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Open letter to Jim Downs

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  • Gil K.
    Dear Jim Downs, I have just finished reading your book, “World War II: OSS Tragedy in Slovakia” and want to tell you that I thoroughly enjoyed it.
    Message 1 of 7 , Oct 9, 2003
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      Dear Jim Downs,



      I have just finished reading your book, �World War II: OSS Tragedy in Slovakia� and want to tell you that I thoroughly enjoyed it.



      Although I have reviewed several fascinating books about World War II, yours is the first I have read about the OSS and British SOE operations in the European theater of operations. I truly appreciate your effort in reporting on this little known story of the Allied efforts in Slovakia.



      The locations in Slovakia where the operations took place were of particular interest to me since several were home to my ancestors. Of special interest were the villages of Banska Bystrica, Zvolen, Jasenie, Brezno, and Polomka. I currently communicate with relatives still living in Banska Bystrica, Zvolen and Jasenie.



      Thanks again for your significant effort in writing and publishing this book.



      Regards,



      Gil Kubancsek



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    • Frank
      ... in Slovakia and want to tell you that I thoroughly enjoyed it. ... II, yours is the first I have read about the OSS and British SOE operations in the
      Message 2 of 7 , Oct 10, 2003
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        --- In SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com, "Gil K." <kubangil@y...> wrote:
        >
        > Dear Jim Downs,
        >
        >
        >
        > I have just finished reading your book, "World War II: OSS Tragedy
        in Slovakia" and want to tell you that I thoroughly enjoyed it.
        >
        >
        >
        > Although I have reviewed several fascinating books about World War
        II, yours is the first I have read about the OSS and British SOE
        operations in the European theater of operations. I truly appreciate
        your effort in reporting on this little known story of the Allied
        efforts in Slovakia.
        >
        >
        >
        > The locations in Slovakia where the operations took place were of
        particular interest to me since several were home to my ancestors.
        Of special interest were the villages of Banska Bystrica, Zvolen,
        Jasenie, Brezno, and Polomka. I currently communicate with
        relatives still living in Banska Bystrica, Zvolen and Jasenie.
        >
        >
        >
        > Thanks again for your significant effort in writing and publishing
        this book.
        >
        >
        >
        > Regards,
        >
        >
        >
        > Gil Kubancsek
        >


        Gil,


        Re: The Slovak National Uprising at Banská Bystrica 1944.

        A revolt in Slovakia from August 28 - 29 to October 27, 1944. The
        uprising was planned by several
        groups: the Czechoslovak Agrarian party, the right wing of the Social
        Democratic party, the Communist
        party, estranged Slovak nationalists, and a army officers. In late
        December 1943 these groups, except
        for the officers, set up the Slovenska Narodna Rada (Slovak National
        Council; SNR). The primary aim of
        the uprising was to oust the Hlinkova Slovenska Ludova Strana (Slovak
        People's Party of Hlinka; HSLS)
        from power and free the state from its dependence on Nazi Germany. Not
        all the participants shared the
        same long - term goal. Members of the Czechoslovak Communist party and
        the bourgeois "Flora" group
        (which formed around a well - known Slovak politician, Dr. Vavro
        Srobar), aspired to a united
        Czechoslovakia. The Slovak faction of the Communist party advocated
        that Slovakia become a Soviet
        republic. Whereas the Agrarian party wanted to see the emergence of a
        united Czechoslovak republic,
        but with a good deal of Slovak autonomy.

        The uprising was supposed to coincide with an advance by the advanced
        against the rebels on three
        sides and Soviet army. But in the spring of 1944, partisan activity,
        especially under Soviet command,
        was intense. To forestall further partisan gains, on August 28 - 29
        the Germans invaded Slovakia and the
        uprising began. The rebels made significant gains in the early
        fighting. In the area they liberated, a
        Czechoslovak Republic was declared.

