Monthly Archives: April 2013

Statement of Samuel Bellus, November 30, 1956

I don’t know who Samuel Bellus is yet, but here is his statement on behalf of Mrs. Olga Fabry – Vlado’s mother:

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.

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Letter of Appointment to the UN, 1946

I am just beginning to learn about the first UN Secretary-General, Trygve Lie, who resigned from his office on November 10, 1952, after seven years of service.
On April 7, 1953, Trygve Lie stepped down and Swedish diplomat Dag Hammarskjold was elected UN Secretary-General. The transcript of the General Assembly that day is most interesting, if only to see how different the view of Soviets are from the rest of the assembly in their response to the resignation of Mr. Lie.
In 1950, the UN General Assembly voted to extend Lie’s term for another 3 years, but the Soviet Union refused to recognize Lie as Secretary-General because of his support of the UN intervention in Korea in 1950 (The Soviets didn’t get along with Hammarskjold either, and wanted to have “troika” at the UN, rather than just the one Secretary-General, because they believed Hammarskjold was a puppet of the US).
Trygve Lie also lost his support from the United States, after Senator Joseph McCarthy accused him of appointing staff “disloyal” to the US. Perhaps McCarthy didn’t like that Lie once gave Leon Trotsky permission to settle in Norway after he was exiled from the Soviet Union. In any case, Joe McCarthy was insane, and he was the one disloyal to the US – he didn’t care who he destroyed for his own political gain.
And on that note, here is a scan of Vladimir Fabry’s appointment to the UN in 1946, signed by Trygve Lie.
(click photo to enlarge)
Vlado UN letter of appointment

Statement of Dr. Fedor Hodza

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.

Patrice Lumumba Independence Day Speech, June 30, 1960

On June 30, 1960, Patrice Lumumba, the first democratically elected Prime Minister of the Republic of the Congo, gave this speech. I feel everyone should know it.
Translation from the Friends of the Congo website:

