Having made a deal with Hitler, on March 14th, 1939, Slovakia declared itself independent of Czechoslovakia and next day Germany invaded the remaining Czech lands. Heading the independence deal was Slovakia’s Monsignor Jozef Tiso, an anti-Semitic active Catholic priest turned politician, whose political party now functioned, with the blessing of the Nazis, as almost the only legal political organisation in Slovakia.

Tiso decided to submit to Nazi demands for anti-Semitic legislation in Slovakia but opinions differ widely on his role in the Jewish deportations. Some say he supported the deportations tacitly, others that they had to take place behind his back.

In October 1942, Slovakia became the first state in the Nazi sphere to stop deporting Jews, complaining that the Germans had not only “misused” the Jews in the camps but had also killed them. By then, though, 58,000 Jews – 75 per cent of Slovakia’s Jewish population – had already been deported.

Germany’s answer was to occupy all of Slovakia. Tiso lost power when the Soviet Army entered Slovakia in April 1945. He faced a charge of high treason in the reunified Czechoslovakia and was hanged on Friday, April 18th, 1947, aged 59, in Bratislava Central Prison.