        The Germans hoped to suppress the uprising quickly, but the opposition
        proved strong. Late in
        September, SS - Obergruppenfuhrer Gottlob Berger, the chief commander
        of the German forces, was
        replaced by the Hoherer SS. - und Polizeifuhrer (Higher SS and Police
        Leader) SS - Obergruppenfuhrer
        Hermann Hofle. Within a few weeks, Hofle crushed the rebellion. Banska
        Bystrica, the center of the
        uprising, fell on October 27, 1944, thus ending the organized
        struggle. Guerrilla fighting continued in the
        mountains until the spring. The rebellion was weakened not only by
        internal political strife, but by Allied
        reluctance to support it fully.


        Armed underground Jewish cells existed in each of the three Slovak
        labor camps long before the SNR
        was established. Early in 1944 contact was established between them
        and the SNR, and the SNR
        included them in its strategy. For the Jews, an SNR victory could mean
        the rescue of the remaining
        Slovak community. More than 2,000 Jews fought in the uprising, 1,566
        as partisans, and 500 fell in
        battle. The 200 - man Novaky cell under the command of Dr. Imrich
        Muller (Milen), fought as a separate
        unit within the regular army; later most of the men joined the
        partisans.

        After the failed Slovak National Uprising at Banská Bystrica in 1944,
        the Germans executed thousands of Slovaks (including women and
        childen) in reprisal.

        Frank K

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      • Gil K.
        Frank, Thanks for the details on the Slovak uprising at Banská Bystrica in 1944. I had the sense from Jim s book and from other books I read that there were a
        Message 3 of 7 , Oct 10, 2003
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          Frank,

          Thanks for the details on the Slovak uprising at Bansk� Bystrica in 1944.

          I had the sense from Jim's book and from other books I read that there were a number of players and many complexities involved in Slovakia at the time. The information you provided adds significant clarity to my understanding of the situation.

          I appreciate your feedback.

          Regards,

          Gil


          Frank <frankur@...> wrote:
          Gil,


          Re: The Slovak National Uprising at Bansk� Bystrica 1944.

          A revolt in Slovakia from August 28 - 29 to October 27, 1944. The
          uprising was planned by several
          groups: the Czechoslovak Agrarian party, the right wing of the Social
          Democratic party, the Communist
          party, estranged Slovak nationalists, and a army officers. In late
          December 1943 these groups, except
          for the officers, set up the Slovenska Narodna Rada (Slovak National
          Council; SNR). The primary aim of
          the uprising was to oust the Hlinkova Slovenska Ludova Strana (Slovak
          People's Party of Hlinka; HSLS)
          from power and free the state from its dependence on Nazi Germany. Not
          all the participants shared the
          same long - term goal. Members of the Czechoslovak Communist party and
          the bourgeois "Flora" group
          (which formed around a well - known Slovak politician, Dr. Vavro
          Srobar), aspired to a united
          Czechoslovakia. The Slovak faction of the Communist party advocated
          that Slovakia become a Soviet
          republic. Whereas the Agrarian party wanted to see the emergence of a
          united Czechoslovak republic,
          but with a good deal of Slovak autonomy.

          The uprising was supposed to coincide with an advance by the advanced
          against the rebels on three
          sides and Soviet army. But in the spring of 1944, partisan activity,
          especially under Soviet command,
          was intense. To forestall further partisan gains, on August 28 - 29
          the Germans invaded Slovakia and the
          uprising began. The rebels made significant gains in the early
          fighting. In the area they liberated, a
          Czechoslovak Republic was declared.

          The Germans hoped to suppress the uprising quickly, but the opposition
          proved strong. Late in
          September, SS - Obergruppenfuhrer Gottlob Berger, the chief commander
          of the German forces, was
          replaced by the Hoherer SS. - und Polizeifuhrer (Higher SS and Police
          Leader) SS - Obergruppenfuhrer
          Hermann Hofle. Within a few weeks, Hofle crushed the rebellion. Banska
          Bystrica, the center of the
          uprising, fell on October 27, 1944, thus ending the organized
          struggle. Guerrilla fighting continued in the
          mountains until the spring. The rebellion was weakened not only by
          internal political strife, but by Allied
          reluctance to support it fully.


