Tag Archives: Teckla M. Carlson

Fabry Family Home in Bratislava


Our grandfather Pavel “Tata/Tatusko” Fabry, sharing his love of photography with his son, Vladimir “Vlado” Fabry; circa 1920s.


Baby Vlado held by unidentified person, with “Maminka”, our grandmother Olga Fabry. Vlado was born on 23 November 1920, in Liptovský svätý mikuláš, Czechoslovakia.


Baby Vlado – those ears!


Vlado having a nap.


Vlado’s only sibling, sister Olga “Olinka”, arrives home; she was born 5 October 1927, in Bratislava, Czechoslovakia. Their mother, Olga Fabry, on far right, dressed in black; brother Vlado is on the left, wearing knee socks and black buckled shoes. This photo, and the rest that follow, show the home our family built in Bratislava – it was seized by the Communists in the coup d’état of 1948, handed over as a gift to Russia, and has ever since been occupied as their embassy. You can see recent photos of our home by searching for “Russian Embassy Bratislava”.


Olinka and Vlado with a nanny.


Maminka, Vlado and Olinka playing in the garden.


Olinka with Tatusko.


Admiring the long stemmed roses that Maminka planted.


This photo, and the two following, were taken around 1930.


Olinka with a friend, Maminka in background.


Mother and daughter, so happy!


These two photos are undated, but it looks like Vlado got what he wanted for his birthday! I’m so glad that these photos were saved, but some of them have curled from improper storage. The American Library Association(ALA) website has advice here, for those of you wondering how to safely flatten your old photos.


Bambi! This was Vlado and Olinka’s pet deer – Olinka told us the story about their deer, that it jumped the fence and crashed the neighbor’s wedding party, eating all the cake – and then the police were chasing it all over town!


Olinka and friend.


Pavel Fabry very likely colorized these photos with his set of Caran d’Ache pencils, some of which we are still using! Dated July 1927.


Vlado and his sister had pretty much the same haircut for a while, but this is Vlado on the stairs.


Marked on back “rodina Fabry v Bratislava” – Fabry family in Bratislava. I recognize Olga Fabry and her mother, but I am unable to identify the others at this time. The next few photos, showing guests visiting the house, are unmarked – help with identification is appreciated!


Here is one of Vlado, the hat and beard don’t disguise!


Pavel, Vlado, Olga, and Olinka, and a chocolate cake, in the dining room.


Vlado with unidentified guests, waiting for cake!


The family all together!

There are more photos, but first, here are important documents which tell the story of our family and home in Bratislava:

Drafts of Pavel Fabry’s Curriculum Vitae, 11 September 1952, printed here:

“Pavel Svetozar FABRY, LLD, was born on January 14th, 1891 of an old family of industrialists and businessmen. After graduating in business administration, he studied law, attaining the degree of Doctor of Law; passed the bar examinations; and successfully completed the examinations required to qualify for judgeship.
During World-War-I, Mr. Fabry served as officer in an artillery division as well as in the service of the Army’s Judge Advocate-General. He became the first Secretary of the Provisional National Council established to prepare the liberation of Slovakia and the orderly transfer of its administration to the Czechoslovak Government. After the foundation of the Czechoslovak Republic, he was appointed Prefect (chief Government official) for the Eastern part of Slovakia.
When the Communist armies of the Hungarian Government of Bela Kun attacked Slovakia in 1919, Mr. Fabry was named High Commissioner Plenipotentiary for the defense of Eastern Slovakia. In this function he was entrusted with the co-ordination of the civil administration with the military actions of the Czechoslovak Army and of the Allied Military Command of General Mittelhauser. His determined and successful effort to prevent Eastern Slovakia to fall under the domination of Communist Armies – the victorious results of which contributed to the fall of the Communist regime in Hungary – drew on Mr. Fabry the wrath of the Communist leaders; they declared him the “mortal enemy of the people”, led violent press campaigns against him and attacked him overtly and covertly continually and at every opportunity.
After the consolidation of the administrative and political situation of Slovakia, Mr. Fabry left the Government service and returned to his private practice as barrister. He specialized in corporation law and his assistance was instrumental in the founding and expansion of a number of industrial enterprises. He became Chairman or one of the Directors of Trade Associations of several industrial sectors, particularly those concerned with the production of sugar, alcohol, malt and beer. He was elected Chairman of the Economic Committee of the Federation of Industries, and played the leading role in several other organizations. He also was accredited as Counsel to the International Arbitration Tribunal in Paris.
Among civic functions, Mr. Fabry devoted his services particularly to Church, acting as Inspector (lay-head) of his local parish and as member of the Executive Committee of the Lutheran Church of Czechoslovakia. His appointment as delegate to the World Council of Churches’ meeting in Amsterdam in 1948 prompted his arrest by the Communist Government.
Although Mr. Fabry never stood for political office nor for any political party function, he was well known for his democratic and liberal convictions, and for the defense of these principles whenever his activities gave him the opportunity to do so. He earned himself a reputation in this respect which brought him the enmity of the adversaries of democracy from both the right and the left. He became one of the first Slovaks to be sent to a concentration camp following the establishment of a Pro-German fascist regime in 1939. His release could later be arranged and he was able to take active part in the underground resistance movement against the occupant; for this activity the German secret police (Gestapo) ordered his pursuit and execution in 1945, but he was able to escape the death sentence. In spite of his resistance record (or perhaps because of it), Mr. Fabry was among those arrested by the Russian Army, on the instigation of the Communist Party which could not forget his anti-Communist activities dating back all the way to 1919. Due to pressure of public opinion Mr. Fabry’s imprisonment at that time was very short; but when Communist seized power in Czechoslovakia in 1948, they did not miss the opportunity to settle accounts with him. He was removed from all his offices, his property was confiscated, he was imprisoned and subjected to a third degree cross-examination taking six months. No confessions of an admission which could have served as a basis for the formulation of an accusation could, however, be elicited from Mr. Fabry, and he managed to escape from the prison hospital where he was recovering from injuries inflicted during the examination. He succeeded to reach Switzerland in January 1949, where he has continued in his economic activities as member of the Board of Directors, and later President, of an enterprise for the development of new technologies in the field of bottling and food conservation. He was also active in assisting refugees and was appointed as member of the Czechoslovak National Council-in-exile.”

