Tag Archives: Czechoslovakia

Letters from Fraňo Tiso

Who was Fraňo Tiso? When I first posted the image of his postcard to Vlado here, back in March of 2013, I was frankly too horrified to consider that he could be any relation to Jozef Tiso, that there were probably lots of people with the last name of Tiso. But considering the political connections that Vlado and Pavel had, that Fraňo was the former Slovak Ambassador to the Soviet Union, and that I also have letters from Fraňo to Pavel concerning his communication with Franz Karmasin (letters from Karmasin posted here), this Fraňo was very likely the cousin of Jozef Tiso; he is mentioned briefly in James Mace Ward’s “Priest, Politician, Collaborator: Jozef Tiso and the Making of Fascist Slovakia” (published 2013, Cornell University Press); from chapter 7, “Sacred Convictions, 1939-44”, page 206:

“Although still pro-German, [Jozef] Tiso also wanted greater independence, a desire that led to a sharp foreign policy turn: détente with the Soviet Union. In addition to general issues of sovereignty, the economics of German domination increasingly troubled him. His idea of the state was for “national” property to come into Slovak hands. Instead, German-held shares in Slovakia’s industry exploded to over half in 1942. The Reich meanwhile consumed around three-quarters of Slovak exports, paying in devalued credits instead of hard cash. Seeking relief from such economic dependence and exploitation, Ďurčanský as foreign minister looked east. Diplomatic ties with the Communist state offered markets, an ally for revising the Vienna Award, and the prestige of Great Power recognition. Despite a lifetime of anti-bolshevism, Tiso supported the strategy. He later claimed to have welcomed the 1939 Hitler-Stalin Pact, expecting it to facilitate the solution of “European questions” on the basis of the ethnic principle. In his first presidential address, he proposed Slovakia as “a mediator…between…the Slavic and German worlds.” Soon, he was courting “extensive economic relations” with the Soviets not only by exchanging ambassadors (sending to Moscow his cousin Fraňo) but even by congratulating Stalin on the anniversary of the October Revolution.”

More about Fraňo and Jozef Tiso is mentioned in David S. Wyman’s book “The World Reacts to the Holocaust” (published 1996, Johns Hopkins University Press):

“The fate of the Jewish population had been given more attention in Slovakia than in the Czech lands, mainly because of the involvement and complicity of the clero-fascist Slovak regime, headed by the Catholic priest-president Dr. Jozef Tiso. The role played by the Catholic clergy in Slovakia during World War II conformed with the antireligious propaganda of the Communist Party.

The initial attempt to review the birth of the Slovak state was made by the pre-war minister of justice Ivan Dérer, in his Slovenský vývoj a ľudácká zrada, fakta, vzpomínky a úvahy (The Slovak state and the treachery of the L’udaks: Facts, memories, and thoughts). The first writer to set a novel against the backdrop of the years of Slovak independence was Dominik Tatarka in his Farská republika (The Parish republic). Tatarka depicted the misguided policy and the corrupt leadership that ultimately led to the wholesale deportation and destruction of the Jewish population. Other authors, such as Hela Volanská and Katerína Lazarová, portrayed the heroic stance of Jewish participants in the Slovak National Uprising. The History of Modern Slovakia, the first in-depth study to disclose the policy of the Nazi puppet regime and to describe at great length the persecution of Slovak Jewry, was published in New York in 1955 by Dr. Jozef Lettrich, a chairman of the Slovak National Council who had fled after the Communist coup. The role of the Hlinka Guard and the Jewish plight were analyzed by Imrich Staňek, himself a survivor, in the 1958 Zrada a pád: hlinkovští separatisté a tak zvaný Slovenský stát (Treachery and downfall: The Hlinka separatists and the so-called Slovak state), written from a strictly Marxist-Leninist viewpoint.

The capture of Adolf Eichmann in May 1960 by the Mossad and his subsequent trial in Jerusalem were widely covered in the national press and media. Eichmann, notorious for engineering the deportation of both Czech and Slovak Jewry, was of major interest to the local population. (He had commuted between Berlin and Prague, where he resided in the elegant, confiscated Rosenthal villa, in the Střešovice district.) The Czech and Slovak press sent special reporters to cover the proceedings of the trial. One of these reporters, the writer Ladislav Mňačko, later published a book portraying Eichmann’s satanic role in the Holocaust. The testimonies given at the trial by survivors appeared frequently in the press and in Věstník ŽNO, the weekly bulletin of the Jewish Religious Communities in Prague. Many of these related to the wholesale deportation of Slovak Jewry orchestrated by the [Jozef] Tiso regime. During one of the sessions of the trial Eichmann’s claim that “the Slovaks gave away their Jews as one spills sour beer,” from Life magazine’s interview with him, was quoted. Widely repeated in the international press, this assertion provoked reactions among leading Slovak figures in exile. The Munich-based Fraňo Tiso, in an effort to whitewash the Slovak wartime leadership, published an article in which he stressed the endeavors of the “moderate parish regime” to save Jews from deportation. In response, Edo Friš took up the topic in the article “In the Background was Heydrich,” published in the Bratislava weekly Kultúrny život. The controversy focused on the visit of SS Obergruppenführer Reinhard Heydrich to Bratislava on April 10, 1942. Friš challenged [Frano] Tiso’s claim that the reason for Heydrich’s visit was to pressure the Slovak government to continue implementing the Final Solution. Citing documents referred to in The Destruction of Slovak Jewry, published some months earlier, Friš stressed the initiative and involvement of the Slovak leaders in the mass deportation of Jews; the aim of Heydrich’s visit, Friš added, was to assist the Slovak government in formulating a fallacious reply to the Vatican’s March 14, 1942, protest against the deportation of Jews. This was the first discussion of this sensitive issue in more than a decade.”