Men and women of the Congo,
Victorious fighters for independence, today victorious, I greet you in the name of the Congolese Government. All of you, my friends, who have fought tirelessly at our sides, I ask you to make this June 30, 1960, an illustrious date that you will keep indelibly engraved in your hearts, a date of significance of which you will teach your children, so that they will make known to their sons and to their grandchildren the glorious history of our fight for liberty.
For this independence of the Congo, even as it is celebrated today with Belgium, a friendly country with whom we deal as equal to equal, no Congolese worthy of the name will ever be able to forget that it was by fighting that it has been won [applause], a day-to-day fight, an ardent and idealistic fight, a fight in which we were spared neither privation nor suffering, and for which we gave our strength and our blood.
We are proud of this struggle, of tears, of fire, and of blood, to the depths of our being, for it was a noble and just struggle, and indispensable to put an end to the humiliating slavery which was imposed upon us by force.
This was our fate for eighty years of a colonial regime; our wounds are too fresh and too painful still for us to drive them from our memory. We have known harassing work, exacted in exchange for salaries which did not permit us to eat enough to drive away hunger, or to clothe ourselves, or to house ourselves decently, or to raise our children as creatures dear to us.
We have known ironies, insults, blows that we endured morning, noon, and evening, because we are Negroes. Who will forget that to a black one said “tu”, certainly not as to a friend, but because the more honorable “vous” was reserved for whites alone?
We have seen our lands seized in the name of allegedly legal laws which in fact recognized only that might is right.
We have seen that the law was not the same for a white and for a black, accomodating for the first, cruel and inhumane to the other.
We have witnessed atrocious sufferings of those condemned for their political opinions or religious beliefs; exiled in their own country, their fate truly worse than death itself.
We have seen that in the towns their were magnificent houses for the whites and crumbling shanties for the blacks, that a black was not admitted in the motion picture houses, in the restaurants, in the stores of the Europeans; that a black traveled in the holds, at the feet of the whites in their luxury cabins.
Who will ever forget the massacres where so many of our brothers persihed, the cells into which those who refused to submit to a regime of oppression and exploitation were thrown [applause]?
All that, my brothers, we have endured.
But we, whom the vote of your elected representatives have given the right to direct our dear country, we who have suffered in our body and in our heart from colonial oppression, we tell you very loud, all that is henceforth ended.
The republic of the Congo has been proclaimed, and our country is now in the hands of its own children.
Together, my brothers, my sisters, we are going to begin a new struggle, a sublime struggle, which will lead our country to peace, prosperity, and greatness.
Together, we are going to establish social justice and make sure everyone has just renumeration for his labor [applause].
We are going to show the world what the black man can do when he works in freedom, and we are going to make of the Congo the center of the sun’s radiance for all of Africa.
We are going to keep watch over the lands of our country so that they truly profit her children. We are going to restore ancient laws and make new ones which will be just and noble.
We are going to put an end to suppression of free thought and see to it that all our citizens enjoy to the full the fundamental liberties foreseen in the Declaration of the Rights of Man [applause].
We are going to do away with all discrimination of every variety and assure for each and all the position to which human dignity, work, and dedication entitles him.
We are going to rule not by the peace of guns and bayonets but by a peace of the heart and the will [applause].
And for all that, dear fellow countrymen, be sure that we will count not only on our enormous strength and immense riches but on the assistance of numerous foreign countries whose collaboration we will accept if it is offered freely and with no attempt to impose on us an alien culture of no matter what nature [applause].
In this domain, Belgium, at last accepting the flow of history, has not tried to oppose our independence and is ready to give us their aid and their friendship, and a treaty has just been signed between our two countries, equal and independent. On our side, while we stay vigilant, we shall respect our obligations, given freely.
Thus, in the interior and the exterior, the new Congo, our dear Republic that my government will create, will be a rich, free, and prosperous country. But so that we will reach this aim without delay, I ask all of you, legislators and citizens, to help me with all your strength.
I ask all of you to forget your tribal quarrels. They exhaust us. They risk making us despised abroad.
I ask the parliamentary minority to help my Government through a constructive opposition and to limit themselves strictly to legal and democratic channels.
I ask all of you not to shrink before any sacrifice in order to achieve the success of our huge undertaking.
In conclusion, I ask you unconditionally to respect the life and the property of your fellow citizens and of foreigners living in our country. If the conduct of these foreigners leaves something to be desired, our justice will be prompt in expelling them from the territory of the Republic; if, on the contrary, their conduct is good, they must be left in peace, for they also are working for our country’s prosperity.
The Congo’s independence marks a decisive step towards the liberation of the entire African continent [applause].
Sire, Excellencies, Mesdames, Messieurs, my dear fellow countrymen, my brothers of race, my brothers of struggle– this is what I wanted to tell you in the name of the Government on this magnificent day of our complete independence.
Our government, strong, national, popular, will be the health of our country.
I call on all Congolese citizens, men women and children, to set themselves resolutely to the task of creating a prosperous national economy which will assure our economic independence.
Glory to the fighters for national liberation!
Long live independence and African unity!
Long live the independent and sovereign Congo!

Vlado and Guapa Mia

This is one of many letters from Vlado to “Guapa Mia” in Madrid (He writes to her in English, she writes back to him in French), dated 28/7/1953:

Guapa Mia,
This time it is not entirely my fault for not writing so long,- I had to wait for your new address in Madrid. June was a very bad month for me; lots of work, financial worries caused by the declining/ and sometimes plummeting/ stock market, a round of social functions and the heat added to my natural antipathy to writing, and by the time I decided that I simply MUST make myself to write, I realized that it was too late for the letter to reach you in Geneva.
I was glad to hear that you have taken so well to your new “part-time” job/ I would never admit that to work six hours a day could be considered full employment/- and I am sure that under the brilliant sun and society of Madrid you will shine even more than ever with radiant beauty. Also, I believe, the gallant and temperamental caballeros will be a more deserving background against which your charm can find the proper appreciation, than Geneva’s dullish “burghers”. Spain seems to be in a big vogue among the city’s smart set, everybody who is somebody seems to be on his or hers way there this year, I wonder whether they have already learned that you have moved there?- I get stinking mad every time I learn of some lucky bird who is on his way to fly over, and wish to be in his place. But no luck,- with the special session of the General Assembly due in August, I will have no vacation at all this summer.
I got bitten by a reading bug lately – all my free evenings this month I spent here in my office/ which is air-conditioned, cool and dry/ reading and average of one book per evening. I reread Ortega y Gassett‘s Revolt of the Masses yesterday, and found it/ apart from fascinating reading/ a wonderful apology for my way of life. It looks as if he had exactly known what my thoughts, ambitions and ways of life will be when he depicted the non-common man and I found great comfort in his philosophy. It’s a pity that more people do not agree with his ideas, I might be better off if they would. Otherwise I am in the throes of my periodically recurring struggle to find absolute moral standards of behavior by reason – a wearisome substitute for faith or the ability to conform to conventions. This time I am following the approach of analyzing the progress of life in the universe, mans position in it, the characteristics by which his development to the present position was achieved,- and trying to deduce from the past road the direction in which the road ahead should lie, and which landmarks to take as guides. It’s all much more complicated than simply being able to accept revelations, dogmas of a church or the party-line, but it also is much more satisfactory.
As far as my body is concerned, I am trying to make up the enforced lack of exercise/ I can’t go riding in this heat, and living in the city I do not have the possibility to go for a round of golf before coming to the office/ by a strict reducing diet. I have only half-a-dozen oranges, a steak, or some chops, and two or three eggs in the morning,- no pancakes, bacon or ham, and no bread, butter or marmalade,- nothing for lunch except, if I am working late, some yogurt or fruit in the afternoon and lots of coffee without sugar, and only meat or fish, raw vegetables, salad or fruit for dinner,- no potatoes, soup, cheese or dessert,- and I drink skimmed milk with my meat instead of wine or beer. I lost 27 lb in the last five weeks, and can count all my ribs now. The only thing that throws me back from time to time is if I am invited to dinner- but everybody has left town now for holidays, so it does not happen more often than once or twice a week.
Most of my weekends i spend lately within 200 miles of New York,- somehow I lost enthusiasm for moving around. Only once I went to Northern Maine, some 1000 km from here, where friends of mine have bought an island with the most beautiful forests of huge pine trees, and marvelous cliffs falling hundreds of meters into the open Atlantic Ocean. They keep there a horse-breeding farm and have excellent thoroughbreds, a small fleet of yachts and sailing boats, and a small private golf-course, so there is plenty of things to do there during the weekend. They have five daughters, which all had their boy-friends visiting them/ I am a friend of the parents and was rather peeved at the deferrent and respectful way with which they treated me, as if I was fifty and not thirty-two/; each of the girls has her own little house, the three eldest had theirs completed last year, and the other two are being built this year from prefabricated parts, all is done without the help of a single laborer or architect. I helped in putting up the roof of one house and installing bathroom plumbing in the other. So it was quite instructive, apart from being good fun and a bit of muscle stretching.
Well, that’s about all that is to be reported about the dull life of an old bachelor. I am now looking forward to hear more how you are getting on. By the way, my parents send me your most amusing letter in which you described how you were tested in the office, I received it the same day as your letter directly to me.
With best wishes of much happiness,- and be good.
Love and Kisses,
Vlado

Letters of Condolence

So much of my time is spent sorting through a lot of dusty old papers, but what amazing things I find. Here is a telegram from the first African-American Nobel Peace Prize winner, Ralph Bunche – political scientist, academic and diplomat – with a message from the King of Sweden (Bunche’s work includes the creation and adoption of the UN Declaration of Human Rights):
(click photos to enlarge)
Fabry Condolence 1

And this letter – I’m not sure who Major General Amin Hilmey II is, but perhaps someone reading this will give me a clue:
Fabry Condolence 2

UNOC Leopoldville, Republic of Congo, 1961

Fabry Archive - Selected Photographs (86)
(Vlado the mountain climber – click photo to enlarge)
After the death of Vlado Fabry on September 18, 1961, there were many letters of condolence sent to Mrs. Fabry, Vlado’s mother, from around the world. One such letter I found recently, written on UNOC stationary, is from the Italian United Nations legal expert Giorgio Pagnanelli, posted from the UNOC in Leopoldville, Republic of Congo, October 10, 1961. Only a month later, on November 11 or 12, 1961, 13 Italian airmen, members of the UNOC working to maintain peace, were brutally murdered by Congolese troops; Giorgio Pagnanelli was asked to make a report on the 13 murdered men for U.N. Security Council.