And this, from the 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.”


The C.V. of Pavel Fabry from 17 December 1955, which I translated a while back; the letterhead on this first page is from the Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany, Geneva.


This is the C.V. of our grandmother Olga Fabry, which I have not yet translated. The following statement was made on her behalf, from 30 November 1956:
“I, Samuel Bellus, of 339 East 58th Street, New York 22, New York, hereby state and depose as follows:
That this statement is being prepared by me at the request of Mrs. Olga Viera Fabry, nee Palka, who formerly resided in Bratislava, Czechoslovakia, but since 1948 has become a political refugee and at present resides at 14, Chemin Thury, Geneva, Switzerland;
That I have known personally the said Mrs. Olga Viera Fabry and other members of her family and have maintained a close association with them since the year 1938, and that I had opportunity to observe directly, or obtain first hand information on, the events hereinafter referred to, relating to the persecution which Mrs. Olga Viera Fabry and the members of her family had to suffer at the hands of exponents of the Nazi regime;
That in connection with repeated arrests of her husband, the said Mrs. Fabry has been during the years 1939 – 1944 on several occasions subject to interrogations, examinations and searches, which were carried out in a brutal and inhumane manner by members of the police and of the “Sicherheitsdienst” with the object of terrorizing and humiliating her;
That on a certain night on or about November 1940 Mrs. Fabry, together with other members of her family, was forcibly expelled and deported under police escort from her residence at 4 Haffner Street, Bratislava, where she was forced to leave behind all her personal belongings except one small suitcase with clothing;
That on or about January 1941 Mrs. Fabry was ordered to proceed to Bratislava and to wait in front of the entrance to her residence for further instructions, which latter order was repeated for several days in succession with the object of exposing Mrs. Fabry to the discomforts of standing long hours without protection from the intense cold weather and subjecting her to the shame of making a public show of her distress; and that during that time humiliating and derisive comments were made about her situation in public broadcasts;
That the constant fear, nervous tension and worry and the recurring shocks caused by the arrests and deportations to unknown destinations of her husband by exponents of the Nazi regime had seriously affected the health and well-being of Mrs. Fabry during the years 1939 – 1944, so that on several such occasions of increased strain she had to be placed under medical care to prevent a complete nervous breakdown; and
That the facts stated herein are true to the best of my knowledge and belief.”


The first page of Pavel’s C.V., 1955.

This is my translation of the last three pages of Pavel’s C.V., pages 11-13, with photos included to compare and help improve the translation:
“After the Persecution Today

“As the so-called Russian Liberation Army in Slovakia – consuming (raubend) more than liberating – invaded our city, I was immediately arrested and led into the basement of the NKVD, where I found quite a few others arrested. The public, especially the workers in awareness that I freed from deportation a few days before, chose to stand up and with the deputation of workers demanded the immediate release from liability. But the commander of the NKVD also had the deputation arrested and had me lead them into the cellar. The workers union had accumulated in front of the Villa and vigorously demanded the release from liability, whereupon the commander turned to the High command in Kosice, whereupon we were released – seven and a few, but the rest were to be deported to Siberia. The NKVD commander later said I was arrested on the basis of the request of the Hungarian Communists, because I, as High Commissioner in 1919, acted so harshly (so schroff) against the troops of Bela Kun. And he said that if I was released now, I would not be spared Siberia.
The public had reacted sharply. I immediately became an honorary citizen of the circle and an honorary member of the National Committee, elected unanimously, and I was given the two highest honors.
The spontaneous demonstrations of the public gave me the strength to forcefully intervene against many attacks, and also to help my fellow Germans and give confirmation that they behaved decently during the Hitler era, and to stifle all individual personal attacks of vengeance in the bud. As I have already mentioned, I was able to help the internees that they not go to the Soviet zone, as was planned, but were sent to West Germany and Austria. I was a daily visitor to collection centers and in prisons, to help where help was justified.”


“My parlous state of health has not allowed me to carry my work further. The law firm I have has only a limited representation of associates, and these are only my best performing workers.
After the Communist coup 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.
And so, my health still shattered by the persecution these Nazi monsters caused, they transferred me to the locked section of the hospital to make interrogations there. After seven months detention [In another document it says only 6 months, which I will include here, after this testimony.-T] the workers and employees of some companies succeeded to liberate me in the night on January 21-22, 1949, and led me to a kamion near the border. I had foreseen that the police would know about my escape during the night, and that’s why I escaped (uberschreitete ?) to the Hungarian border with Austria, and again by the Austrian border, since I was immediately searched with many dogs.
I managed with the help of my friends to leave the Soviet zone disguised, and made it to Switzerland where I anticipated my wife and daughter. [I have an audio recording of Olga Fabry, Pavel’s daughter, where she says that her father escaped from the prison hospital dressed as a nun, and made it across the Swiss border by train, hiding inside a beer barrel.-T]
The Swiss authorities immediately received me as a political refugee and assured me of asylum, and issued all the necessary travel documents.”


