of exploration & discovery rather than statistical analysis… So STAY TUNED, this is ALL rich material that will come up in future posts!
        ~
        ALSO… Yes, rabbit is EXTREMELY AWARE when viewing Slovak genocide memorials (SEE ABOVE COMMENT LINK) that back in NH, USA, within a few miles of rabbit’s house, we can find multiple granite memorial stones commemorating “FIRST WHITE BABY BORN IN TOWN OF H_______” but ZERO civic memorials of any kind to native populations who lived there before European colonization. This awareness makes rabbit sensitive to idea of graveyards and monuments.

  3. I think it’s really great to have this dialogue. The Roma situation is a lot more complicated than it seems at first. I appreciate Rabbit’s approach in trying to understand the whole picture, starting from a very naturally outraged American’s perspective.

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