An article from War2War: Otomar Kubala

An article from War2War: Otomar Kubala

Otomar Kubala was born in Lakšárska Nová Ves, a small village in western Slovakia 26 of January 1906. Otomar Kubala studied from 1920 to 1924 at the teachers’ center in Modra and later worked as a teacher for ten years. From 1934, Kubala was director of the State Civil School in Varín and became director of a school in Bratislava in 1939. Otomar Kubala joined the Hlinka Guard in November 1938, and he also turned to journalism. As early as 1941 he became chief editor of the newspaper Gardista, the press organ of the Hlinka Guard. For two months he went to the eastern front, where he obtained the rank of centurion.

As a supporter of the radical wing of the Hlinka party under the leadership of Vojtech Tuka and Alexander Mach, Otomar Kubala advocated a close cooperation with the German Reich and for a transformation of the public and political life in Slovakia according to national socialist principles. In 1940 and 1941, Kubala repeatedly participated in coup attempts by the radical party wing against the President of the Republic, Jozef Tiso. In addition to the dismissal of the short-term moderate commander-in-chief of Hlinka-Garde František Galan, the aim of this coup was to introduce a nation-socialist regime in Slovakia.

Kubala was regarded as the leader of the most radical forces within the Hlinka Guard, and even thought Alexander Mach too moderate. He accused Mach of his ”moderation and tenderness” as guards of the guards, who were responsible for the outbreak of the Slovak national uprising. From 1940 to 1942 he was Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Hlinka Guard. He took part in a course of the SS in Senheim and, among the impressions gained in Bojnice, organized schools for commanders of the Hlinka Guard.

Otomar Kubala mobilized various special and elite units of the Hlinka Guard, which participated in the liquidation of actual or alleged opponents of the regime, but above all in the so-called ”solution of the Jewish question”. The Hlinka Guard and Kubala as one of their highest officials played a key role in the extermination of the Slovak Jews.

The radicals of the Hlinka party lost the domestic political power struggle in 1942. Kubala was then released from his high functions in the Hlinka Guard, but did not give up. He began to publish the newspaper Náš boj (German ”Unser Kampf”), which appeared every two weeks, and propagated in it further uncompromising national socialist ideas. He also unsuccessfully demanded the radical completion of the ”solution to the Jewish question” or the ”Czech question” as well as an uncompromising struggle against regime adversaries, whose main pillar he saw the units of the Hlinka Guard.

Kubala was able to carry the bulk of his demands after the occupation of Slovakia by the armed forces in the autumn of 1944, when he retired from his duties and became head of the Security Department of the Ministry of Defense. It is clear from contemporary documents that Otomar Kubala was regarded as a ”most trustworthy” person in Slovakia, which made him work closely with the occupation authorities – especially with the security service. The National Socialists rewarded his collaboration in 1943 with the Order of Merit from the German Eagle.

From September 7, 1944, Kubala was the Chief of Staff of the Hlinka Guard and immediately supported the formation of special units, which were to fight actively against the Slovak insurgents on the part of the Germans. Thus the units of the Hlinka Guard (Slovakian Pohotovostné oddiely Hlinkovej gardy, POHG) were created. Their first members were voluntary guardsmen. Since more recruits were needed for the suppression of the insurrection, membership was required, not only members of the Hlinka Guard, but also persons who were not members of the Guard.

The Hlinka Guard units were involved not only in the fighting against the insurgents but also in the persecution of partisans. Also under Kubela’s supreme command were the units of the Hlinka youth (Hlinkova mládež, short HM), the Slovakian work service (Slovenská pracovná služba, short SPS) and the gendarmerie.

While Slovakia was gradually occupied by the Red Army, Kubala organized the retreat of the remaining Slovakian units and retreated to the south of Bohemia, where he ultimately surrendered American units to Strakonice. Otomar Kubala was handed over to Czechoslovak authorities, sentenced to death by shooting on August 24, 1946, and executed as a war criminal on 28 August 1946 in Bratislava.


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