“To this day I am constantly witness to the most amiable concessions by the Swiss authorities.
In my description of illness, my activity in Switzerland is already cited.
Accustomed to the work of life, and since my health no longer permits regular employment, I have adopted the assistance of refugees. Since Geneva was the center of the most important refugee organizations, I was flooded with requests by the refugees of Western Europe.
I took part on the board of the Refugee Committee in Zurich and Austria, after most refugees came from Slovakia to Austria, and I had to check very carefully if there were any refugees that had been disguised. I was then elected as President of the Refugee Committee, but on the advice of the doctors treating me I had to adjust this activity, because through this work my health did not improve. Nevertheless, I succeeded in helping assist 1200 refugees in the decisive path of new existence.
Otherwise, I remain active in the Church organizations. All this human activity I naturally consider to be honorary work, and for this and for travel I never asked for a centime.
Since I am more than 62 years old, all my attempts to find international employment failed, because regulations prohibit taking on an employee at my age. It was the same case with domestic institutions.
My profession as a lawyer I can exercise nowhere, since at my age nostrification of law diplomas was not permitted. To start a business or involvement I lacked the necessary capital – since I have lost everything after my arrests by the Communists, what had remained from the persecution.
And so I expect at least the compensation for my damages in accordance with the provisions applicable to political refugees.”


Credentials for Pavel Fabry to attend the First Assembly of the World Council of Churches in Amsterdam, as a representative of the Evangelical church in Slovakia, signed by the bishop of the general church, dated 22 March 1948.


This is a photocopy of a photostatic copy, a statement written by the General Secretary and the Assistant General Secretary of the World Council of Churches, Geneva, dated 25 March 1948:
“To whom it may concern: This is to certify that Dr. Pavel FABRY, Czechoslovakian, born 14.1.1891[14 January] at Turčiansky Sv Martin, has been appointed as participant in the First General Assembly of the World Council of Churches, to be held in Amsterdam, Holland, from August 22nd to September 4th 1948.
We shall appreciate any courtesy on the part of Dutch and other consular authorities shown to participants in order to facilitate their coming to Amsterdam.”

From what I am able to translate, these next two documents seem to be asking Pavel to ‘voluntarily’ give up a lot of money or else, dated 1 March and 1 April 1948:

Attacks against Pavel Fabry were made in the communist newspaper PRAVDA, all clippings are from 1948, one is dated by hand 26th of August:




From 4 October 1948, this letter was written to Olinka, who was a student in 1947 at St. George’s School, Clarens, Switzerland:


“[…]We had Czech visitors a few days ago, a Mr. and Mrs. Debnar [sp?] from Bratislava, and we were deeply distressed to hear from him that Mr. Fabry had been taken off to a camp. Very, very much sympathy to you all[…]”

This is a letter from Vlado to Constantin Stavropoulos, written while he was on assignment for the United Nations in Indonesia, dated 10 October 1948. Vlado was asking for help in getting another assignment, so he could be closer to his family who needed him. I am appreciating more and more the emotional strain Vlado was under while writing this. Trygve Lie was the Secretary-General of the United Nations at this time.


“It’s more than a month now, that I received your cable that there is a possibility of an assigment for me in the Palestine commision, and that you will write me more about it – but I didn’t hear about the assignment anything since. The news which here and there trickle through from Paris or Geneva are not too good. They seem to indicate that I am not welcome there, not only as official, but not even as a visitor and that I should wander around or hide myself as a criminal. It looks as if the administration of my department /and from what they say, the administration of the whole organization as well/ would consider me as an outcast, who in addition to his other sins adds a really unforgivable one – that he behaves and expects treatment as if he would not be an outcast /at least that is what I understood from a letter written to my mother, that I should have voluntarily resigned a long time ago/. Excuse my bitterness – but I am simply not able to understand the attitude which is still taken against me – neither from the legal point of view of my rights and obligations under my existing contract, neither from a moral and ethical point of view which an organization representing such high aims to the outside must surely have towards itself. Sometimes I am [wondering], if the best would not be to let it come to a showdown and have it over once and for ever – it really is getting and obsession under which I have to live and to work all the time, specially since the UN employment means not only mine, but also my mothers and sisters /and maybe my fathers/ security and status. But exactly this consideration of my family’s dependence on it make me cautious and give me patience to try to get along without too much push. But, on the other hand, my cautiousness and fear to risk too much put me in the position of a beggar for favour, which is ipso facto a very bad one -/people who don’t care, or at least don’t show that they care, achieve things so much easier/- and which in addition I do not know how to act properly.[…]”

Further evidence comes from Washington state, U.S.A., from the Spokane Daily Chronicle 19 September 1961, “Crash Victim Known in City”:

“Vladimir Fabry, killed in the plane crash that claimed the life of Dag Hammarskjold yesterday in Northern Rhodesia, visited Spokane three years ago.

Fabry, U.S. legal adviser to the United Nations in the Congo is a close friend of Teckla M Carlson, N1727 Atlantic, and he and his sister, Olga, also a UN employee, were her house guests in 1958.

A travel agent, Mrs. Carlson first met Fabry in 1949 at Geneva after he had succeeded in having his father released from a concentration camp. The Spokane woman said they have exchanged letters since that time.”

Havla 1989.jpg
By Marc Dragul - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link


Vaclav Havel, 17 November 1989, honoring Jan Opletal and others who died in the Prague protests of 1939. This was the start of the Velvet Revolution, which ended on 29 December 1989 with Vaclav Havel elected as President of Czechoslovakia, the end of 41 years of Communist rule.

