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Rescue of Jews in the Slovak State (1939 - 1945) Open Access


Other title
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Paulovicova, Nina
Supervisor and department
Himka, John-Paul
Examining committee member and department
Himka, John-Paul (History and Classics)
Luhmann, Susanne (Modern Language)
Lemire, Beverly (History and Classics)
Bergen, Doris L. (History)
Mills, David C.L. (History and Classics)
Sweeney, Dennis J. (History and Classics)
Department of History and Classics
Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
This dissertation targets the topic of rescue of Jews in the Holocaust in World War II. It offers a thorough examination of the defiance mechanics of rescue and looks at how precisely rescuers undermine the pillars of totalitarian regimes. The locus for the empirical part is the Slovak State, a puppet state of Nazi Germany. This dissertation scrutinizes the mindset behind efforts to assist Jews, the obstacles on paths to rescue as well as strategies applied in order to overcome legal and societal persecution of Jews. This project builds on the premise that agencies of any individual fluctuate, merge and change accordingly with the developments of the war. This study also undermines the widely accepted view of the rescue of Jews as static and one-dimensional and highlights rescue acts’ heterogeneous and amorphous nature. Weaving the shades of compliance of Slovaks with the clerico-fascist regime into the story of the assistance/non-assistance to Jews aims to produce a “collage of multiple ambiguities” and “grey zones” of rescue. Rather than celebrating acts of rescuers, this dissertation focuses on the path to rescue of which the acts of rescuers were just one piece in a long chain of events in wartime Slovakia. What are the silenced facets of the rescue of Jews that have not been acknowledged, and why have they not been? Why did the topic of rescue emerge as a prominent theme in public forums in recent years? This dissertation not only looks at rescue more broadly, engaging with models of defiance of totalitarian states, but also sheds light on the controversy over the understanding of the Slovak World War II milieu.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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