Article by Peter Werner, President of the B'nai B'rith Tolerancia Lodge, Bratislava

rabbi shatam sofer memorial

In the framework of the European Day of Jewish Heritage, B'nai B'rith Lodge Tolerance has continued its tradition of opening doors of the world-famous rabbi Chatam Sofer Memorial to a wide public. The memorial is located at the site of the first Jewish cemetery in Bratislava and the original tomb of Chatam Sofer which survived the removal of a large part of the cemetery during WWII. Another site opened on this occasion was the orthodox synagogue of Bratislava and the Bratislava Community Museum presenting the history of the Bratislava Jewish community in the women's gallery of the synagogue. This year, the exposition has been added a photo exhibition "WE ARE HERE" illustrating the events of the latest history of the community after the 1989 Velvet Revolution. The well deserved attention paid to the lectures on outstanding representatives of the Jewish community in the most recent history of Slovakia - Chaviva Reik and Gisi Fleischmann mirrors the spirit of the motto of this year´s EDJH. Chaviva Reik was born in Slovakia, she later emigrated to Palestine where she was trained and returned as a paratrooper to Slovakia to take part in the Slovak National Uprising fighting against fascism during WWII. The Nazis captured Chaviva Reik and murdered her. Gisi Fleischmann was a leading figure in the so-called Working Group which during WWII sought not only saving Jews of Slovakia from deportation but tried to prevent deportations of Jews from other European countries through their contacts with Jewish representatives in Hungary, Switzerland, Turkey, the Joint Distribution Committee as well as other Jewish organizations and movements. Gisi Fleischmann was deported from Slovakia on one of the last transports to Auschwitz where she died.