Before continuing with the next documents and photos from 1990 to 2002, here is a copy of a letter dated 14 April 1948, from Dr. Ivan Kerno, who was Assistant to the Secretary-General Trygve Lie at the United Nations, and head of the legal department, giving his commendation of Vlado’s work. Dr. Kerno was instrumental in Vlado getting his position at the U.N., and was a good friend to the family.

Dr. Kerno’s son, Ivan, who was also a lawyer, would later help Vlado’s sister Olga in 1990, as they were both seeking restitution, and needed someone to investigate the status of their houses in Prague and Bratislava. This fax from Prague is addressed to Mr. Krno, dated 20 November 1990, from lawyer Dr. Jaroslav Sodomka. Dr. Sodomka writes that the Fabry house was “taken in 1951-52[the dates are handwritten over an area that looks whited-out] and later donated to the USSR (1955)[the date and parentheses are also handwritten over a whited-out area].”



“[…]As for Mrs. Burgett I shall also get the remaining extracts; here the problem is clear, be it under the small restitution law or under the rehabilitation law, the house will not be restituted as it became property of the USSR and the Czechoslovak government – probably the Ministry of Foreign Affairs – will have to provide the compensation.”

In response to this fax, Ivan Kerno writes to Sodomka, 7 December 1990:
“[…]please do not take any action with the authorities in connection with her house. She wants a restitution of her house, namely, to receive possession of the house, and is not interested in receiving a monetary compensation.
I have read in the New York Times this morning that the Czechoslovakian government has announced that it will compensate persons who have been politically persecuted or jailed under the former regime. This is a clear indication that the present government considers the actions of the former Communist government to have been illegal. It is also a definite precedent for the restitution of family homes which were illegally taken by the previous government and handed over to a foreign government.[…]”

This map shows our property in Bratislava, outlined in red:

From 3 January 1991, Sodomka once again writes to confirm that the house was confiscated in 1951, and donated to USSR in 1955:

“[…]As for your client Fabry, I think that it would be appropriate to address the demand for the restitution directly to the Chairman of the Slovak Government as it was the Slovak Government which has donated the house in 1955 to the USSR Government. This matter also is not touched by the small Restitution Law, the confiscation took place already in 1951 but I think that it would be appropriate to start to speak already now with the Slovak Government.[…]”

Olga Fabry returned to Czechoslovakia with her husband in June 1992, for the first time since her exile, to see the house. This next letter is dated 27 April 1992, and is addressed to Consul General Mr. Vladimir Michajlovic Polakov, Russian Consulate General, Bratislava:

“Dear Sir,
I would like to request an appointment with you on June 17th or 18th 1992 whichever would be convenient.
I plan to be in Bratislava at that time and would like to discuss with you matters pertaining to the villa that my parents built, where I was born and grew up and which now houses your Consulate.
I would greatly appreciate it if you would be kind enough to let me know in writing when I can see you. Thank you.
Sincerely,
Olga Burgett nee Fabry”

This is an undated letter from the Russian embassy in Bratislava(our house), the postal cancellation is hard to decipher but appears to be from June 5 1992, and there is a written note to “HOLD Away or on Vacation”. This may have arrived while Olga and her husband were already in Czechoslovakia – finding this waiting back home in New York, I can only imagine how she must have felt! This contradicts what Lawyer Sodomka told her, but it confirms Pavel’s testimony: the house was taken in 1948.

“Dear Mrs. Burgett,
With reference to your letter dated 27.04.1992 we inform you that at your request you have the opportunity to survey the villa while your stay in Bratislava. But we attract your attention to the fact that all the matters, pertaining to the right of property for the villa you should discuss with C.S.F.R. Foreign Office. Since 1948 the villa is the property of the Russian Federation and houses now Gen. cosulate[sic] of Russia.
Yours faithfully
Secretary of the Gen. consulate of Russia in Bratislava
S. Rakitin”

These photos were taken in June 1992, during Olga’s visit. The roses Maminka planted were still growing strong.





These two are undated, unmarked.

Lastly, the most recent photos I have, dated 25 July 2002, and the roses were still blooming.




When you search for images of the “Russian Embassy Bratislava”, you see the roses have all been removed now, and there is a new tiered fountain, but if you can ignore the flag of Russia and the gilded emblem of the federation hanging off the balustrade, it still looks like our house!

And now, because love is the reason I tell this story for my family, I leave you with my favorite photos of Pavel and Olga Fabry, who did so much good out of love!













Portrait of a Bachelor: 1951

Vlado with girls
At last, here are more love letters from Vlado. In 1951, he was just 31, so he was having a good time, dating lots of girls, and not interested in settling down to marriage. “Sweet Little Darling” is given more than a few hints about his need to be free, but her last letter to him is not until April of ’52; which I will include in the next post. Teckla M. Carlson (who has another letter here)was a travel agent from Spokane, who made friends with Vlado while travelling in Europe, and she appreciated his colorful letters, too. “Boka” was Vlado’s secretary and friend at the UN, and he seems to tell her everything – lucky for her, and us!

