Tag Archives: Slovak history

Elspeth Young’s Tribute to Vlado

Elspeth Young had the pleasure of teaching English to Vlado Fabry in Bratislava, and here she offers her finest memories of him in tribute:
Elspeth Young Tribute to Vlado

“A Tribute from an English Friend”
When I first knew Vlado, he was nine years old. At that time I was living in Bratislava and his mother was glad to keep up her English with me and so Vlado too began English. I soon found he was very gifted and quick to learn; he took a keen interest and it was a pleasure to help him.
His parents were able to give him every advantage, but taught him how to use money wisely and to be independent and self-reliant. I believe this early training in independence more than once saved his life. About the age of ten, I remember him telling me, that he had his own allowance for clothing and kept his own accounts, but he was generous and thoughtful for others. This I believe was greatly due to his mother’s influence. Sometimes during his school holidays he would go from village to village in his own country collecting Folk Songs and at the age of fifteen had written a ballad himself of more than fifty verses.
He was devoted to his parents and sister (who is equally gifted) and had a happy life. He began flying with his father at an early age and had already travelled a good deal. After the tragedy of the War, when they lost every-thing and came though many dangers, his parents finally arrived in Geneva. Then Vlado was their mainstay. On account of his knowledge of languages and his great gifts, he held responsible posts and travelled widely for the United Nations. He took a great interest in any foreign country he visited and with his gift of languages and courtesy, he made friends everywhere. Whenever he came through London, if he had the time, he would phone me to meet him somewhere and tell me the family news. He never forgot his friends.
His passing is felt by all his friends, especially those who have known him for so many years and followed his career with such interest.
(Signed) Elspeth Young

Here is one of the many letters from Elspeth to the family, sent from London on December 16, 1956:
(click images to enlarge)
Letter from Elspeth YoungLetter from Elspeth Young 2

Slovak Refugee Opera Singers

Here is letter from two Slovak Opera singers – Dusan Djordjevic and Maria Mattei-Djordjevic – refugees living in Geneva with four young children, seeking financial assistance to learn English and French and German for work. The letter was written in August of 1952, and the concert program, from Victoria Hall in Geneva, is from April 1953. Looks like they got the help they needed!
(click image to enlarge)
Slovak opera singer's letter1
Slovak opera singer's letter 2
Slovak opera singer's Geneva program1
Slovak opera singer's Geneva program 2
Here’s a photo of Victoria Hall in Geneva, Switzerland:

Slovak National Council in London, January 10, 1946

This photocopied document was found among the testimonies of many different refugees that Dr. Pavel Fabry represented:
Slovak National Council Telegram to UNO

SLOVAK NATIONAL COUNCIL IN LONDON
8, Wilton Crescent,
London, S.W.1.

Text of the telegram sent to the President of UNO.
10th January, 1946

The Slovak National Council, 8, Wilton Crescent, London, S.W.1., solemnly protests against the so-called Czechoslovak Delegation pretending to represent the Slovak nation at the United Nations General Assembly.
Czechoslovakia ceased to exist on March 14, 1939, when the elected representatives of the Slovak people declared Slovakia’s independence. The newly created structure, also called Czechoslovakia, the representatives of which will try to pretend representing the Slovak people, does neither territorially nor constitutionally, correspond with the defunct Czechoslovak Republic. Moreover, it has been set up against the will of the Slovak people. Contrarywise to all pledges given by the Allies to the nations of the world, the Slovak people are not permitted to [choose] the State and the form of government under which they desire to live. We claim freedom for our people and independence for our country. We demand a free, unfettered and internationally controlled plebiscite to ascertain whether the Slovak people are in favor of Czechoslovakia or whether they wish to retain their nationhood regained after one thousand years of subjugation in 1939. Slovakia cannot be represented at this Conference by a clique of usurpers, foisted on our people by foreign powers. Any commitments entered into by Mr. Benes’ emissaries in the name of the Slovak people are not binding. The Slovak people will never give up the struggle for their freedom and independence of which they have been deprived in the name of freedom for all nations.
At this opportunity we also protest against the extradition for trial to Mr. Benes‘ impostor Government of the President and members of the Government of the Republic of Slovakia by the Allied military authorities in Austria. The main “crime” of these people, according to Mr. Benes, is that they stood for the freedom and independence of Slovakia. If they or any other Slovaks are guilty of real war crimes they should be tried by independent Slovak Courts or by an impartial international Tribunal, not by a mob calling itself “People’s Court”.
Unless justice is done to the Slovak nation, living in the very heart of Europe, as well as to other nations of Central Europe, there is little hope that either the UNITED NATIONS or any other international organization will succeed in solving the problems of the European Continent in a just and lasting manner and in creating real peace.
Peter Pridavok, Chairman
Karol Vycnodil, Secretary