          Armed underground Jewish cells existed in each of the three Slovak
          labor camps long before the SNR
          was established. Early in 1944 contact was established between them
          and the SNR, and the SNR
          included them in its strategy. For the Jews, an SNR victory could mean
          the rescue of the remaining
          Slovak community. More than 2,000 Jews fought in the uprising, 1,566
          as partisans, and 500 fell in
          battle. The 200 - man Novaky cell under the command of Dr. Imrich
          Muller (Milen), fought as a separate
          unit within the regular army; later most of the men joined the
          partisans.

          After the failed Slovak National Uprising at Bansk� Bystrica in 1944,
          the Germans executed thousands of Slovaks (including women and
          childen) in reprisal.

          Frank K

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        • Thomas Reimer
          You might note that the partisans had executed several thousand Carpathian Germans (about 2000, incl. women), plus Slovaks as well. This does not excuse the
          Message 4 of 7 , Oct 10, 2003
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            You might note that the partisans had executed several thousand Carpathian
            Germans (about 2000, incl. women), plus Slovaks as well. This does not
            excuse the rather indiscriminate vengeance taken by German and SLOVAK units
            after the uprising, but one needs to know that the uprisers had committed
            atrocities before that.

            Thomas Reimer

            ----- Original Message -----
            From: "Gil K." <kubangil@...>
            To: <SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com>
            Sent: Friday, October 10, 2003 10:41 PM
            Subject: Re: [S-R] Re: Open letter to Jim Downs


            Frank,

            Thanks for the details on the Slovak uprising at Banská Bystrica in 1944.

            I had the sense from Jim's book and from other books I read that there were
            a number of players and many complexities involved in Slovakia at the time.
            The information you provided adds significant clarity to my understanding of
            the situation.

            I appreciate your feedback.

            Regards,

            Gil


            Frank <frankur@...> wrote:
            Gil,


            Re: The Slovak National Uprising at Banská Bystrica 1944.

            A revolt in Slovakia from August 28 - 29 to October 27, 1944. The
            uprising was planned by several
            groups: the Czechoslovak Agrarian party, the right wing of the Social
            Democratic party, the Communist
            party, estranged Slovak nationalists, and a army officers. In late
            December 1943 these groups, except
            for the officers, set up the Slovenska Narodna Rada (Slovak National
            Council; SNR). The primary aim of
            the uprising was to oust the Hlinkova Slovenska Ludova Strana (Slovak
            People's Party of Hlinka; HSLS)
            from power and free the state from its dependence on Nazi Germany. Not
            all the participants shared the
            same long - term goal. Members of the Czechoslovak Communist party and
            the bourgeois "Flora" group
            (which formed around a well - known Slovak politician, Dr. Vavro
            Srobar), aspired to a united
            Czechoslovakia. The Slovak faction of the Communist party advocated
            that Slovakia become a Soviet
            republic. Whereas the Agrarian party wanted to see the emergence of a
            united Czechoslovak republic,
            but with a good deal of Slovak autonomy.

            The uprising was supposed to coincide with an advance by the advanced
            against the rebels on three
            sides and Soviet army. But in the spring of 1944, partisan activity,
            especially under Soviet command,
            was intense. To forestall further partisan gains, on August 28 - 29
            the Germans invaded Slovakia and the
            uprising began. The rebels made significant gains in the early
            fighting. In the area they liberated, a
            Czechoslovak Republic was declared.

            The Germans hoped to suppress the uprising quickly, but the opposition
            proved strong. Late in
            September, SS - Obergruppenfuhrer Gottlob Berger, the chief commander
            of the German forces, was
            replaced by the Hoherer SS. - und Polizeifuhrer (Higher SS and Police
            Leader) SS - Obergruppenfuhrer
            Hermann Hofle. Within a few weeks, Hofle crushed the rebellion. Banska
            Bystrica, the center of the
            uprising, fell on October 27, 1944, thus ending the organized
            struggle. Guerrilla fighting continued in the
            mountains until the spring. The rebellion was weakened not only by
            internal political strife, but by Allied
            reluctance to support it fully.


