Prague Radio Speaks of Large Scale Conspiracy and Arrest of Jesuit Leader and too Others
A new wave of terrorism has broken out against Catholics in Slovakia and persecution in that country is rising to a climax.
On Saturday last Prague Radio announced the discovery of a "large-scale conspiracy " aimed at undermining the Czechoslovak constitution; the arrest of the leader, "an international spy," Fr. Kolakovich, S.J., and one hundred other persons.
On Monday Vatican Radio issued a denial of the Czechoslovak Foreign Ministry official's statement that Fr. Kolakovich was in Prague on a mission from the Vatican.
The facts are that since the beginning of February more than one thousand persons from all strata& of society have been rounded up by the Benes Police.
of the Catholic Cen " The Catholic Herald" learns from most reliable sources that Mgr. Yanda, Director tral Bureau, and two of his curates, Fr. Nabhalka and Fr. Galan, a well-known poet and writer, have been arrested. Dr. Bohdan Chudoba, Catholic Actionist, former member of the editorial board of the Catholic paper "Obzory," Delegate to the World Youth Conference in London last year, whose arrest was announced in this paper on January 25, has been re-arrested and with him two members of the Ministry of Commerce.
The report printed below, which is based on facts as known to a reliable eye-witness at present in London, whose credentials are of the highest order, tells how two Bishops have been ordered to 'stop writing to Slovaks in America, and to forbid the wearing of the Cross, under pain of re-imprisonment.
By a Slovak Correspondent
Last Saturday Prague Radio, controlled by Kopecky, Czech Communist " Minister " of Propaganda, announced the discovery in Slovakia of a large-scale " conspiracy, aiming at undermining the Czechoslovak Constitution, agitation against the alliance with the Soviet Union, and preparing an armed rising in Slovakia." Prague Radio went on to say that about one hundred persons have been arrested, together with their leader, Fr. Kolakovich, S,J., " an international spy?'
A cruel persecution of Slovak patriots who are against the forcible Inclusion of Slovakia into a much worse version of a new Czechoslovak State, and of Catholics especially, is, and has been, going on relentlessly since the horrible days of " liberation."
And. according to most reliable sources, between 60,000 to 80,000 people, whose only " crime" is that they want freedom and independence for their country, languish in prisons and in concentration camps, where they are being tortured, and even beaten to death.
The two bishops, Mgrs. Vojtassak and Buzalka, have been released from prison, where they had been treated worse than common criminals and murderers, but at a conference between the representatives of the Slovak Episcopate and the so-called Slovak National Conned, Dr. Husak, a Communist representative of that self-appointed body threatened all the bishops with further imprisonment and other severe measures if they did not immediately conform to the following orders:
They were to stop writing letters to the American Slovak Catholics.
They were to condemn in univocal terms the activities of Slovaks abroad.
They were to forbid their faithful, especially the Catholic youth, to wear small crosses which are as prominent in Slovakia now as the Communist emblems are scarce.
Finally, they were to manifest their loyalty to the new Czechoslovak State not merely by words, but by deeds as well.
The duplicity of the Communistcontrolled " Slovak National Council " is hest shown by the fact that while it talks of religious freedom and its members sometimes even go to church (e.g., on the occasion of the Papal jubilee), there is no relaxing of the persecution.
This persecution of Slovak Catholic patriots reached its peak towards the beginning of February, when the 0.G.P.U. started to round up people whom they thought to be the most dangerous for Benes' Communistdominated police State.
It is not quite clear yet if this new and stronger wave of persecution is aimed at the final liquidation of the Catholic Church in Slovakia—after the extermination of the Uniate Slavonic Church in Galicia and CarpathoRuthenia, or if it is meant as a means of intimidation and " re-education " before the swindle-elections to be held in May.
Benes' propagandists are very modest in admitting that they have imprisoned about one hundred people. The truth is that in the course of this latest round-up, started in the first days of February, more than one thousand people have been imprisoned.
Amongst them are priests, like Fr. Kolakovich, Mgr. Dr. Yanda, Director of the Catholic Central Bureau at Bratislava, and at least two curates, Fr. Nahalka and Fr, Galan. a known poet and writer. The prisoners come from all strata% of the population students, army officers, soldiers, workers, peasants, etc.
The treatment these unfortunate people receive at the hands of their " liberators " is simply horrible. Thus, e.g., Mr. Benkovich, a student of Bratislava University, has been beaten, tortured, burned by hot iron, and finally murdered during the " investiga tion." His parents were told afterwards that their son died of " heart failure."
Slovakia is in revolt. "The only democracy in Central Europe "—as Mr, Churchill called it in his Fulton speech —is an enormous concentration camp in which three million SlovalcS are kept prisoners. And that only because the Allies have sold the Slovaks to Benes.
The only remedy, and perhaps the only' way for the salvation of the Slovak nation, would be an internationally-controlled 'plebiscite which would ascertain whether the Slovaks really want Czechoslovakia (they call it Tchcka-Slovakia) or demand freedom and independence in the framework of a United States of Central Europe.
Slovak organisations and individual Slovaks abroad, in free countries, have been clamouring for this ever since Benes began his infamous work of " liberation "—but all efforts were in vain.
Now that the swindle about the "free and democratic" Czechoslovakia has been called by the Prague dictators themselves, it is high time that a plebiscite on this fundameptal issue should be arranged without delay.