In the latest installment of our (semi)regular segment, Wow! Really?, we examine little-known or unexpected facts about Hungary and Hungarian culture. Today, we take a look at Hungary’s neighbor to the north, Slovakia, where a group of far-right nationalists recently climbed the wrong mountain in a ceremony that went hilariously wrong.
Members of the extremist People’s Party—Our Slovakia (LSNS), recently published a photo on Facebook of themselves at the top of a mountain. The men, dressed in various degrees of camouflage and waving Slovak and LSNS flags, were there to participate in the nationalist “tradition” of climbing the mountain Krivan.
According to the group, this “national climb” was inspired by “Slovak writer and publisher Gašpar Fejérpataky-Belopotocký.” Fejérpataky, a Hungarian nobleman by birth, fell in love with Slovak culture, and is today remembered as one of the early forerunners of Slovak nationalism.
There was just one problem with all of this: they had climbed the wrong mountain.
Krivan, the mountain they thought they were climbing, is in the High Tatras, with a peak of 2500 meters. Velky Krivan, the mountain the far-right nationalists actually climbed, is 60 kilometers away, in the Mala Fatra (Low Fatra) mountains, and is only 1709 meters high.
Headed by Marian Kotleba, the governor of the Banská Bystrica Region (Hungarian: Besztercebánya), The far-right People’s Party—Our Slovakia has grown in popularity in recent years. In the 2016 national elections, LSNS won 8% of the vote, and 14 seats in the Slovak parliament.
As can be seen on the party’s Facebook pages and other outlets, LSNS regularly spots anti-immigration, anti-Roma, anti-NATO hatred, and it has a special fondness for Jozef Tiso, the priest turned politician who led Slovakia during World War II, and who was an active supporter of the Holocaust. In fact, in February of 1942, Tiso’s Slovakia became the first ally of Nazi Germany to deport Jews. On its website, LSNS claims that the party hopes to build on the legacy of “national giants” such as Tiso.
Via spectator.sme.sk, tol.org, and index.hu
Image via LSNS Facebook page and Wikimedia Commons