(dpa) - A top Roman Catholic bishop in Slovakia has reportedly celebrated a Mass honouring the leader of the nation's former Nazi puppet government, who sent tens of thousands of Jews to their deaths during World War II.
Video images showed Jan Sokol, head of the diocese in the city of Trnava, marking 61 years since the postwar execution of Jozef Tiso, a Catholic priest who was independent Slovakia's fascist dictator in 1939-45.
The video, published Monday on the Sme newspaper's website, shows Sokol in bishop's regalia and with a large photograph of Tiso propped against flowers in front of the altar.
The Slovak Bishops' Conference said the Mass, held Friday, was Sokol's private activity, the paper reported.
Sokol has previously praised Tiso. In a 2006 television interview, he said Slovakia had "prosperity" while the dictator was in power.
Tiso, through a March 1942 agreement with Nazi Germany, was the first Axis partner to consent to the deportation of Jewish residents to death camps, the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington says.
More than 70,000 Slovak Jews perished in the Holocaust. Tiso was put on trial in postwar Czechoslovakia and hanged in 1947.