Dr. Fedor Hodza made this statement at the service for Dr. Vladimir Fabry at the Lutheran Church, Geneva, Switzerland, on Thursday, September 28, 1961:
The Slovak family, dispersed all over the wide world, bows in painful grief over the mortal remains of one of her distinguished sons. Once again a Slovak life has been extinguished, a noble life – already successful and which still promised so much – the life of your friend and mine, Mr. Vladimir Fabry.
It is a difficult and sad task for me to bid him farewell. Difficult, because I would not like to say more than his modesty would bear without dismay. Sad, because I had a great affection for him.
Yet his modesty and our sorrow must give place to the truth. And the truth is that the tragic death of Vladko Fabry is a cruel and woeful loss, not only for his mother and sister, not only for his relations, not only for his friends. It is a loss for his larger, national family as well as for that high humanitarian ideal which he served with such devotion.
Though today we are sorrowfully thinking of his untimely end and grieved as we are, we should not forget his life which should be a consolation to his loved ones and an example to us.
As a young and inexperienced lawyer he worked his way up in a relatively short time to a position of responsibility in an institution of such importance as the United Nations. He advanced with success amid older and more experienced colleagues from all parts of the world. He won confidence for his firm character, esteem for his good work, affection for his pleasant disposition. Within a short time he was entrusted with difficult, responsible and often dangerous tasks. The evidence of his personal success are the missions which he carried out in critical times, in widely differing regions of the globe, in India, in Indonesia, in the Near East, and finally in the unfortunate Congo.
It can be said that there was hardly a situation in the international development of the last ten years where Vladko was not present as a worker, defender and soldier in the service of peace among nations. Whenever and wherever this uncertain peace which is our lot was threatened, we saw him among those who were sent to pacify, to counsel, to persuade and help to preserve it.
By his talent and education, by work and experience so grimly won, by his conviction and energy, Vladko rose above the circle of narrower interests and lower aims and engaged himself fully in the service of higher good and loftier ideal.
It is not easy to be an officer of the highest international institution if it does not live – because it cannot – according to the letter and still less according to the spirit of its charter; when the peace which it is called to preserve is not a just peace – and there is no other; when freedom and independence of nations – which is the basis of its existence and the main purpose of its mission – are denied to those who already know the art of government and given to those who have still to learn.
But Vladko Fabry was not just an officer of an institution created to help humanity to live in peace and harmony. Personally, in his conscience, he considered himself to be a servant of probably the highest and most precious accomplishment of Western civilization, which prescribes that laws have to respect the good of all and that they have to be administered without regard to personal, class and even national interests.
The convinced patriot that he was, Vladko joined the ranks of the pioneers of constructive internationalism. He was aware that by helping to secure and protect the precarious independence of the new nations he was working at the same time for his own homeland, hoping that freedom and justice would return again to his beloved Slovakia.
He also participated directly in the great experiment of international life, and experiment which was designed to complement by deed the traditional debates and resolutions of the United Nations which too often remain unheeded. One such deed was the intervention of international armed forces in the Congo. It seems that the world is not yet ripe for actions of this kind. Vladko was among those who gave their lives on the altar of a new era in the life of humanity, and era full of promise but hardly yet born.
Let it please our Lord that his sacrifice was not in vain. Dead martyrs often achieve more for the ideals they believed in than living prophets.
So this is how we see Vladko Fabry, as man, worker, fighter. Such was his short but fruitful life.
How could we forget his love of nature and especially of mountains which seemed to attract him irresistibly? Was not his love an expression of that idealism which inspired all his endeavors? Were not the mountains to him a kind of challenge to accomplish a difficult and dangerous task, in solitude, in silence, without spectators and their acclaim? For him the mountains were not just a place of repose or sport. They were a kind of spiritual necessity. Up there he felt at home, there he was happy. Perhaps they reminded him of his native land Liptov, and Turiec and of our High Tatras.
As he was demanding in his work so he was modest in his private life. He disliked luxury and ostentation. His searching mind was forever disclosing new vistas, enlarging his horizons, acquiring new knowledge and experience. He learned because he wanted to know, he thought because he was aiming for excellence.
His gentle manners and good heart won him many friends in all parts of the world and today, on this last journey, he is accompanied by the affection and gratitude of so many.
In this last moment of farewell we remember also his late, eminent father who by the force of his personality marked the national life of Slovakia and contributed to her political and economic growth. We bow with profound respect before the grief so courageously borne by his loving mother and sister. If words are unable to soothe their pain perhaps the knowledge that Vladko lived a beautiful, rich and useful life will give them a measure of consolation until merciful time heals the deep wound.
Dear Vladko, it is time to say good bye. We remember you such as you were and hold you in our thoughts: A loving son, an affectionate brother, a devoted friend, a faithful child of your country, who dedicated his life to the service of humanity.