Obituary: Pavol Carnogursky
Monday 25 January 1993
PAVOL CARNOGURSKY was a leading Slovak politician whose life mirrored the changing fortunes of the Slovak nation during the 20th century.
As an anti-Communist and devout Catholic, Carnogursky was harassed by the post-war Communist regime as an alleged Fascist sympathiser for his role in the independent Slovak republic established under Nazi tutelage during the Second World War. Carnogursky saw the close link between his nationalism and his faith, describing the Church as 'that historical force which created Catholic Slovakia with all its spiritual, moral and cultural riches'.
Carnogursky was born in Mala Frankova, a village near Poprad in the Habsburg Empire, in 1908. He trained as a teacher, but became an MP in the Slovak parliament in 1938, belonging to the moderate wing of the Slovak People's Party. He served for a time in the party's armed militia, but was expelled for anti-German activity before it fought alongside the Nazis. He remained an MP during the whole of the independent republic, even when parliament introduced controversial Nazi-inspired racial laws. Carnogursky abstained during the vote. Such legislation culminated in the deportation of almost the entire Jewish population of Slovakia to Nazi death camps in 1942. For that the suspended Catholic priest Josef Tiso, who headed the independent Slovak state, was executed after the war. Following the Slovak Uprising of 1944, Carnogursky left Bratislava for his home village.
After the May 1946 elections in Slovakia, where the Communists did badly, an operation directed from Prague was mounted to facilitate the Communist takeover. The secret police rounded up leading Slovak politicians who opposed Communist rule. Carnogursky was one of many arrested and interrogated. The secret police were particularly interested in plans made in spring 1946 to found a clerical Catholic party, hoping to use such a party to divide the anti-Communist vote, Carnogursky was eventually charged with wartime collaboration and imprisoned for two years. On release he was banned from working as a teacher.
Carnogursky continued to protest at Communist rule, particularly state oppression directed at the Catholic Church. In 1976 he was imprisoned again after writing to the few remaining Slovak bishops to condemn what he saw as the state's attempts to 'exterminate' the Church. He later became involved in the increasingly bold underground Catholic Church, which defied the state's restrictions. The Communist regime recognised him and, later, his son Jan as leading instigators of the underground Church and the growing Slovak national movement, and directed press campaigns against father and son, vilifying them as 'clerical fascists'. The secret police scoured the files for evidence of Nazi collaboration to use to discredit Pavol. Both had to endure interrogations and house searches.
After the Velvet Revolution of 1989 removed the old regime in Prague and Bratislava, Pavol had the joy of seeing his son Jan become federal deputy prime minister in Prague, then Slovak prime minister in Bratislava. This joy was short-lived as the Carnogurskys' brand of nationalism was overtaken by that of Vladimir Meciar and the former Communists.
- 1 Which country would be hardest to invade?
- 2 The man who filmed the Freddie Gray video has been arrested at gunpoint
- 4 Floyd Mayweather's mouthguard costs $25,000 - enough to fly to Las Vegas and back 18 times
- 5 Royal baby girl born: Duchess of Cambridge's second child will be a princess thanks to Queen
Which country would be hardest to invade?
Morgan Freeman on the riot-focused coverage of the Baltimore protests: 'F**k the media'
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
The man who filmed the Freddie Gray video has been arrested at gunpoint
Nepal earthquake: Many survivors receiving no help despite relief effort
Over 50,000 families shipped out of London boroughs in the past three years due to welfare cuts and soaring rents
EU asylum policy is 'a direct threat to our civilisation', says Nigel Farage
Indonesia executions live: 'Hysterical' families heard prisoners being shot dead by firing squad
General Election 2015: SNP and its activists 'openly racist' towards the English, Farage says
EU exit would hit UK economy much harder than neighbouring countries, study finds
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
£36000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Manager Shared Services - Uxbridge, Stock...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join one of...
£18000 - £20000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Assistant (Events busi...