Jozef Tiso was born in Veľká Bytča on October 13, 1887, and obtained a degree in theology from Pasmaneum College in Vienna in 1910. He worked as a Catholic curate in various towns, teaching Slovak spelling, organizing theater performances, and promoting cultural activities. During World War I, Tiso served as a military chaplain and later became the director of a local seminary and a teacher at a high school in Nitra.
In 1921, Tiso became the secretary of the local bishop and a teacher at the seminary of divinity in Nitra. He was appointed as the seminary’s dean and parish priest of Bánovce nad Bebravou in 1924. Tiso was a Roman Catholic priest who later became a prominent Nazi collaborator as the president of Slovakia during World War II. He rose to power in the nationalist Slovak People’s Party, became a deputy of the Czechoslova parliament, and served as a member of the Czechoslovak government before becoming prime minister.
After a brief loss of power in 1939, Tiso received support from Adolf Hitler and became the president of the Independent Slovak Republic from 1939-1945, allying with Nazi Germany. His administration enacted harsh anti-Jewish legislation and cooperated with the Nazi plan to deport tens of thousands of Jews to concentration camps. However, his defenders point out that Tiso’s government halted the deportation of Jews to Auschwitz when it became clear that they were being executed there in large numbers. Nonetheless, others claim that Tiso played a significant role in the extermination process and was a willing tool of Hitler.
After the end of World War II and the country’s liberation from Nazi occupation, Tiso was found guilty of treason and collaboration with the Nazis by pro-Soviet Czechoslovak authorities. He was hanged on April 18, 1947, at the age of 59, and was buried at Martinsky Cintorin Cemetery in Bratislava, Slovakia.