New York 22.8.51

My Sweet Little Darling,

Just a short note to let you know that I arrived well and that I am thinking of you all the time. I didn’t feel it maybe so strongly when my family was around me all the time, but now that I am on my own I realize how much you have become a part of myself and how it hurts to be separated from you. I am still not sure whether I love you enough to overcome in me the resistance against the taking of such a binding and definite step as a marriage is, and neither am I sure how lasting my feelings for you are and whether they would suffice to give me the power to transform myself into an understanding and forgiving creature for the long years of married life. But if longing for somebody’s presence is a sign of love, then it is a fairly strong one in my case. This longing is getting more constant and persistent now. Before it came mostly at special occasions, when I was seeing something that I would have liked you to see also, when I had some nice food or went to a good show, when the sun was shining and I felt like taking you out for a drive and stretching out at some flowery meadow, or (most often) when I was climbing into my lone bed. But now it is here all the time,- even while I am working I feel a compelling urge to dash out somewhere and meet you for a while, for a few words and for a few kisses.

My future is still as hazy and as muddled as it was when I was leaving. All the effort and goodwill that I tried to invest in my boss in Geneva seems to have dissipated into nothing – and not only am I in no position to choose an assignment which would bring me nearer to you (as I was half-ways promised in Geneva), but I will have a hard and uphill fight for maintaining my bare job. Things look quite bad here. Moreover, there are difficulties in my immigration status – they refused to admit me properly without a valid passport,- and unless I can do something about it I will be in a nice mess. Everything seems to be gone wrong since I have returned – even my driving licence is messed up, I had my third speeding ticket just before I left in 1949, I have forgotten all about it, but not the Bureau of Motor Vehicles which promptly suspended my licence and I just don’t know what I will be able to do about it. So you see, I need a bit of good luck or at least something to compensate me for all the adversities,- and now I am without you.

I am staying at the Beekman Tower Hotel, 3, Mitchell Place, New York 17, NY. It’s quite nice, high up in the clouds, with a view of the East River and most of New York, and only two blocks from my office. But the room is very small, I have no place to move around myself or my belongings, and it’s much too expensive in the long run. But without the possibility to drive I can’t go anywhere else. So you can still write me there for some time to come.

Otherwise there isn’t much about me to report. Write me soon, my Darling, if I cannot see you I long the more for something that would materially establish a nearer contact.

Love, Vlado

Great Neck 7/10/1951

My sweet Little Darling,

Here I was, waiting impatiently for a letter from you (nothing came since the one dated 9/9), and when it finally came, there were only 79 words in it, including date and signature. I was a bit disappointed, but then, I didn’t write any more since 3 September either, didn’t I? So I am trying out now whether the old maxim “if you want to receive long letters often, you must also write some from time to time yourself” will prove true, and I’m switching from the meager postcard diet to a fatter meal of a letter.

I was thinking a lot about you, specially the week you were alone in the house, and I was quite seriously thinking of inquiring at the KLM whether they had not some of their stewards sick so that I could get a job on the NY-A’dam run for two or three flights, preferably over the weekend. But then I remembered that stewards have to take care of babies and mothers on the plane, and I am quite sure that I would be no good at that,- and by the time I came around to thinking of some other possibility, the fortnight was over. So we have to postpone it for some other time – or maybe you could get yourself a job as a Stewardess – you would be awfully good at it, and you would have a rather nice house waiting for you at this end to receive you every time you land, with all the trimmings, including a pre-warmed bed if you still like to have it. Quite seriously, don’t you think it would be a nice job – you wouldn’t need to fuss over your shorthand, you could make good use of your language knowledge, helpfulness, and charming self, it would solve your travel-itch, and you might even land a nice husband if you should decide you want one (provided, of course, he wouldn’t mind that I would continue to see you).

Sorry I didn’t come around to send you some more of the pictures – I simply don’t find time to do anything. But it’s high up on my must list, to go to town and have some more enlargements made. I didn’t even touch my camera since I came back from Europe, and so you will also have to wait for snaps of the house. I also made a note to get hold of the “I am late, I am late” record.

I am quite pleased with life at my new place, and I am getting on quite well with my co-resident, mainly because I never see him. My housekeeper got very Americanized while I was away, she is grumbling if she has to work after dinner, and she made me a cheese-cake the other night with commercial cottage cheese, instead of making the cheese herself. But still, it’s quite pleasant to have every day one’s clothes freshly pressed and laid out, to have one’s food properly prepared, and to be rid of all the unpleasant worries about the small things of one’s home. It’s also nice to be out in the open country, near golf and riding stable, although sometimes I grumble a bit about having to drive every day a hundred kilometers through New York traffic to get to the office. It takes a bit too much time, and with social engagements, professional reading to catch on, and personal business to take care of, it leaves precious little time for myself. Most of it I spent unpacking, checking and rearranging my belongings – I never realized before I had such masses of them – and getting settled. Over weekends I played furiously golf, last week I managed to make 45 holes on one Saturday, wearing out two partners for 18 holes each, and making the last nine a solo. I also found a riding stable near-by, and twice got up at 5.30 for a stroll and canter before leaving for the office. I have to try hard to do something to keep my fat tummy down after the treats it gets every morning and dinner from my cook. I cut out lunches completely, but then I am having chops or a steak every morning on top of my ham-and-eggs, and Slovak desserts at dinner don’t constitute a reducing diet either. Yesterday I went swimming, and then made six miles in a brisk trot along the beach, until I had to admit shamefacedly to my companion, the girl [Boka.-TB] with whom I also usually play golf(by the way we are very old acquaintances, and she knows me much too much to think any good of me – to answer your question), that I couldn’t run any more (she couldn’t either, by the way, but was bluffing to stop me running first). And to-day it’s pouring cats and dogs, so I’m staying at home and will do some reading.

