Minister Gajdoš pays respects to WWII victims of the burned-out villages of Kľak and Ostrý Grúň

Defence Minister Peter Gajdoš attended a remembrance ceremony at the villages of Kľak and Ostrý Grúň today (20 January), to pay his respects to the memory of the residents of Kľak and Ostrý Grúň who died when, in 1945, the villages were burned down by Nazis. They resorted to perpetrating this act of cruelty in reprisal for local residents helping partisan groups in the Slovak National Uprising (SNP).
 
Remembering the horrors of the Nazi raids on the villages, Defence Minister Peter Gajdoš said: “The so-called ʽBloody Sundayʼ is a painful reminder of the Nazi reprisals that destroyed life at the two villages. Among the 148 victims were elderly people, women and children, with the youngest one only 3 months old.” He continued: “Today the tragedy reminds us that many paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom and peace. And although it may sound as a phrase, the truth is that these values have never been for free, nor are they today.”
 
In 1945, approx. 3,000 SNP partisans were concentrated in the vicinity of Kľak and Ostrý Grúň. They were supported by local villagers who provided them with accommodation, clothing and food, engaged in reconnaissance and gathered intelligence. As a result, the Nazi occupation forces set out to carry out raids on the villages. On 21 January 1945, the German Edelweiss anti-partisan unit stormed into the villages on an extermination mission, killing 64 residents of Ostrý Grúň and 84 residents of Kľak. Memorials were built in tribute to the victims in both villages.

Author: MO SR - KOd, Photo: MO SR - Ivan Kelement - Date: 20.01.2019
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