A Bomb Attack

on the Ministry of Justice of the Slovak Socialist Republic
1973 - two people died

Ondrej Chámovský

A forty-five-year old man enters the Ministry of Justice of the Slovak Socialist Republic Secretariat, Bratislava, 16 Suvorova Street, short after 10:00 a. m., January 16th, 1973. He is wearing a worn-out fur-coat, a fur-cap, and carries a dark blue overhand bag, holding a door-bell switch with two wires. A miscellaneous man insists on having an immediate appointment with the then-Minister of Justice, Pavol Király, D. C. L. (the Minister of Justice of the Slovak Socialist Republic from December 8th, 1971 to November 4th, 1976).

The typist manages to persuade the man that the Minister of Justice is very busy at that time and refers him to the Complaints Department. But the man returns and enters the office of the Head of the Ministry of Justice Secretariat thinking he is entering the office of the Minister of Justice. He addresses him "Comrade Minister!" and orders him to get dressed and leave the office with him "...if he wants to stay alive". Dezider Belko, a Minister of Justice chaufeur, enters the office at the same time. The man "arrests" him and orders him to join them. Both of them soon realize that the man may be armed as he still hides one hand in his bag. They can even see the door-bell switch hidden in his hand for a while.

the Ministry of Justice office ruined after the explosion

pravy obrazek

The typist manages to leave the office to inform the himself Minister of Justice. The Minister orders the typist to call in the Police Command Center. She waits for the patrol in the corridor. The Minister himself stays in his office not involving in the situation.

Meanwhile, Mr. Štěpnička, D. C. L., and the driver make conversation with the unknown man and realize that the man requires the accident compesation worth 300,000 CZK for the injury he suffered in 1961 (twelve years ago). He complains about the court attitude (nothing happened for years, according to him) and thus he finds that the best way to change it. If he fails, he is going to blow the building up. He even gives his name – Ondrej Chámovský.

The chauffeur suggests to leave for the Bratislava Municipal Court to deal with the matter of Ondrej Chámovský. He uses subterfuge. Although being the chauffeur, he tells Chámovský that they have to wait for the office car and the chauffeur who is supposed to return from a journey of duty any time. He just plays for time. Chámovský, not knowing who Dezider Belko really is, agrees. He even seems to calm himself down. But no chauffeur is comming and that is why Ondrej Chámovský becomes nervous again: if his matter is not dealed in ten minutes, he will blow the building up. Mr. Štěpnička decides negotiate with Ondrej Chámovský. The armed man seems to calm down again. He seems to be happy for gaining his point.

Mr. Štěpnička's body after the explosion

levy obrazek

Thirty minutes after the typist's phone call, a four-member police patrol gets to the building of the Ministry of Justice. None of the members has been trained for such a kind of intervention or negotiation. What is more, one member of the police patrol has not even been trained at any of the Home Office police school. The typist takes the patrol to the Minister. The Minister becomes a self-proclaimed leader of "the antiterrorist squad". Two sergeants stand at the door to prevent the offender from escape. The remaining two sergeants attend on the Minister and they are supposed to arrest the offender. Mr. Štěpnička and his chauffeur negotiate with Chámovský. The sergeant pushes aside the Minister and enters the office. Later, the sergeant said he had been affraid the offender had been armed and ready to attack the Minister, so he had decided to be the first man to enter the office. It is short before 11:00 a. m. As soon as the sergeant enters to office, an explosion can be heard...

Ondrej Chámovský's head torn off his body

An amateurish decision of the Minister of Justice going hand in hand with the unqualified behavior of the police patrol members results in a disaster. Oto Štěpnička, D. C. L., dies in the explosion. His body is torn to pieces. Ondrej Chámovský dies too. His head is torn off the body as well as his leg. The leg is found in the typist's office. Dezider Belko, the chauffeur, is seriously injured. He loses his right eye, turns deaf and becomes the wholly disabled. A sergeant sustains lasting injury effects, too. Surprisingly, the Minister suffers no injury. Nevertheless, it was him who could help the unhappy man to find a solution to his trouble.

The expert reports prove that Chámovský used a Carbodanubit explosive which was placed in an iron tube for much stronger bomb efficiency. It is a kind of an explosive designed and frequently used for shot firing in coal mines. A common fuse (equipped with a battery switch) was used for initiating.

Pavol Király, the Minister of Justice, (the man wearing glasses), Ota Štěpnička, D. C. L., funeral

Ondrej Chámovský was born to a large rural family. He was working as a mechanist in Hydrostav, Bratislava until 1961. He suffers a severe head injury after falling from an electric pole that year. He has not been able to work long hours and stayed shirtless. He asked his employer damages, but, in 1963, he was fired instead. He applied for a disability pension in 1965. He received a partial disability pension worth 527 CZK after two years. He complained. The court rose his partial disability pension upto 702 CZK in 1967. Chámovský complained again and wanted "his" disability pension from the very day of his injury. He did not get the money until the fatal day. The government and Hydrostav Company are said to rob him of his partial disability pension worth 300,000 CZK per 12 years. When entering the seat of the Ministry of Justice, Chámovský was convinced to blow up the building if he did not get what he wanted...

The case of "The Bomb Attack at the Ministry of Justice" was classified by the National Security Department. The then-Police were looking for any possible connection with the bomb attacks committed by the militant members of the Irish Republican Army in London. Alhought there had been found no connection between the terrorists, the particular case would be kept in confidence for many years.

© Miloslav Jedlička, D. C. L.
Translated by inspector WO Pavel Vršovský, M. A.