Dear Mrs. Fabry,
Please do accept my apologies for the delay in answering your letter.
Vlado’s death has left such a vacuum which will be very difficult to fill. I still cannot adapt myself to the tragic reality and sometimes I refuse to accept it. Dr. [Sture] Linner told me of your brief encounter in Geneva. I trust that Vlado’s belongings and papers have already reached you.
I am enclosing herewith a few things which were very dear to Vlado – a poster, showing his beloved mountains [Tatras] – which I gave to him and he had in his office – I enclose also an edelweiss – Vlado brought it back from his short visit in Switzerland: he kept it in a little vase in front of your picture (a color photograph taken in the mountains). [The edelweiss was still in the envelope!-T]
I am also sending newspapers and other publications.
Dear Mrs. Fabry, it is very true , indeed, that nothing could console the soul of a loving mother in a lost (sic) of her son; words or expressions of sympathy are within [indecipherable word] limits but sorrow goes hither and beyond these terms – I wish to say, however, that whenever I am tired, disappointed or frustrated in a job where we are expected to accomplish [indecipherable word], I remember Vlado, his courage, his strength, his belief in right things, his devotion to the U.N., then I feel that I should try to be like him – this feeling is shared by many here in the ONUC. As the New York Times pointed out, he was “a one man brain trust”. Since his arrival he organized, analyzed, solved every political, legal, administrative problem. People here used to say: “All right, we do not know the answer, let us ask Dr. Fabry”. He found it.
Vlado spoke very often of his “Mamuska” and his sister Olga. Once I told him that his mother would not have liked to see him working 19 hours a day; he simply answered: “Yes, I know, but she would understand”. On Sundays he used to take some exercise – He ran for one or two hours around the golf [?] court then arrived at the office saying that he had taken a little walk….
Dear Mrs. Fabry, Unfortunately I do not have a picture of Vlado. Once he showed me one with his beloved parents (a color photo where he is seated on the armchair with his father) – if you have an extra picture of Vlado, I’d like very much to have it.
Please do not hesitate to write me for anything you might desire.
Affectionately,
Giorgio Pagnanelli

Leg. Officer UNOC
Le Royal
Room 650
Leopoldville, Congo

The following is an excert from the NYT article “U.N. BRACES FOR ITS CONGO TASK”, by Henry Tanner, dated September 24, 1961:

Dr. Sture C. Linner, the head of the United Nations mission … lost his private secretary and, in Dr. Vladimir Fabri[sic] he lost what he had once called his “one-man brain trust”. Dr. Fabri officially the legal councilor, had in fact been the mission’s thinker who analyzed events and suggested decision.

Dr. Sture Linner was also on the plane headed to Leopoldville, but Hammarskjold told him that he was needed in Kinshasa; so he stayed behind, and escaped the tragic fate of the others.

I would like to add one more excerpt from the September 29, 1961 edition of SECRETARIAT NEWS, from the U.N. Headquarters in New York; which includes the obituaries of William Ranallo, Heinrich A. Wieschhoff, Alice Lalande, Serge L. Barrau, Harold M. Julien, Francis Eivers, as well as Vlado, who is remembered here:

To his more difficult tasks Dr. Fabry brought the disciplined energy, courage, and careful preparation characteristic of a serious mountain climber–which, in fact, he was.
An enthusiastic sportsman–expert skier and horseman as well as mountaineer–Dr. Fabry was concerned to share these interests and, far from scorning the beginners or less agile among his friends and co-workers, encouraged them. He himself frequently enjoyed a solitary climb to his office on the thirty-fourth floor, a feat discovered by a colleague who, after seeing him emerge from a staircase door, jokingly asked whether he had walked upstairs, and was answered with a quick smile and “yes”.