Here is another perspective of Fraňo Tiso, from the article “Slovak Historians In Exile In North America, 1945-1992” (published 1996), written by M. Mark Stolarik, Chair of Slovak History and Culture, University of Ottawa, Canada:

“Finally, another émigré journalist briefly settled in the Dominion and produced a significant work of scholarship. He was Dr. Fraňo Tiso (1894-1974), the former Slovak Ambassador to the Soviet Union between 1939 and 1941. Tiso fled Slovakia in 1945 and settled in Canada in 1950. In spite of his advanced age, he studied at the University of Montreal and in 1956 earned a Ph.D. in history. He published a portion of his dissertation on “The Empire of Samo, 623-658” in 1960. In 1957 he moved to West Germany where he edited the newspaper Slobodné Slovensko until his death.”

Obviously, I am very unsettled that I have these letters, I don’t know what to make of them yet, but I am publishing them here because I want to know the truth about the Fabrys, even if it shatters my whole lovely narrative about them – this is about history and not fiction.

Frano Tiso-P.Fabry doc. 2-19-59 1
Frano Tiso-P.Fabry doc. 2-19-59 2

ZÁPIS

V snahe, v terajšej vážnej, pre vývin udalostí v Strednej Europe smerodatnej dobe, podniknúť všetko, čo by nášmu ujarmenému slov národu pre jeho budúcnosť zo štátotvorného stanoviska prospešné bolo a v snahe vyjasniť si mnohé nesprávné tvrdenia, ba i obvinenia vedúcich činiteľov počas trvania Slovenského štátu – stretli sa v Mníchove v dňoch 18. a 19. februára 1959 v Hoteli Bayerischer Hof členovia Exilu a to Frant. TISO, predseda Slov. Národnej Rady v Zahraničí, odb. pre Spolkovú Nem. Republiku so sídlom v Mníchove a Dr. Pavel FABRY, t.č. v Ženeve a vo voľnej, viac hodín trvajúcej rozprave prejednali všetky aspekty vážnejších udalostí, ktoré od roku 1918 na osud slov. národa vliv maly.
Uľahčila tento rozhovor tá okolnosť, že sa Dr Fabrymu podarilo zachrániť vážne, pôvodné dokumenty historického významu z rokov 1918 – 1920, poťažne z rokov 1944 – 1948., a ktoré v jeho, v práve chystanej knihe prejednávané budú.
V rámci tohoto rozhovoru oboznámil Dr Fábry, Frant. Tisu s niektorými vážnými dokladmi, pri čom váhu kládol na dokumenty jeho jednania ako Povereníka Slov. Národnej Rady v roku 1918 o zabezpečenia samobytosti Slov. národa.
Taktiež si držal za vážnu povinnosť oboznámiť Fr. Tisu s pôvodnou dokumentáciou zásahou nácistických orgánov z Nemecka, Gestapa a Sicherheitsdienstu ako i nem. nácistických Sekretariátov, ktoré náležite vyvracajú v konkretných prípadoch, menovite posledne sa javiacu tendenciu, akoby tieto zásahy smerujúce na osbné prenasledovania slovenských občanov, sihajúce na ích slobodu, na ích životy a mučenia, páchané boly iniciatívov vládz a jej orgánov v Slov. štáte, čo Fr. Tiso so zadosťučinením berie na vedomie a potvrdzuje niektorými konkretnými prípadmi, ako Dr. Fábry, a udalostiami, ako na príklad, že Prezident Tiso trikráť odmietol podpísať zákon o prenasledovaní židov a nikdy ho nepodpísal. Týmito vyjasneniami budú môcť byť na pravú mieru uvedené mnohé mýlne trdenia a mýlné stanoviská a uľahčiť cestu ku mnohému dorozumeniu.
Táto rozprava vedená bola v prvom rade prehlásením, že obaja súčastnení, ktorých v ích doterajšom konaní viedla vždy úprimná snaha, za v dobe daných okolností pomôcť svojmu rodu a berú za toto pred Bohom, národom a vlastným svedomím vždy a všade zodpovednosť.
Preto sa rozhodli, na základe v rozprave zistených okolností všetko potrebné podniknúť, aby vytýčený cieľ mohol byť uskutočnený, ktorého podrobností a postup pripravia do stretnutia najbližšej príležitosti.
Do tej doby overia tento záp-is svojím parafom a prosia Všemohúceho aby žehnal ďalšie kroky ích úsilia.

Dané v Mníchove, dňa 19. februára 1959.

Dr. Pavel Fabry parafuje:
Frant. Tiso parafuje:

Napísané v dvoch exemplároch parafom potvrdených.
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Frano Tiso letter 2-28-59

München, 28.februára 1959

Veľavážený pán Advokát!