Last Monday I had a phone-call from a girl I met five years ago in Cuba. I had forgotten all about her in the meanwhile, and as she identified herself only by her first name, I had to leaf through stacks of old correspondence to find a reference to her second name when I went to call on her. After all, you cannot barge-in into the Waldorf Astoria and search for a Miss Coquitta Idontknowwhatelse. But I found the name finally, although it made me more than an hour late for my appointment. And she was a bit disappointed apparently that I didn’t quite respond to her temperament – well, I’m not quite the same as I used to be five years ago in Cuba, and besides she didn’t please me any more as much as she did then. You know the old story,- I have met somebody in the meanwhile whom I like so much, much more, and although I still am not above meeting another nice girl, and having fun with her, I think I ceased to be quite the “free agent” I used to be before. But it was quite an amusing game, keeping aloof and watching her getting more and more excited and temperamental as I continued to remain amiably and graciously, but correctly, polite.

The week before last I was invited to participate in a meeting of the so-called Czechoslovak National Council, where they were discussing their future policy. I got quite disgusted with some of the dear old politicians, they seen to have overslept some twenty years, or else being in a backward development and on their way to fossilization. But it was also quite pleasant to be for two evenings in a dream-like atmosphere, where the restitution of the old order in my home-country was a naturally accepted reality. I refused, however, to be dragged into any of the groups, and intend to remain independent and apart of emigree politics.

Well, I guess I made up in the size of my letter for the gap in correspondence. I am now awaiting eagerly a dozen of long, long and longing epistles from you.

Love, Vlado

Palace Hotel, Madrid, Spain
Oct. 19th 1951

Dear Vladimir,

I think so many times of our little trip from Geneva, Switzerland by train to Basel, by airliner to Brussels and our sight seeing trip together in Brussels. I lost your card with your new address so if you write me again please give it to me again. Have spent one month here already 8 days in Switzerland 10 days in Scand countries and 10 days in Spain now I leave tonight for Paris for one week and then to Jerusalem for 10 days. Then I go home, hope to be there by Nov. 15th if all goes well. Please do write to me in Spokane.

Your traveling companion, Teckla M. Carlson

Thursday night.

My sweet little Darling,

I could really slap myself into the face for the way I am behaving towards you. I just don’t deserve it that nice girls like you should care for me – and sometimes I wonder how you still manage to do so. When I am looking at my father and mother – both wonderful people, kind and human,- I can’t understand it where this nasty egotistic streak in me came from. In my better moments I fight against it and here and then I am even able to suppress it for awhile. But then it comes up again and somehow I always achieve to hurt most those people to whom I have most to thank for. I do realize my caddish behaviour, and it make me thoroughly unhappy, but I don’t seem to have enough willpower or stamina to make myself act otherwise – or at least not in time. I do want to do good, and at the end I usually wind up making a thorough mess of everything and spoiling everything. What a curse to have a devil like that warring inside!

And I hate the telephone. I was never very good at it, even for strictly business calls, but I never thought it could be so awkward and difficult to speak over it to somebody I love. I just simply couldn’t tell you any of those things I would have liked to – how much I miss you, how I long for your tenderness, for your love, for your companionship, for the fun and giggles we had together, how empty and lonely I feel sometimes, how I would like to talk to you, show you things and take you places, kiss you and hug you, feel your soft, warm and loving presence near me, touch your smooth skin, press you in my arms,- and many other things which I don’t even feel like writing. Instead I spent precious minutes in a silly argument. I loved to hear your voice – you sound terribly British over the phone, much more than when you speak to me directly – but it only made me realize to more your absence. My mind just refused to click properly, and I kept arguing around in circles. Oh darling, everything is so much easier when I can see you and be near you!

I don’t think, however that it would have made much sense to meet you here in Geneva. Apart from the complicated and expensive travel for you, the conditions and atmosphere under which I am living here would not have been conducive to a happy being together. My family is definitely jealous of you (or anybody else who “dares” to diminish by a few minutes the time which they can spend with me), I have work to do and duties towards my job to keep in mind, I would have been torn in between all this, and unable to behave humanely. You know how tense and upset I can get about such situations, and how unpleasantly I behave in such cases. We had such a nice time together, and I try frantically (and without success) not to do anything that would spoil the memories of it. Besides, I took an engagement for this weekend to go out with my new boss, and I simply could not cancel it now. I know it’s egotistic and nasty of me to state that to you, who has done everything for me – but that’s how I am, always looking for my own good more than for other people’s feelings.

I think it will be much more fun to be together in London – we will be all for ourselves, without anything to bother us except parting. The exposition is supposed to be quite good, we can go to some theaters together, and I already wrote to my friend there to get me some introductions into the poshier nightclubs – we will be finally able to “make the town” together. I phoned for accommodations immediately after I talked with you, they were full at the Cumberland, but I got two communicating rooms at the Grosvenor House. They are sending me also the theater plan so that I can make reservations in advance. Tomorrow I will get you your plane ticket – I will choose a late plane on Thursday night, so that you will arrive at about the same time as I, and you will miss only one day (Friday) in your office. I am leaving London Sunday morning, the latest possible plane which will bring me to New York in time for office on Monday,- and that gives us two full days and three nights,- except for a few hours on Friday when I will have to take care of some of my father’s business, and maybe an hour more to see my friend, whom I cannot completely disregard as he is arranging the nightclub introduction for me.

Darling, however much I am looking forward to the chance of being together with you, I would rather miss it than cause you thereby troubles and difficulties. I have no right to demand such things from you, and it would make me very unhappy and spoil our being together if it should be in any way detrimental to the relations with your family or to your good name. We must be reasonable about it. It’s all my fault, stubborn, egotistic bachelor-perseverance, but things being what they are we must face the consequences. So please, darling, think it over well, and don’t hesitate to cable me if you think you cannot make it.