Congressional Record September 25, 1961

Since I’m not finished translating a document in German, I will give you a document written in English, from the Monday, September 25, 1961 Congressional Record: “Extension of Remarks of Hon. William W. Scranton of Pennsylvania in the House of Representatives”

Mr. SCRANTON. Mr. Speaker, in the tragic air crash in which the world lost the life of Dag Hammarskjold, we also suffered the loss of the life of Dr. Vladimir Fabry, the legal adviser to the United Nations operations in the Congo.
In the following statement by John C. Sciranka, a prominent American Slovak journalist, many of Dr. Fabry’s and his esteemed father’s attributes and good deeds are described. Dr. Fabry’s death is a great loss not only for all Slovaks, but for the whole free world.
Mr Sciranka’s statement follows:

Governor Fabry (Dr. Fabry’s father) was born in Turciansky sv. Martin, known as the cultural center of Slovakia. The Communists dropped the prefix svaty (saint) and call the city only Martin.
The late assistant to Secretary General Hammarskjold, Dr. Vladimir Fabry, inherited his legal talents from his father who studied law in the law school at Banska Stavnica, Budapest, and Berlin. The old Governor before the creation of Czechoslovakia fought for the rights of the Slovak nation during the Austro-Hungarian regime and was imprisoned on several occasions. His first experience as an agitator for Slovak independence proved costly during his student days when he was arrested for advocating freedom for his nation. Later the military officials arrested him on August 7, 1914, for advocating a higher institute of education for the Slovakian youth in Moravia. This act kept him away from the front and held him back as clerk of the Bratislava court.
He was well equipped to aid the founders of the first Republic of Czechoslovakia, which was created on American soil under the guidance and aid of the late President Woodrow Wilson. After the creation of the new republic he was made Governor (zupan) of the County of Saris, from which came the first Slovak pioneers to this city and county. Here he was confronted with the notorious Communist Bela Kun, who made desperate efforts to get control of Czechoslovakia. This successful career of elder Governor Fabry was followed by elevation as federal commissioner of the city of Kosice in eastern Slovakia.
But soon he resigned this post and opened a law office in Bratislava, with a branch office in Paris and Switzerland. The Governor’s experience at the international court gave a good start to his son Vladimir, who followed in the footsteps of his father. During World War II the elder Fabry was imprisoned by the Nazi regime and young Vladimir was an underground resistance fighter.
Dr. Vladimir Fabry, 40-year-old legal adviser to Secretary Dag Hammarskjold with the United Nations operation in Congo, who perished in the air tragedy, was born in Liptovsky Svaty Mikulas Slovakia. He received his doctor’s degree in law and political science from the Slovak University in Bratislava in 1942 and was admitted to the bar the following year. He was called to the United Nations Secretariat in 1946 by his famous countryman and statesman, Dr. Ivan Kerno, who died last winter in New York City after a successful career as international lawyer and diplomat and who served with the United Nations since its inception. Dr. Vladimir Fabry helped to organize postwar Czechoslovakia. His family left the country after the Communist putsch in February 1948. His sister Olga is also in the service of the United Nations in New York City [as a Librarian.-T]. His father, the former Governor, died during a visit to Berlin before his 70th birthday, which the family was planning to celebrate on January 14, 1961, in Geneva.
Before going to the Congo in February, Dr. Fabry had been for a year and a half the legal and political adviser with the United Nations Emergency Force in the Middle East. In 1948, he was appointed legal officer with the Security Council’s Good Offices Committee on the Indonesian question. He later helped prepare legal studies for a Jordan Valley development proposal. He also participated in the organization of the International Atomic Energy Agency. After serving with the staff that conducted the United Nations Togaland plebiscite in 1956, he was detailed to the Suez Canal clearance operation, winning a commendation for his service.
Dr. Vladimir Fabry became a U.S. citizen 2 years ago. He was proud of his Slovak heritage, considering the fact that his father served his clerkship with such famous Slovak statesmen as Paul Mudron, Andrew Halasa, Jan Vanovic, and Jan Rumann, who played important roles in modern Slovak history.
American Slovaks mourn his tragic death and they find consolation only in the fact that he worked with, and died for the preservation of world peace and democracy with such great a leader as the late Dag Hammarskjold.