S priateľom ing.Filom som sa mohol v Bonne dobre porozprávať, čo – chvála Bohu – tiež prispelo k vzájomnému porozumeniu.
Bola v reči aj Vaša vec. V najbližších dňoch stretnem sa s pánom Birknerom / nie Brinker, ako ste ho Vy spomínali pri našom rozhovore / v Stuttgarte a dozviem sa, aké úzadie má jeho podanie a čo by sa dalo vo veci robiť. Poznám ho ako charakterného človeka, ktorý istotne nie je pod vplyvom Vami spomínaného človeka. Podanie muselo sa stať na zaklade nejakéko omylu alebo podfuku. On sám ho istotne nekoncipoval. Mám dobrú nádej, že aj táto vec príde do poriadku.
Prosím Vás pekne, pán Advokát, napíšte mi dôverne, kde a za akých okolností povedal pán súdruh Mikojan to, čo ste mi tu spomínali /47 – 24 – 32 – – 50 miliardov dol. / Stojím ešte stále pod dojmom počutého a jeho aspektov. Raz ma zalieva horúca vlna radosti a nádeje, po nej zasa pochybovania, či to vôbec bolo povedané pánom súdruhom Mikojanom, či je to vôbec pravda, či Vás niekto nepodviedol, alebo či to nepovedal vo forme a podstate celkom inej. Upokojte ma, prosím, udaním prameňa!
Rád by som počuť, že zdravie Vám a Vašim milým dobre slúzi.
V očakávaní Vašich zpráv pozdravujem Vás srdečne.

P.S. Mohli by ste mi napísať adresu p. syna?

Frano Tiso

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Frano Tiso telegram 4-7-59
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Frano Tiso letter 6-29-59 1
München, 29. júna 1959

Frano Tiso letter 6-29-59 2

Veľavážený pán Doktor Fábry!

Keďže prem mojim odchodom do Pariza nemohol som sa stretnúť s p. št. sekretárom Karmasinom, aby som s ním pohovoril v zmysle toho, na čom sa dohodli pán Filo a Birkner, napísal som mu list a vysvetlil, že nemôže byť ani v jeho záujme, aby povstal proces a aby sa rozprestierali pred nepritaeľskou verejnosťou veci, ktoré najradšej zabudnúť treba.
Odpoveďou napísal mi p. št. sekr. Karmasin toto:
“Die Beilage in Angelegenheit Dr. Fabry habe ich erhalten. Ich bin an Dr. Fabry weder positiv noch negativ interessiert, ich war es auch nie. Nun hat aber Dr. Fabry behauptet, dass er über meine Veranlassung von der Gestapo verhaftet wurde. Das ist eine glatte Unwahreit und ich kann nun keine Erklärung adgeben, dass ich ihn tatsächlich verhaften liess. Ich habe im ganzen Leben niemenden verhaften lassen, also auch Dr. Fabry nicht, ganz abgesehen davon, dass ich gar nicht die Möglichkeit hatte, jemanden verhaften zu lassen. Es müsste also erst Dr. Fabry seine Behauptung widerrufen, dass er über meine Veranlassung verhaftet wurde, denn ich kann Ihnen nicht zustimmen, wenn Sie schreiben, dass mit einer Zurückziehung niemand zu Schaden kommen kann. Ich z. B. Schon! Denn wenn ich meine Erklärung zurückziehe, heisst das, dass ich Weisungsbefugnis an die Gestapo hatte, was nie und nimmer stimmt, und ich komme in Teufels Küche.
Ich lege bestimmt keinen Wert darauf, in einen Prozess verwickkelt zu werden und aus diesem Grunde zusätzlich noch in die Öffentlichkeit gezerrt zu werden, aber mit einer einseitigen Zustimmung von mir ist es nicht getan.
Ich halte es für das zweckmässigste, wenn die beteiligten Herren sich zu einer Aussprache zusammenfinden würden, damit man gemeinsam Mittel und Wege suchen kann, um die Angelegenheit zu bereinigen.”
Z listu vidno, že aj Vy ste spravili chybu, keď ste p.Karmasinovi imputovali čin, ktorý on nespáchal. Ale aj to vysvitá z listu, že sa neuzatvára pred pokojným riešením veci. Hodno by bolo, uskutočniť jeho návrh.
V Bonne som Vás hľadal! Už ste boli odcestovaný. S týmto v súvislosti rád by som Vás usistiť, že nijako sa Vám nenatískam ani vo veci vypísania otáznych statí z “Grenzbote”; ale mohol som očakávať, že mi dáte alebo Vy, alebo priateľ Filo na vedomie, že to už nie aktuálne. Bol by som si moj opravdu drahý a takmer na hodiny rozpočítaný čas ináč zariadil. Takto som odmietol 15 prednášok.
Nie je to však nešťastím. Som Vám rád napomoci aj v budúcnosti, len prosím o dodržanie dohovoreného; či už priamo medzi nami, alebo cestou tretej osoby dohovoreneho.
Byt chvála Pánu Bohu už mám! Dobrí priatelia mi ho sprostredkovali, začo som im hlboko povďačný!
Prosiac, aby ste Milostivej panej Manželke odovzdali úctivý rukybozk, pozdravujem Vás srdečne.

