My husband Victor is the nephew of Vlado Fabry, the only child of Vlado’s sister Olinka. When Olinka passed away in 2009, we discovered a trove of papers and photos stuffed in old suitcases in the house in New York; we packed them up and brought them to Washington state, and since then I have made it my mission to share the family story with the world. The photo above shows one of these suitcases, which was originally owned by Ivan S. Kerno – Slovak lawyer and family friend, who was Assistant to Secretary-General Trygve Lie and was head of the United Nations Legal Department. We have many letters from Ivan Kerno, but here is one from Garden City, Long Island, New York, from 1946, the year Vlado joined the Legal Department of the United Nations; addressed to Vlado’s father, Pavel Fabry, in Bratislava, Czechoslovakia, to our family home that is still illegally occupied by the Russian Federation, since the coup d’etat of 1948.
I was hesitant to share this here, because of the editorial choice of the word “suicide” to describe the death of Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjold, but it is important because this was saved in a collection of other international papers by Olinka and Olga Fabry. The political cartoon, showing Moïse Tshombe collecting his money from the Union Minière du Haut-Katanga mines with the murders of Patrice Lumumba and Hammarskjold, is gruesome but on point. From our personal coin collection, not from the Fabry archive, I have also included scans of two coins from Katanga from 1961.
Excerpt from C.V. of Pavel Fabry, 1955:
“After the Communist coup [February 1948] performed by Russian Deputy Foreign Minister [Valerian] Zorin for the Communists, the time is broken up with invoices to settle for my work against Communism as High Commissioner in 1919. And on the instructions of the insulted Mátyás Rákosi I was first of all relieved of all my functions and representatives, and subjected to all possible harassment, interrogations, etc. When I went to the delegation, as elected President of the Financial and Economic Committee of the General Assembly of the World Council of Churches, in Amsterdam, and was asked for my passport, I was arrested on the pretext of excessive imaginary charges. My whole fortune was taken, all accounts were confiscated and my Villa locked with furnishings, clothes, supplies, and everything, since it was the Consul-General of Russia; and on the same evening I was arrested as a “National Gift”, the nation was taken over, and in the night the Russians transferred the land register.”
My mother-in-law Olinka spent her whole life fighting to get the family home back from the Russians, but I will not be following in her footsteps – I want peace and to be happy! It is the sincere wish of myself and my family, that the Fabry home be donated to the city of Bratislava, as a gift to the people of Slovakia; to be of good use and service for the community, and that the garden be enjoyed by all people, as a memorial to our beloved ancestors.
The time has come for Russia to find a new home in Bratislava for their Consulate, obtained by legal means and not by brute force.
FREE ALEXEI NAVALNY!
Poem for Vlado
Looking through the family papers today, I found a poem by Olinka Fabry, written in tribute of her brother Vlado. I share it here with love to the both of them.
You died, as you lived –
not fearless, nor reckless,
but wisely bargaining
the single coin of life
for the one thing it is worth,
to bargain for
not for the siren song of gold
nor for the temptation of flesh
nor for the praise of men –
but to help life bloom and sing
and save it from withering away
For while we procrastinated
while we withdrew and barricaded ourselves in our insides
you stepped out –
with a pick and the rope, climbed to the top
into the streaming sunshine of bullets
and called to the man, behind the bush
to come out and talk over his grievance….
Now that it’s consummated,
we see it well, this hard won lesson:
not for the thrill
nor to subdue the mountain
but to steel the gaze
at the edge of the abyss
so when time comes
for the free man
he shall not flinch,
he shall not be found wanting.
Enter now in the hall of fame
of our small mountainfolk,
join the heroes standing around
the famous cliff – straight as candles –
you who wrote their courage in the sky
for all the world to see.
Of you I sing on this foreign shore
gentle as white wool of our lambs
hard as the granite of our cliffs.
You shall not walk again the mountain path
but your name shall be whispered
when the forest sings