Jewish store that was damaged by a local crowd in Bratislava, Slovakia in March 1939
In December 1940, some 15,000 Jews lived in Bratislava. As the capital of Slovakia, Bratislava was the seat of central Jewish organizations and the Union of Jewish Communities. It was also the home of nationalist bodies, such as the Hlinka guard, Hlinkova Mladez (Hlinka Youth), the Freiwillige Schutzstaffel (Volunteer Battalions), and the German Hitlerjugend. These organizations, together with urban mobs, frequently rioted against the Jews. Such riots began in October 1938, immediately after Slovakia was granted autonomy, and subsequently they were launched from time to time. Bratislava's Jews - some of whom still lived in the Zidovna, the old ghetto - were exposed to organized raids by rioters and to sporadic harassment. Following the attacks that took place in March 1939 to "celebrate" Slovakia's independence, a Jewish self-defense organization was formed in the Jewish quarter, its membership consisting of artisans, members of sports clubs, yeshiva students, and members of youth movements.
Yad Vashem Photo Archives FA119/68