Tiso

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Frano Tiso postcard to Vlado 4-12-60

Frano Tiso postcard to Vlado 4-12-60 reverse

It begins with a book…

Last August, I took another look through the family collection of books about Czechoslovakia. What I found was a copy of “HISTORY OF MODERN SLOVAKIA” by Jozef Lettrich, which had, sadly, been overlooked in a damp corner of the house.
034
But in spite of mold damage, I put it in a mylar sleeve and kept it nearby, because the book mentioned Pavel Fabry (Vladimir Fabry’s father) as one of the first to be imprisoned in a concentration camp on March 30, 1939, in the state prison of Ilava, Slovakia.
036
I recognized the book immediately, since I had seen at least a half dozen photostatic copies in my archive from page 144, underlined in the same places, which Pavel must have referred to in his case for reparations in Germany.
037
038
From Chapter Two, “Under the Swastika”, pages 143-144:

“When prisons were no longer adequate, the Slovak Government issued an order on March 24, 1939, “concerning the imprisonment of the enemies of the Slovak State.” […] This order authorized the Minister of Interior to “arrange for the jailing of persons whose past and present activities give reason to fear that they would continue to obstruct the building of the Slovak State.” The Minister of the Interior was further authorized to create “a camp for the detention of such persons in which prisoners would be compelled to perform physical labor.” Vojtech Tuka lost no time in transforming the old state prison in Ilava into a “security camp,” the first concentration camp in Slovak history. The Ilava prison thus became the home of Slovak democrats–of authors, priests, teachers, newspapermen and statesmen, as well as of simple farmers, workmen and students. The first inmates of this camp, brought there on March 30, 1939, were: Anton Štefánek, Ján Ursíny, František Zimák, Ján Pocisk, Ferdinand Benda, Karol Hušek, Ján Paulíny-Toth, Jozef Rudinský, Pavel Fábry, Andrej Djuračka, František Třešnák, Hana Styková, Vinco Mihalus and Jozef Lettrich, three Members of Parliament, two Senators, three journalists, the Chairman of the Slovak National Party, and an actress from the Slovak National Theater. Others soon followed. In the few years of existence of the Slovak State more than 3,000 persons were to pass through the gates of the Ilava concentration camp. Some remained a few days, some for months, and others for several years. They were all sent to Ilava without trial , without judgement, without indictment, merely upon a denunciation and by administrative order of the Ministry of Interior. Tuka, on April 15, 1939, made the following characteristic statement, “Those who spread alarming rumors and false reports are obstructing our way. We have made arrangements to handle all of them in Ilava. Many of them are there now and many others will follow them there. It is your duty to denounce these instigators to the police and the Hlinka Guards, and the Slovak Government will take care of them.”

030
I now have another copy of this book, in very good condition, signed and inscribed by Jozef Lettrich on the title page. It was only after this that I looked at the title page of the copy I found, and it was also inscribed.
028
Title page from second copy.
040
From the copy that belonged to Pavel Fabry.

When I finally started to read it, it dawned on me that this book was written by the same Jozef Lettrich that was in prison with Pavel, and that I had letters from Lettrich – Chairman of the Slovak National Council in Czechoslovakia, who was an exile living in the United States. So I went back to the boxes. I was amazed by how this one book began to illuminate what I had missed before: letters to and from Milan Hodza – Prime Minister of Czechoslovakia; Jan Pauliny-Toth – lawyer and politician; Peter Pridavok – Chairman of the Slovak National Council in London; Juraj Slavik – Czechoslovak Ambassador to the United States; General Lev Prchala; Emil Stodola, and Kornel Filo. Pavel Fabry was seeking reparations for many of these people and others in Berlin, as their lawyer, so I have some of their testimonies, in Slovak, German and French.

But then I found two letters from Franz Karmasin, one of them signed. Franz Karmasin was state secretary for the German Minority, under President of Slovakia and Catholic Priest Jozef Tiso: an anti-semite who collaborated with Hitler and was key in making the Slovak State the first Nazi ally in the Final Solution, deporting tens of thousands of Jewish people to their extermination – he was hanged after WWII; Karmasin was also senticed to death but escaped prosecution and was living in exile in Munich. From what I was able to translate, Karmasin seems to be arguing against something Pavel said about him – and he begins his first letter in praising Pavel on his son Vlado – The Hague and Nuremberg are also mentioned. There were no letters from Pavel to Karmasin. I’ve transcribed the letters here for others to translate.

Page056

Page055

Dipl. Ing. Franz Karmasin
München 8
Trogerstaße 32

München, den 8-7. 1959

Herrn
Dr. Paul Fabry

14 Chemin Thury
Geneve

Sehr geehrter Herr Dr. Fabry!

