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Slovakia – Not many people even know it exists let alone where it's located

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

But it's very important to me

It’s not Slovenia or Slovonia but rather the eastern half of the old Czechoslovakia.

After the fall of the Soviet Union, the “Velvet Divorce” (Jan 1, 1993) split the Czech Republic from the Slovak Republic, all very amicably. This was a very different result than occurred in the old Yugoslavia which experienced much violence and bloodshed as new countries were formed.

Bratislava is the capital of Slovakia and we only had enough time here for a tour of the old town, lunch and for me to buy this hat.

The country is important to me for another reason. My grandparents immigrated to the USA from Slovak villages in 1900 and 1907. At that time all of this area was part of the Austria-Hungarian Empire and ruled by Vienna and Budapest.

I’ve been to Bratislava before. It was here that in 2008 I met my Slovak cousins after no contact between the families in over 70 years.

The 2 older women in this photo are my first cousins. We share a common grandfather. He immigrated to the USA after the death of his wife. His 2 sons were grown when he married my grandmother, a widow with 4 children. My mother was their only child.

After much research I found my relatives and they showed me a picture of my grandfather who died in Slovakia in 1935 on a visit to his first family

This was the first time I ever saw a picture of him.

He had 15 grandchildren and 14 of them always knew each other. Finally I, number 15, got to know them too. We’ve stayed in touch since then.

1935 was the middle of the Depression. Then came WWII when their village was a battleground. This was followed by the Communist era.

Communication is so much easier now. We have the Internet!
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