            Armed underground Jewish cells existed in each of the three Slovak
            labor camps long before the SNR
            was established. Early in 1944 contact was established between them
            and the SNR, and the SNR
            included them in its strategy. For the Jews, an SNR victory could mean
            the rescue of the remaining
            Slovak community. More than 2,000 Jews fought in the uprising, 1,566
            as partisans, and 500 fell in
            battle. The 200 - man Novaky cell under the command of Dr. Imrich
            Muller (Milen), fought as a separate
            unit within the regular army; later most of the men joined the
            partisans.

            After the failed Slovak National Uprising at Banská Bystrica in 1944,
            the Germans executed thousands of Slovaks (including women and
            childen) in reprisal.

            Frank K

            > ---------------------------------
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            > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


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          • Thomas Reimer
            You might note that the partisans had executed several thousand Carpathian Germans (about 2000, incl. women), plus Slovaks as well. This does not excuse the
            Message 5 of 7 , Oct 10, 2003
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              You might note that the partisans had executed several thousand Carpathian
              Germans (about 2000, incl. women), plus Slovaks as well. This does not
              excuse the rather indiscriminate vengeance taken by German and SLOVAK units
              after the uprising, but one needs to know that the uprisers had committed
              atrocities before that.

              Thomas Reimer

              ----- Original Message -----
              From: "Gil K." <kubangil@...>
              To: <SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com>
              Sent: Friday, October 10, 2003 10:41 PM
              Subject: Re: [S-R] Re: Open letter to Jim Downs


              Frank,

              Thanks for the details on the Slovak uprising at Banská Bystrica in 1944.

              I had the sense from Jim's book and from other books I read that there were
              a number of players and many complexities involved in Slovakia at the time.
              The information you provided adds significant clarity to my understanding of
              the situation.

              I appreciate your feedback.

              Regards,

              Gil


              Frank <frankur@...> wrote:
              Gil,


              Re: The Slovak National Uprising at Banská Bystrica 1944.

              A revolt in Slovakia from August 28 - 29 to October 27, 1944. The
              uprising was planned by several
              groups: the Czechoslovak Agrarian party, the right wing of the Social
              Democratic party, the Communist
              party, estranged Slovak nationalists, and a army officers. In late
              December 1943 these groups, except
              for the officers, set up the Slovenska Narodna Rada (Slovak National
              Council; SNR). The primary aim of
              the uprising was to oust the Hlinkova Slovenska Ludova Strana (Slovak
              People's Party of Hlinka; HSLS)
              from power and free the state from its dependence on Nazi Germany. Not
              all the participants shared the
              same long - term goal. Members of the Czechoslovak Communist party and
              the bourgeois "Flora" group
              (which formed around a well - known Slovak politician, Dr. Vavro
              Srobar), aspired to a united
              Czechoslovakia. The Slovak faction of the Communist party advocated
              that Slovakia become a Soviet
              republic. Whereas the Agrarian party wanted to see the emergence of a
              united Czechoslovak republic,
              but with a good deal of Slovak autonomy.

              The uprising was supposed to coincide with an advance by the advanced
              against the rebels on three
              sides and Soviet army. But in the spring of 1944, partisan activity,
              especially under Soviet command,
              was intense. To forestall further partisan gains, on August 28 - 29
              the Germans invaded Slovakia and the
              uprising began. The rebels made significant gains in the early
              fighting. In the area they liberated, a
              Czechoslovak Republic was declared.

              The Germans hoped to suppress the uprising quickly, but the opposition
              proved strong. Late in
              September, SS - Obergruppenfuhrer Gottlob Berger, the chief commander
              of the German forces, was
              replaced by the Hoherer SS. - und Polizeifuhrer (Higher SS and Police
              Leader) SS - Obergruppenfuhrer
              Hermann Hofle. Within a few weeks, Hofle crushed the rebellion. Banska
              Bystrica, the center of the
              uprising, fell on October 27, 1944, thus ending the organized
              struggle. Guerrilla fighting continued in the
              mountains until the spring. The rebellion was weakened not only by
              internal political strife, but by Allied
              reluctance to support it fully.


