Slovak Studies Association

New ‘Member Spotlight’

Check out our latest ‘Member Spotlight’ interview with Kevin Deegan-Krause

See our Member Spotlight page

Join Dr. Leslie Waters’ Book Talk

Correction: Friday, February 5th, 2021 @ 1:00 – 2:30pm (MST)

Hosted by the Department of History, University of Texas El Paso

Borders on the Move: Territorial Change and Ethnic Cleansing in the Hungarian-Slovak Borderlands, 1938-1948 (University of Rochester Press, 2020)

Dr. Waters currently serves on the Board of the Slovak Studies Association and as Vice President of the Hungarian Studies Association. Her book, Borders on the Move, examines the impact of border changes and migrations on this region between 1938 and 1948. It investigates the everyday consequences of geopolitical events that are well-known from the perspective of international and national histories, but does so explicitly in the context of the borderland. Making skillful use of state and local archival sources in Hungary and Slovakia, author Leslie Waters illuminates the catastrophic effects of state action – including sweeping wealth redistribution and the expulsion of those perceived as enemies of the state – on individuals. This engagingly written and far-reaching work will be invaluable to scholars of the Holocaust and of East Central Europe as well as to those who study forced migration, population exchange, and inter-ethnic relations.

Please join us via zoom:

Time: Feb 5, 2021 01:00 PM Mountain Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting: https://zoom.us/j/96233619254?pwd=bWV2T01QcHFjbnJxSVFwNE5zQjk0dz09

  • Meeting ID: 962 3361 9254
  • Passcode: a4zcD8

‘The Auschwitz Report’ (‘SPRÁVA’) Film–Free Viewing Jan. 28 only!

Register online at: The Simon Wiesenthal Center and Museum of Tolerance

Free screening tomorrow only, Jan. 28, 2021, (Int’l. Holocaust Remembrance Day, the 76th Anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz) 

Slovakia’s entry for Best International Feature Film for the 2021 Academy Awards and Golden Globes

After more than a year of meticulous planning, Auschwitz prisoners Alfred “Freddy” Wetzler and Valér Vrba set forth an escape plan in hopes of sharing detailed evidence about the deadly operations of the Nazis in the Camp. With the resilient aid of their fellow inmates, the pair of Jewish Slovak inmates embarks on a treacherous journey. Emaciated and hurt, they endure numerous obstacles along their way, but none greater than the realization they must convince a world unwilling to believe them that what they experienced was real.

Academy Award®-winning Writer/Director of Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Moriah Films, Richard Trank moderates a discussion with Director, Peter Bebjak and star Noel Czuczor (Freddy) following the screening.

Caution: Viewer discretion advised.


Krúžok: Upcoming Presentations Online

Our new member Orel Beilinson, a doctoral candidate at Yale University, announces the program of Krúžok, a working group for early-career scholars studying the modern history of Central and Eastern Europe.  Presentation themes range across Central and Eastern Europe but include Czech/Slovak topics among them. 

Krúžok aims to…

  1. Encourage scholarly work on the history of the Habsburg Empire, the post-Ottoman Balkans, and the successor states.
  2. Provide a forum for presenting research in progress and receiving constructive feedback.
  3. Facilitate meaningful conversations about the state of the field.
  4. Develop a network of peers working on the region’s history across themes, countries, institutions, and oceans.

The December 17, 2020 online presentation schedule (as well as monthly presentations through June 2021) can be found at the following download link (thanks to the Czechoslovak Studies Association for alerting us!):


Remembering Nov. 17, 1989

31 Years since the Collapse of Communism in Czechoslovakia

Short video introducing the ‘Spytaj sa Vasich’ Project

The importance of preserving memory increases as we move further and further away from the lived experience of Communism in Czechoslovakia from 1948-1989. The ‘Spytaj sa Vasich’ Project aims to do just that and offers a collage of excerpts (written and video) to chronicle what it was like to live under, and eventually overthrow, the Communist regime.

ASEEES Virtual Convention, 2020

ASEEES 2020 Convention

Slovak-Themed Panels and Annual SSA Meeting

This year’s annual Association of Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies (ASEEES) Convention promises to deliver a wealth of research findings from across the globe as a variety of scholars will present from their own time zones via Zoom!

Download (see below) a list of the Slovak-related panels to be presented online (not in person!) at the 2020 ASEEES Convention: Nov. 5-8 and Nov. 14-15. All times listed are EST.

Please note that the annual Slovak Studies Association meeting will be held on Friday, Nov. 6 from 6:30-8:30pm, ESTVirtual Convention Platform, Room 6.