Unsere gestrige Aussprache hat mich sehr stark an Aussprachen in der Heimat erinnert. Ich glaube, diese angenehme Atmosphäre gibt es nur jenseits der Karpaten. Ich bitte, es nicht als Anmassung zu betrachten, wenn ich Sie zu Ihrem prächtigen Sohn beglückwünsche. Er hat großen Eindruck auf mich gemacht und ich freue mich wirklich von ganzem Herzen, dass die slowakische Sache so einen hervorragenden Vertreter ihrer Interessen besitzt.
In der Kanzlei habe ich mir dann den sehr dicken Akt “Dr. Fabry” vorgenommen. Ich war froh, dass ich dies erst nachher getan habe, ich wäre sonst kaum zu der Besprechung gekommen. Ich habe sehr stark den Eindruck, dass Sie in der Darstellung und Beurteilung der Situation der Deutschen Volksgruppe in der Slowakei sich weniger von Tatsachen, als vielmehr von Gefühlen leiten liessen. Ich kann es verstehen, umsomehr, als die Grenzen zwischen Reichsdeutschen und Volksdeutschen von Aussen her nicht immer sichtbar waren und vor allem die Situation der Volksgruppe und der Volksgruppenführung nicht für eine öffentliche Diskussion geeignet war. Aber in Ihren Ausführungen sind Sie doch etwas hart, ich darf Ihnen das in aller fahrens mit Ihnen und Ihrem Herrn Sohn über diese Dinge diskutieren, jetzt ist nicht der geeignete Zeitpunkt dazu. Ich will Ihren nur zu bedenken geben, dass der deutsche evangelische Bischof Scherer, für dessen Ernennung ich mich übrigens sehr stark eingesetzt habe und fast alle evangelischen u. katholischen Pfarrer Mitglieder der Deutschen Partei waren und dass die Deutsche Partei bei den Nürnberger Verfahren ausgeklammert wurde, obwohl man den Aliierten bestimmt nicht Unkenntnis der Lage vorwerfen konnte. Auch das Dokumentenmaterial, wenn man es vollinhaltlich zur Kenntnis nimmt, spricht eine andere Sprache als Ihre Darstellungen. Die Offenheit, mit der wir gestern gesprochen haben, verpflichtet mich, Ihnen das zu schreiben.
Die Zusatzerklärung habe ich lt. Durchschlag an das Regierungspräsidium, an Dr. Virgano, Herrn Minister Dr. Tiso und Herrn Birkner geschickt. Ich bin gespannt, wie sich die Angelegenheit weiter entwickeln wird.

Hochachtungsvoll!

(Karmasin)

Page057

Copy

Dipl. Ing. Franz Karmasin
München 8
Trogerstaße 32

München, den. 8.7.1959

An das
Regierungspräsidium
Köln
Zeughausstr. 2-4

Sehr geehrte Herren!

Betr.: Dr. Paul Fabry

Ich habe die verschiedenen Schriftstücke im Falle Dr. Paul Fabry, soweit sie mir zur Verfügung stehen, nochmals durchgesehen und darf meine seinerzeitige Darstellung wie folgt ergänzen:

Ich habe dargelegt, dass die Behauptung, Dr. Fabry sei durch die Gestapo verhaften worden, falsch sei, da sich auf dem Gebiete der Slowakei keine Gestapo befunden hat. Dagegen hatten z.Zt. der Besetzung des slowakischen Staatsgebietes rechts der Waag während der Tschechenkrise durch deutsche Truppen Organe des Sicherheitsdienst Dienst gemacht. Ich glaube mich erinnern zu können – ohne es allerdings beschwören zu können -, dass durch die deutschen militärischen Kommandostellen Angehörige der Hlinkagarde (HG) und der Freiwilligen Schutzstaffel (FS) diesen Organen als Hilfskräfte zugeteilt wurden. Inwieweit sich diese im Zuge der revolutionären Ereignisse Übergriffe zuschulden kommen ließen, entzieht sich meiner Kenntnis, vor allem aber meiner und meiner Mitarbeiter Verantwortung. Sie unterstanden, falls sie sich in die Dienst der Deutschen Wehrmacht oder des SD begeben hatten, nicht mehr der Befehlsgewalt der Volksgruppe.

Zu dieser Ergänzung fühle ich mich verpflichtet einerseits, weil Aussenstehende die Unterschiede zwischen SD und Gestapo nicht ganz klar waren, andererseits weil mir im Interesse meiner ehemaligen Mitarbeiter selbst sehr viel an der Klärung dieser Angelegenheit liegt. Ich bitte, die Ergänzung in diesem sinne zur Kenntnis zu nehmen.

Hochachtungsvoll!

(Karmasin)

First United Nations Staff Day 1953

First United Nations Staff Day 8 Sept 1953
Dag Hammarskjold with Danny Kaye, Marion Anderson and Ezio Pinza
First United Nations Staff Day, 8 September 1953, UN photo

Invitation for First UN Staff Day 8 September 1953
Vlado’s invitation, from the personal collection

If anyone deserved a special day of recognition, it was the UN staff of 1953, who had been slandered by the U.S. federal grand jury on 2 December 1952, saying that there was “infiltration into the U.N. of an overwhelmingly large group of disloyal U.S. citizens”. Secretary-General Trygve Lie gave the FBI carte blanche of New York Headquarters “for the convenience” – and this was after he gave his resignation, on 10 November 1952; which he gave under pressure of McCarthyism, and the Soviet Union’s refusal (for years) to recognize him as Secretary-General because of his involvement in Korea. Hammarskjold was sworn in on 10 April 1953, and he did all he could to defend and support his UN staff, and managed to get the FBI removed from UN Headquarters by November 1953.