It’s getting light outside and I better finish. I still have a contract to go through for my father, and a hard day tomorrow (or rather today) at the office. That’s all I can report about me – work; I did little else since I returned, haven’t been out anywhere except for a small drive with Mom and Sis on Sunday. And I am feeling very blue, unhappy and lonely without you!

Be happy, my sweet little darling.

Love, Vlado

11.11.1951.

Milá Boka,

I feel lonely without you – nemám sa ku komu íst poradiť a nemám nikoho na kom by mi záležalo a s kym by mi robilo radosť deliť sa o prijemné zážitky. Not that I would be short of girls,- but it’s not quite the same.

Tana I see quite often, and she looks quite well and moderately cheerful. She had been afraid she had stomach ulcers, but her doctor said she only had anemia / no wonder she has it, the way she is scared of fresh air and outdoor exercise/,- but personally I think it’s all just nervousness and quite an overdose of introspection. What she seems to need would be some boy-friends in whom she could get interested,- but she doesn’t seem to want it. I escorted her to a party of AirFrance people, and there were quite a few good lookers who showed interest in her, but she just sat in her corner and didn’t seem interested at all. Well, somebody might come one day and sweep her off her feet, I only hope it will be a boy who will appreciate her and who will be worthy of her. I am going again to visit her this afternoon; I am giving a dinner to her boss / Mrs. Eshaya/ and she wants me to meet another Roumanian girl whom I should also invite. But you will probably hear more from herself.

My weekend in Boston was very successful – I was invited to a family in one of the very nice residential suburbs, and they had five girls in the house / age 1 to 22/, plus two more whom they asked to come for the occasion. Although it’s only a few miles from the city, they have very nice unbroken forests all around, and I spent most of Saturday cutting a trail through them. I also met a rather fascinating divorcee from the Gardiner family, and to my great surprise she appeared at the last moment at the train and traveled with us coach although she had a Pullman ticket. She asked me to call her up at her New York apartment – but she is not in the phone book and the operator could not locate a phone at the given address. So I don’t really know what to think of it. I would have had no time to do it anyhow, I had socially a very busy time. Rhoda Neilson / my friend’s from Djakarta who are divorcing/ came to New York and we saw each other a lot. I also made friends with an English girl, who seems to be quite taken by me, and very pleasant company, and with a Swedish-born American, who plays double for somebody in Seventeen, who probably doesn’t care a bit for me but who is a master in the art of making one feel that she is enjoying his company. Besides, she is physically exactly the type for which I go.

I didn’t play much golf since you left, the weather was not too good. I planned to go yesterday / and it is one of those lovely Indian Summer days/, but then I started raking leaves in the garden, collecting wood for the fire-place, and doing similar chores, and it kept me busy until after dinner. Last Saturday we had the first snow – it melted quickly here, but was beautiful upstate where I went for a drive.

Tana Makovická sent the copy of the letter from Schwelb to Dr. K., but she wouldn’t let me have a look at it. She only told me it is not hopeless; but I did not see any vacancy listed any more in the new edition of the bestseller. The P-3 in Trusteeship, territorial research division, is still posted as vacant, also a job in the Narcotics Division / P-3/, about which I had told Dr. K. Friday afternoon. I received a reply from Barbosa about the job in the Reports Division of TAA – informing me that my application was not successful in the Junior Promotion Board. I will try to find out why, and will try to see what else I could get there. From your end I would appreciate to look after the Trusteeship job and see whether I could get anywhere in Human Rights. If not, let me know please and I will ask Dr. K. to see Steinig about the post in Narcotics. Also please check on Olga about jobs in Green’s office and in Economic Affairs in general, and on jobs in the Refugee office. And let me know what the score is, please.

How are you doing? – And how is Costi?, give him please my very, very best, I’m really sorry that I cannot see him, but then, he is probably much happier in Paris than he would be here right now anyhow. And how do you like Olga / but honestly/, do you think she ever will be able to stand pat on her own feet and make headway, or do you consider her rather the protection-requiring type? I hope she is not too much nuisance for you. You may meet my mother too, there was an indication in her last letter that she might go to Paris to have a look if everything is OK. I hope they will let you alone, though,- I remember how you “liked” “stará” [translation: “old lady” or “old girl”.-TB] and I surely would hate it to see my family included into the same category.

Thanks for your nice little missile from Halifax – it cheered me up a lot. Write to me again soon, please.

All the best in everything, Vlado

Great Neck, New York 2.12.51.

Milá Boka,

Thank you for the birthday wishes – really sweet of you not to forget about it! You really make me feel ashamed, I tried to rake my brain but I forget completely when your birthday comes up. Will have to do some sneaking in AW’s files to find out.

I am glad you are getting on alright with my sis – I was a little bit nervous how it would work out and scared that my family would encroach upon you / you know I do not want too much competition/. She didn’t write me a line yet / neither did I/,- but antiscribitis runs apparently in the family. Is she still épris by her Dutchman or did she get somebody else for a change in her silly-sweet little head? I hope you impress her with the advisability of looking after sausage kings, specially Latin American ones. And how are your chances looking – or is it still and always The Only One, and no turns allowed while the light is green?/ Is it green, by the way?/ I have quieted down a bit, my divorcee went back to Chicago, and I never found the other one. Also skipped the would-be-actress, it was nice for a change, but it would have probably run into too much money if I would have tried to keep it up. The English girl is still around, we usually drive out together Saturday or Sunday, and have dinner here, and about once a week I have dinner at her apartment in Manhattan when her room-mate is out. My girl-friend from Holland is coming to Paris on the eleventh, I asked her to look up Olga, so you can also look her over a bit and tell me what you think of her. If only she was like you are, or only if you loved me like she does, my household problems would greatly advance towards a satisfactory solution. Still, my private life is not unsatisfactory at the moment, although I am spending more money on food and expenses than I thought I would, and I just don’t find the time to do all the things I want. The approach of Christmas is worrying me a bit, all the cards I will have to send, and the gifts – although I think I will not give gifts to anybody but my family and Helenka, don’t you agree?