‘Ransacking Democracy’

The Slovak Studies Association, as well as our affiliate organization ASEEES (the Association for Slavic, E. European and Eurasian Studies), support the American Historical Association in their statement regarding the events of January 6, 2021 on Capitol Hill.

From the American Historical Association website: The AHA issued a statement condemning “the actions of those who, on January 6, stormed the United States Capitol, the seat of the nation’s legislature, the heart of its democratic form of governance.” The AHA deplores the “inflammatory rhetoric of all the political leaders who have refused to accept the legitimacy of the results of the 2020 election and thereby incited the mob.”

Approved by the AHA Council, January 8, 2021:

Everything has a history. What happened at the Capitol is part of a historical process. Over the past few years, cynical politicians have nurtured and manipulated for their own bigoted and self-interested purposes the sensibilities of the rioters. We deplore the inflammatory rhetoric of all the political leaders who have refused to accept the legitimacy of the results of the 2020 election and thereby incited the mob-and this on the day when the nation reported 3,865 COVID-19 deaths, the highest number reported in a single day since the pandemic began.

We note with dismay the iconography of the banners carried by the mob—the flag with the visage of the president emblazoned on it, as if loyalty were due an individual and not the rule of law, and the flag of the Confederacy, signaling violence and sedition. Not by coincidence, those people who attacked the Capitol have been described by the current president and his advisers as “great patriots” and “American patriots.” The rioters were neither.

A day that began with two significant “firsts”—the election of Georgia’s first African American senator and that state’s first Jewish senator—ended with Congress performing its duties according to the Constitution. Yet during the day we witnessed the unprecedented spectacle of a group of Americans desecrating the sacred space of the nation’s Capitol, and terrorizing everyone in it.

As historians, we call upon our fellow citizens and elected representatives to abide by the law and tell the truth. Our democracy demands nothing less of ourselves and of our leaders.”

For an updated list of the organizations that have cosigned this statement as well as to find a downloadable version of the statement, please visit the AHA’s website page, ‘Ransacking Democracy.’


Happy Czechoslovak Independence Day!

October 28, 1918

A couple of related happenings:

See the NY Chapter of the Czechoslovak Society of Arts and Sciences tree-planting announcement


Perhaps appropriately on Czechoslovak Independence Day, Kosice’s downtown ‘Prior’ department store (today ‘Tesco’) is getting a cleaning! ‘Prior’ was established under Communism in the 1980s, it reportedly became one of the first ‘K-Mart’ stores after the regime change in 1989! Photo courtesy of Kosice noted tour guide, Milan Kolcun (via Facebook).

“The Battle of Dukla Pass”

by Bill Tarkulich

Presented by the Slovak American Society of Washington, DC (SASW)

Saturday, October 24th, 2:00 PM (EST)

This presentation provides a broad overview of the events that precipitated the attack, the battle itself, and its impact on the future of the country’s villages and people. The battle involved 1,350 tanks and 139,000 casualties, earning the site the name “The Valley of Death.” Yet here in the United States, it remains one of the least-known battles of the war.

To register in advance for this Zoom webinar, please visit: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_N5mCrw6URyCHmkwf5CdQ4A

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. Please contact rsvp@dcslovaks.org if you have questions.

Bill Tarkulich is the grandson of Carpatho-Rusyn grandparents from the villages of Nová Sedlica and Zboj, in the far northeastern corner of Slovakia, on the borders of Poland and Ukraine. He has traveled throughout Slovakia, visiting and remaining in touch with many of his relatives, from Bratislava to the Ukrainian border. Bill travels throughout the United States, delivering presentations about the history of East Slovakia, and is the author of a website, iabsi.com, that helps people locate their ancestral villages in Slovakia. His current research interests are the daily life of ordinary people in Slovakia during the world wars and under communism. He holds university degrees in Electrical Engineering and Business Administration, and is retired.

‘TRANSLATION IS A DUEL’ Literárne informačné centrum

Read the interview with Peter Petro, who translated the Rivers of Babylon trilogy into English.

Petro studied at Comenius University in Bratislava before moving to Canada and continuing his studies at the University of British Columbia and the University of Alberta in Edmonton (Ph.D in Comparative Literature). He teaches Russian and Slavic literature at the University of British Columbia and holds the Chair of Modern European Studies.

The Association of the Slovak Writers’ Organisations awards the P. O. Hviezdoslav Prize each year to a translator of Slovak literature into a foreign language. In December last year, this prize was awarded to the literary scholar, PETER PETRO,  who lives in Canada. He was awarded the prize for his translations into English.

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