With appreciation to the author, here are excerpts from chapter 3 of Brian Urquhart’s biography of Hammarskjold:

“On January 9 [1953], President Truman, by Executive Order 10422, introduced a procedure by which the U.S. government would provide the Secretary-General with information on U.S. candidates for employment and would empower the U.S. Civil Service Commission to investigate the loyalty of Americans already employed by the UN. In the same month, the Eisenhower administration’s new representative to the UN, Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., as one of his first official acts asked the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to investigate all members of the U.S. mission to the UN as well as U.S. members of the Secretariat itself. For the latter purpose Lie permitted the FBI to operate in the UN Building, for the convenience, as he explained it, of the large number of Secretariat officials who would have to be interrogated and fingerprinted. To the Secretariat, the presence of the FBI in the “extraterritorial” Headquarters Building symbolized yet another capitulation to the witch-hunters.”

[…]

“Another problem inherited from Lie was the presence of the FBI in the UN Building. The extent of that agency’s activities was revealed on June 20 during an incident in the public gallery of the Security Council, when an American agent in plain clothes attempted to take a demonstrator away from the UN guards. Hammarskjold demanded a full investigation of this incident and protested vigorously to the U.S. mission. He had also learned of the case of a senior official who had been given a detailed questionnaire on his relations with various people and his views on Communism. The fact that the official had felt obliged to reply raised in Hammarskjold’s mind a serious question of principle. Did a government have the right to question a respected official of the UN with a long and good record of service on the basis solely of suspicion and rumor? Surely the proper course was for the government concerned to tell the Secretary-General of its suspicions, leaving it to him alone to decide what action, if any, should be taken and what questions should be put to the official concerned. He therefore instructed the members of the Secretariat that until he could get the FBI off the premises their reaction to inquiries about their colleagues could in no circumstances go beyond the duty of everyone to help the law. A member of the Secretariat must make it clear that there were questions that, as an international civil servant, he had no right to answer and these included questions relating to his UN work and to the activities of the UN itself, as well as the political or religious views or past relationships of himself or of his colleagues. This meant, in fact, that only nonpolitical criminal activities were a legitimate subject for investigation by the FBI. In November 1953, making use of the opportunity provided by a remark to the McCarran Subcommittee by FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover that the extraterritorial status of international organizations in the United States made it impossible for the FBI to operate on their premises, Hammarskjold asked for the immediate removal of the FBI from UN Headquarters.”

But there was still the matter of the American staff members that had been dismissed or terminated by Trygve Lie because they plead the Fifth Amendment when investigated. Hammarskjold wasn’t able to make everyone happy with his decisions, but I feel he was trying to avoid giving the McCarthy crowd any kind of foothold for future harassment.

“During the summer a U.S. federal grand jury, the International Organizations Employees Loyalty Board, and two U.S. Senate Subcommittees continued to investigate present and former American Secretariat members. On August 21 the Administration Tribunal, the Secretariat’s highest court of appeal, rendered judgments in twenty-one cases of American staff members who had appealed against their dismissal or termination by Lie for having invoked the Fifth Amendment during investigations by the U.S. authorities. The Tribunal found in favor of eleven of the applicants, awarding compensation to seven of them and ordering the reinstatement of four. Hammarskjold declined to reinstate the four on the grounds that it was “inadvisable from the points of view which it is my duty to take into consideration,” whereupon they too were awarded compensation. His decision simultaneously dismayed a large part of the UN staff, who believed that their colleagues should have been reinstated, and enraged the anti-UN faction in the United States led by Senators Joseph McCarthy and William E. Jenner, who saw it as a recommendation for the payment of some $189,000 in compensation to traitors. The attitude of the senators was later reflected in the U.S. opposition in the General Assembly to Hammarskjold’s request for an appropriation to pay the compensation awards.”

For further context, you can read the speeches Hammarskjold gave to the staff in New York and Geneva in May of 1953 on the Dag Hammarskjold Library website.

Letters from Sumitro

From 1949 to 1951, Vlado was working for the United Nations in Indonesia, during the time of independence from the Dutch. Due to the complications of being a political exile from Czechoslovakia, Vlado had only a temporary passport – until October 1952, when he finally received his UN Laissez-Passer. Here is one alternative ID, a ‘Tourist Introduction Card’ from the Government of India:
India Tourist Card
India Tourist Card II
Sumitro Djojohadikusumo (not to be confused with General Sumitro)was the only Indonesian with a doctorate in economics after independence in 1949, and had been Deputy Head of the Indonesian delegation to the UN Security Council, so he and Vlado were colleagues. While going through the 1951 box of papers again, I found two letters – one for Vlado’s sister and one for his mother, with Indonesian letterhead, handwritten and signed by Sumitro. It shouldn’t surprise me that Sumitro came to be friends with Vlado and his family, and that their example of kindness moved him to open his heart to others, but I had no idea how fond he was of Vlado’s sister!
Sumitro letter Olinka

Stockholm, June 15, 1951

Merea Guerida,

Enfant-terrible? Non, – enfant cherie with eyes as lovely as ever to remember and a voice as sweet as ever can be: sweet, soft and gentle –

You asked me (“a penny?”), when I wrote those words in my brochure what I referred to: a general truth, people in Indonesia or personal reflections? I think it was a combination of all three. You see, I have long learned to see situations of Indonesia always as an integral part of a general trend, the strive for betterment, the urge of mankind for improvement and progress, although many times specimens of mankind itself seem to turn the clock back more or less deliberately. Nonetheless, all of us individually have our responsibility as to the fate of others —