              Armed underground Jewish cells existed in each of the three Slovak
              labor camps long before the SNR
              was established. Early in 1944 contact was established between them
              and the SNR, and the SNR
              included them in its strategy. For the Jews, an SNR victory could mean
              the rescue of the remaining
              Slovak community. More than 2,000 Jews fought in the uprising, 1,566
              as partisans, and 500 fell in
              battle. The 200 - man Novaky cell under the command of Dr. Imrich
              Muller (Milen), fought as a separate
              unit within the regular army; later most of the men joined the
              partisans.

              After the failed Slovak National Uprising at Banská Bystrica in 1944,
              the Germans executed thousands of Slovaks (including women and
              childen) in reprisal.

              Frank K

              > ---------------------------------
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              >
              > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


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            • Gil K.
              Thomas, Thanks for your comment and I acknowledge your report on the the execution of the Carpathian Germans and Slovaks. As many have said War is hell and
              Message 6 of 7 , Oct 11, 2003
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                Thomas,

                Thanks for your comment and I acknowledge your report on the the execution of the Carpathian Germans and Slovaks.

                As many have said "War is hell" and atrocities are synomous with war, and human reactions to threats of others

                How can one forget the atrocities that occurred during the rape of Nanking by the Japanese, the genocide of the Jews in Europe, Joe Stalin's annihillation of 20 million of his own people, Pol Pot's slaughter of the Cambodians, and the massacre at My Lai by American troops in Vietnam.

                There are many more examples of atrocities throughout the years and are not representative of civilized behavior.

                Gil Kubancsek


                Thomas Reimer <treimer@...> wrote:
                You might note that the partisans had executed several thousand Carpathian
                Germans (about 2000, incl. women), plus Slovaks as well. This does not
                excuse the rather indiscriminate vengeance taken by German and SLOVAK units
                after the uprising, but one needs to know that the uprisers had committed
                atrocities before that.

                Thomas Reimer










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              • Frank
                ... Carpathian ... not ... SLOVAK units ... committed ... Dr. Reimer, (Believe that is correct) The Carpathian Germans were a small group of Germans living in
                Message 7 of 7 , Oct 11, 2003
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                  --- In SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com, "Thomas Reimer" <treimer@n...>
                  wrote:
                  > You might note that the partisans had executed several thousand
                  Carpathian
                  > Germans (about 2000, incl. women), plus Slovaks as well. This does
                  not
                  > excuse the rather indiscriminate vengeance taken by German and
                  SLOVAK units
                  > after the uprising, but one needs to know that the uprisers had
                  committed
                  > atrocities before that.
                  >
                  > Thomas Reimer

                  Dr. Reimer,
                  (Believe that is correct)

                  The Carpathian Germans were a small group of Germans living in the
                  territory of today's Slovakia from the 12th century to 1945,
                  who suffered 'genocide'.

                  This was not an atrocity performed by the Slovak people, but the work
                  of Czech Communists like Eduard Benes on orders of Uncle Joe Stalin.
                  Just like the euphemistic 'odsun' (transfer) and 'ethnic cleansing'
                  of Germans in post-WW II Czechoslovakia.

                  Just like the killing by the Communist Yugoslav secret police of the
                  pro-German Croatian Army (including their women and children) which
                  had surrendered to the British forces in Bleiburg, Austria in 1945.

                  Just like the expulsion and execution of the Donauschwaben in
                  Yugoslavia by the same Communists under Marshal Tito after WW II.

                  For political reasons the British and Americans had acquiesced to
                  all these events.

                  In 1948, the Communists took control of the Czechoslovakia government
                  due again to the politicians.
                  The Czechs had voted 2 to 1 for Communism and the Slovaks voted
                  2 to 1 for Democracy . Since there were more Czechs, the Communists
                  won the elections and the country got 45 years of Communist rule until
                  the "velvet revolution" in 1993.