I am also getting a bit worried about my job since the end of the year approaches and I don’t know whether you can carry me on after that. I saw Barbosa, but he was not hopeful at all. Hausner is also gone. Do you know anything about the Human Rights job, or is that out? And what about Trusteeship? I saw Lande from Narcotics again and took him out to lunch, he told me that the post in his Division is still not filled, but that it is entirely up to Steinig to decide. Could you please let me know how things stand at your end? Balinski is coming back by the end of the year, and I am sure that Krczkiewicz[sp?-TB] will try to push him into the trusteeship job, so if something is to be done, it has to happen before he returns. Did Olga find out anything about jobs in Economics or in the Refugee office?

I didn’t see too much of Tana the last two weeks, but I have two dates with her for the next. I phone her from time to time, and was glad /and rather surprised/ to hear lately that she feels physically fit. Your Daddy being with her helps probably to make her forget her troubles. It also rather surprised me that she likes to…

…and the letter cuts off here on a humorous and somewhat intriguing note. She likes to…what?
I will be publishing the letters of 1952 next, so I hope you are as amused and enamored by the private life of Vlado as I am, and will return to read more.

Friends Around the World

After I posted yesterday, I learned that Lucy T. Briggs was the daughter of Ellis O. Briggs; an Ambassador for 37 years to many countries, including Czechoslovakia; and sister to Everett Briggs. Lucy became the third member of her family to join the career Foreign Service in August 1957, and her brother, Everett, joined the year before. Vlado most likely knew Ellis Briggs, and that’s why Lucy sent him chocolates and the stuffed Bambi before she’d even met him. From the other letters I found from Lucy, the relationship doesn’t appear to be anything but friendly. I suppose when your work takes you all over the world, it’s good to have friends in many places.
Here is a letter from the UN in Indonesia, asking Vlado to meet with Miss Wiendriati Ernestina Soehadi, who was working at the Indonesian Delegation to the United Nations(click images to read):
Letter to Vlado from Indonesia
This letter comes from a place closer to my home, from Spokane, Washington, written by owner and manager of Broberg Travel Agency Teckla M. Carlson:
Letter From Teckla Carlson
And here is a letter from Vlado to Teckla, dated December 19, 1951, describing his experience of arriving at the Tibetan border the very day the Chinese Communists came to take it:

Dear Mrs. Carlson,
It was so sweet of you to remember me when you went again to Europe, and to send me a letter from your trip. I hope you had a lovely time, and brought back with you many pleasant memories. I regret only that I did not know of your trip, I would have liked to give you the address of my parents and sister in Geneva and suggest that you use my car while you were in Switzerland,- you can see so much more while travelling independently on the road. Please let me know next time!
I left the Indonesian mission in May – I was quite glad to leave the country after having spent three and a half years there. I should not be ungrateful really, it was a very valuable experience, and I had many thrilling moments and adventures, but three and a half years is a long time to spend without friends, accustomed amenities, and access to culture and professional education sources. To make it worse, the tropical climate disagreed with my constitution, I had a number of annoying local diseases, and came back 56 lb lighter than I departed. On the way back, I visited Indochina, Macao, Thailand and Burma, and spent some time in India. I made a trek to the Himalayas from Darjeeling, and luck had it that I arrived at the Tibetan frontier post on the day when the Chinese Communist officers arrived to take it over following the surrender of Tibet to the new Chinese rulers. I had planned to sneak at least for a short look-around into the Land of Monasteries, but the sight of the Red Stars rather damped my enthusiasm, and I limited myself to cross symbolically with one foot – and even that I did rather cowardly at a place screened from the sight of the frontier guards by a big rock.
In Europe, accompanied by my family, I toured by car Skandinavia beyond the Polar Circle, the Low Countries, and France and Italy. I arrived in New York late in August, and returned to my regular duties in the UN Legal Department. My home and office addresses are on top of this letter. There is not too much to be written about my life here – after the excitements of my mission assignments and of my travels it is a mere routine. I rented a house in the suburbs, recaptured my cook-housekeeper from the people to whom I had “sublet” her during my absence, renewed my relationships with former acquaintances, and in general live the well ordered life of the Suburban Commuter. When you pass through New York next time, please stop and see for yourself.
I am wishing you a Merry Christmas and all the best in the New Year, and hope to see you or at least hear of you soon.
Sincerely yours,
Vladimir Fabry

Update 9/12/13: “Crash Victim Known in City” (from the Spokane Daily Chronicle Sept. 19. 1961, p.24)

Vladimir Fabry, killed in the plane crash that claimed the life of Dag Hammarskjold yesterday in Northern Rhodesia, visited Spokane three years ago.

Fabry, U.S. legal adviser to the United Nations in the Congo is a close friend of Teckla M Carlson, N1727 Atlantic, and he and his sister, Olga, also a UN employee, were her house guests in 1958.

A travel agent, Mrs. Carlson first met Fabry in 1949 at Geneva after he had succeeded in having his father released from a concentration camp. The Spokane woman said they have exchanged letters since that time.