Sumitro letter Olinka II

Then, general truth has particular significance only if one can attach to it, personal reflections. I told you that evening (la ultima noche) alongside the lake looking towards Geneva, against the background of mountains and twinkling stars, the lesson I learned from you and your parents. I do not exaggerate – your brother I think can tell you how much under control, reserved and reticent I usually am when meeting people – but how strikingly touched I was, when I met with such generous welcome and kindheartedness from all of you. And I compared my own attitude in the recent past, shying away from gatherings and from people (- though many of them were out for quick profits and complaints, maybe you remember I told you.) My time in Geneve taught me that only through kindness and understanding can you make people understand. Needless to say that my time in Geneva is inextricably connected with the shining, lovely personality of Olga Irene. (remember again, I do not exaggerate, wherever you are concerned.) Now, Carisima[sp?], till next time, for I hope you will continue writing me from time to time, for never shall I forget….

Ever Yours,
Sumitro

Here is the letter he wrote to Mrs. Fabry, with an apology regarding Vlado’s sister:
Sumitro letter Mrs Fabry

Dear Mrs Fabry,

Having arrived in Stockholm yesterday I hasten to send you and the other members of your family, my greetings and best wishes. By this time Dr Vladimir, your son must already be with you and I do hope that all of you will have a lovely time together. I think back of my sojourn in Geneva with more than a great deal of pleasure and gratitude towards you all.

Sumitro letter Mrs Fabry II

Also, I would like to take this opportunity to extend to you my profound apologies for the fact that Olga came home so late that Monday-evening. I have no justifiable excuse really and should have been wiser at my age — With kindest personal regards and all my best wishes for you, Dr Pavel Fabry, Vladimir and Olga,

Sincerely yours,
Sumitro

I wonder if Sumitro got a scolding at the door from Maminka? He didn’t sound very sorry about coming home late in his letter to Olga!

Help with Slovak Translation

“Sometimes the key arrives long before the lock. Sometimes a story falls in your lap.”

–Rebecca Solnit “The Faraway Nearby”

Olinka at Christmas

Though it is clear that I love the Fabry family very much, what might be difficult to believe is that I was not accepted by my mother-in-law, Olinka, and that I only met her once before she died. As much as I wanted to know her, there just wasn’t enough time, and I was very sad about that. So, you can understand how these papers have been a gift to me, to be able to get to know who Olinka was, to understand why she was difficult and the hell she had been through – I think of her with compassion and forgiveness.

Besides being a great cook(see photo above), one of the qualities I admire most about her was her skill at many languages – she was as gifted as her brother Vlado.

Here are a few pieces of ephemera from Olinka’s career:
Olinka ephemera

It would have been easy for her to translate this document from the Prison de Saint Antione in Geneva(which is now the Palais de Justice), dated 1949, but it is not so easy for me. Who was in the prison? And why? Was it her father, Pavel? I am posting this here in hopes that Slovak readers will want to contribute a translation, if only to ease my curiosity. Please help!
(click image to enlarge)
Prison de Saint Antione

Like Father, Like Son

Curve of Longing For Family
One thing I really admire about Pavel Fabry, is how affectionate he was in the letters he wrote to his family. Here is a little sketch of Pavel’s, with him in a hospital bed, a graph behind him that says in Slovak “Curve of Longing For Family”. The doctors are saying they have no cure for this “curve”, and Professor Fabry says he thinks a “Javaensis-Genevensis” tincture is what he needs. This was likely drawn during the late 40’s – early 50’s – when Vlado was working for Independence in Indonesia, Olinka and Maminka were refugees in Switzerland, and Pavel was in a hospital recovering from torture in a concentration camp, in the now former Czechoslovakia. Pavel’s sense of humor here shows he was living life on his terms, that he followed his convictions, and that he was willing to endure suffering for a just cause – a true romantic.

Fall in Love and Lose Weight
Then there are times when I am a little annoyed with him, like with this undated letter, sent to Vlado around the time he was working on the Suez Canal Clearance project in 1957, most likely before the project was finished. Pavel is telling him that he has to lose weight in two weeks, before their family vacation together (which would end with Vlado coming down with Hepatitis, and the weight loss that came with his illness). Then he says with all the tempting food of the Norwegians, Swedes, Canadians and Indians in the desert, that he would have to ride a horse at full gallop all day just to keep fit. He gives Vlado the advice to fall in love to lose weight, but not too happily, so he doesn’t fall apart at the end of it. Really, as if Vlado didn’t have enough to worry about, he has his father telling him he is too fat and needs to go on a diet! He is right though, that falling in love is great for weight loss, but he must have thought Vlado had some kind of superpowers to find a girl to fall in love with on the spot!

If Vlado was a romantic, it was because Pavel set quite an example for him. Romance was never far from Pavel’s mind, as can be seen in this little boudoir sketch (click to enlarge):
Pavel boudoir sketch
What is she whispering in his ear, I wonder?