                  I fought in the US Army in Europe during WW II.
                  My military unit had crossed the Czechoslovakia border on 2 May 45.
                  WW II was over in Europe on 8 May 45.
                  After the Praha Uprising, the Soviet Army entered the city on 9 May
                  45.
                  I still had to fight against the NKs and Chinese Communists in Korea
                  (1950-1952)

                  Frank K
                  >
                  > ----- Original Message -----
                  > From: "Gil K." <kubangil@y...>
                  > To: <SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com>
                  > Sent: Friday, October 10, 2003 10:41 PM
                  > Subject: Re: [S-R] Re: Open letter to Jim Downs
                  >
                  >
                  > Frank,
                  >
                  > Thanks for the details on the Slovak uprising at Banská Bystrica in
                  1944.
                  >
                  > I had the sense from Jim's book and from other books I read that
                  there were
                  > a number of players and many complexities involved in Slovakia at
                  the time.
                  > The information you provided adds significant clarity to my
                  understanding of
                  > the situation.
                  >
                  > I appreciate your feedback.
                  >
                  > Regards,
                  >
                  > Gil
                  >
                  >
                  > Frank <frankur@w...> wrote:
                  > Gil,
                  >
                  >
                  > Re: The Slovak National Uprising at Banská Bystrica 1944.
                  >
                  > A revolt in Slovakia from August 28 - 29 to October 27, 1944. The
                  > uprising was planned by several
                  > groups: the Czechoslovak Agrarian party, the right wing of the
                  Social
                  > Democratic party, the Communist
                  > party, estranged Slovak nationalists, and a army officers. In late
                  > December 1943 these groups, except
                  > for the officers, set up the Slovenska Narodna Rada (Slovak National
                  > Council; SNR). The primary aim of
                  > the uprising was to oust the Hlinkova Slovenska Ludova Strana
                  (Slovak
                  > People's Party of Hlinka; HSLS)
                  > from power and free the state from its dependence on Nazi Germany.
                  Not
                  > all the participants shared the
                  > same long - term goal. Members of the Czechoslovak Communist party
                  and
                  > the bourgeois "Flora" group
                  > (which formed around a well - known Slovak politician, Dr. Vavro
                  > Srobar), aspired to a united
                  > Czechoslovakia. The Slovak faction of the Communist party advocated
                  > that Slovakia become a Soviet
                  > republic. Whereas the Agrarian party wanted to see the emergence of
                  a
                  > united Czechoslovak republic,
                  > but with a good deal of Slovak autonomy.
                  >
                  > The uprising was supposed to coincide with an advance by the
                  advanced
                  > against the rebels on three
                  > sides and Soviet army. But in the spring of 1944, partisan activity,
                  > especially under Soviet command,
                  > was intense. To forestall further partisan gains, on August 28 - 29
                  > the Germans invaded Slovakia and the
                  > uprising began. The rebels made significant gains in the early
                  > fighting. In the area they liberated, a
                  > Czechoslovak Republic was declared.
                  >
                  > The Germans hoped to suppress the uprising quickly, but the
                  opposition
                  > proved strong. Late in
                  > September, SS - Obergruppenfuhrer Gottlob Berger, the chief
                  commander
                  > of the German forces, was
                  > replaced by the Hoherer SS. - und Polizeifuhrer (Higher SS and
                  Police
                  > Leader) SS - Obergruppenfuhrer
                  > Hermann Hofle. Within a few weeks, Hofle crushed the rebellion.
                  Banska
                  > Bystrica, the center of the
                  > uprising, fell on October 27, 1944, thus ending the organized
                  > struggle. Guerrilla fighting continued in the
                  > mountains until the spring. The rebellion was weakened not only by
                  > internal political strife, but by Allied
                  > reluctance to support it fully.
                  >
                  >
                  > Armed underground Jewish cells existed in each of the three Slovak
                  > labor camps long before the SNR
                  > was established. Early in 1944 contact was established between them
                  > and the SNR, and the SNR
                  > included them in its strategy. For the Jews, an SNR victory could
                  mean
                  > the rescue of the remaining
                  > Slovak community. More than 2,000 Jews fought in the uprising, 1,566
                  > as partisans, and 500 fell in
                  > battle. The 200 - man Novaky cell under the command of Dr. Imrich
                  > Muller (Milen), fought as a separate
                  > unit within the regular army; later most of the men joined the
                  > partisans.
                  >
                  > After the failed Slovak National Uprising at Banská Bystrica in
                  1944,
                  > the Germans executed thousands of Slovaks (including women and
                  > childen) in reprisal.
                  >
                  > Frank K
                  >
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