Sometimes, thoughts of love and food were in competition, like in his surreal sketch of a fish woman:
Pavel La Peche

Keeping to the subject of romance, in another post, we read the love letters of Vlado and Mary Liz, with the last letter written in September 1957. There are no more love letters written by Vlado after that, but I found a portion of a Mr. America magazine, from January 1958, with a cover banner that reads “USE YOUR SEX URGE FOR BUILDING A HANDSOME BODY”:
Mr. America Jan. '58

Who knows if Vlado was trying to control his “urge”, or what, but romance may have been distracting him from larger goals in his life. I think Pavel was not much different than Maminka, in that he wanted Vlado to find a nice girl to marry – but I also think he took vicarious pleasure in hearing about Vlado’s carefree romantic life as a bachelor.

Vlado left some heart-sick women in his wake, as is shown in this last letter from 1959, written by a woman who wasn’t over Vlado at all, and whose impending marriage brought to mind funerals and drowning. This letter is more a distress call than anything else, which makes it a very funny read!

March 4, 1959

Dear Vlado,

Now it looks as if I may be in NY at last, but for the most unexpected of reasons – on a honeymoon! Probably, April 12-25.

I’ve been so interested to notice in how many ways marriage is like death! First, probably the only reason so barbarous a rite as a wedding has lasted so long in our streamlined society is probably the same reason the funeral has – i.e. sociologists say that all the transactions involved in planning a funeral take the bereaved’s mind out of the depths & the same goes for the bride, bereaved of her freedom!

Marrying is also like drowning in that you suddenly relive your past – at least your past loves & all my former boyfriends have come parading their images across my minds eye – & I must say, Vlado, that as I go through my card file, choosing addresses to send announcements to, each card brings up a little doubt, but the most difficult card to process was yours! Isn’t that funny, because I had dated other boys a lot more than you & I was just as inflamed over them.

It’s just that when I think of me settling down to air force protocol (he’s in for 10 more years!) I think of your verve; & when I think of those forever churning conversation on the base about TDY’s, PFR’s, ER reports etc., I dream of the day you, Otto & I went to the woods and captured those flagstones in such a unique way!

When I ask my 3 F’s (friends, family, fiance) what they would think of my sort of going to NY to get my trousseau & choose my silver pattern & all, they retort “and get that Czech at the U.N. out of your system? You’d never come back.” I shall always wonder if I couldn’t have made you come crawling & writhing out of your shell (if there’d been time) like a tortoise does when the Indians tie him above the fire so he will squirm into the soup pot! But my fiance says I’d better marry him without travelling to NY, because regrets are better than despair….

This stationary is a memento from our bi-family conclave to plan the bash (it will be April 11 at the ——City Community Christian Church – I dare you to come & stand up when the preacher asks “If there be anyone who denies that they should be married…”). His family is from Texarkana, long time friends of my folks, but we conclaved on neutral ground – in Fayetteville!

I do hope some sort of wife won’t open this letter, although I’m sure she would be understanding; otherwise she couldn’t have married you! But just in case I wish there was something I could say which would make me sure you’d know who sent the letter, so I wouldn’t have to sign my name, but I have a strong suspicion that you’ve taken many a girl hiking in the rain, driven her to help her pack on Bank Street – & even many admirers have sent you wooden pigs & sustenance pills when you were in Africa! So I’ll just have to say,

so long,

———–

Letter From Pavel To Vlado, 28 May 1946

Here is a very special letter, written by Pavel Fabry to his son Vlado, when he learned that Vlado was leaving for the U.S. to join the United Nations Secretariat, in 1946. My sincere gratitude to the friends who translated this for me.

Zurich 28/V/946

Our Dear Vladinko,

It was one of the most beautiful moments of my life when I read your [one word cannot be deciphered] telegram. I don’t know if it was so constructed that even I could understand it – but I think it was God’s blessing that made it possible for me to understand it word for word.

I know that one of Maminka’s eyes was tearing with pleasure and the other with the worries of a mother (but I know she will carry even this sacrifice for you thankfully) – when I conveyed the telegram to her over the phone.

And throughout my trip in the heights of the airplane I was thinking of you – for in a few weeks you too will be flying…and not into the unknown.

The entire world is opening up for you in the real sense of the word. I have been in my room for only a few minutes and already am grabbing a pen, so that at least this way you can feel how warmly I hug you and bless your future journey.

Perhaps it is The Almighty’s way of rewarding you for having been such a good son to us, that so far you have followed the course of life that made us proud and that he wants to reward us for all the parental love and worries which we have always and at every step shown toward you, just as to our other child, Olicka!

Vladinko dearest! Cherish this gift – it being merely one link in the chain of your life, which was wrought by a lot of hard work.

And I beg you – while you are still at home, donate as much time as possible to your dearest Mother (who donated the biggest part of her life to you). She first of all deserves it in full measure.

Hopefully God will help to make it possible for her to visit you in your new lovely position – even with Olicka!

I pray that The Almighty bless your journey and keep you in good health and strength – for the honor and glory of your nation – and for our parental happiness.

With kisses for you from your Tatusko

Pavel letter to Vlado 1946 1
Pavel letter to Vlado 1946 2
Pavel letter to Vlado 1946 3
Pavel letter to Vlado 1946 4
Pavel letter to Vlado 1946 5

And here are three more documents pertaining to Vlado’s appointment with the United Nations: A confirmation letter from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Prague; an application for a non-immigrant visa from the American Embassy in Prague; and last, the letter of appointment from the United Nations, signed by Trygve Lie.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs UN confirmation 1946

American Foreign Service visa application 1946

Vlado UN letter of appointment