Osadne Hlasy -- January 06, 1933Slovaks Resigned from the World's Fair Committee A Declaration to the Patriotic Slovaks in America
Dear Slovak Friends;
A World's Fair will be held in 1933, in the City of Chicago. It will be a World's Progress Exposition. All the nationalities are making preparations to display their cultural achievements to the world.
The Slovaks of Chicago, had taken great interest in this undertaking and wished to participate in the Century of Progress Exposition. Therefore, at a mass meeting of the Chicago Slovaks, held on Nov. 29, 1931, there was organized a Slovak World's Fair Committee, for the purpose of uniting all the Slovaks in America, with the idea of making a united appearance before the world. This was denied to them by the World's Fair executive committee. The Slovaks, then, in order to show their strength and might2
to the public, chose another committee, which consisted of representatives from all the large Slovak organizations.
The Slovaks were to unite with the Bohemians, not as Czechoslovaks-as the Boehemians wished it-but on the same basis as their brothers, the Czechs. The following Slovaks were on the committee: Mr. Samuel Kostelny, Dr. P. Hletko, Mr. Adam Poliak, Mr. Michael Rehak, Mr. V. S. Platek, Elizabeth Lavrinec, Julia Kraycovic, Catherine Bohus, Mary Sopocy, Mr. Martin Potucek, Mr. M. Palkovic, Mr. Hermina Vlk, Mr. Joseph Simonides, Anne Simek, Mr. Joseph Spanik, Mr. John Filko, Reverend Mlinarovic, Mr. Rondzik, Mr. Bradec and Reverand Pelikan.
The Slovak Committee united with the Bohemians, and formed a Czecho-Slovak3
Committee, in which the Slocaks were to receive equal rights and privileges as their brothers, the Czechs, and share equally all the expenses.
The by-laws for the committee were made about a year ago. According to them, the committee was to be called, The Czecho-Slovak Branch of the World's Fair Committee, Century of Progress in Chicago, 1933.
From the year 1931, the cooperative work of the Czechs and Slovaks was gradually developing, and a satisfactory understanding was reached. But a month ago, arguments and disagreements took place concerning the incorporation of the Czecho-Slovak Committee. The Czechs were in favor of incorporating the committee as Czechoslovak, that is, without a hyphen. For the first time they revealed their intentions to the Slovaks by using4
the name in the Worlds Fair, without a hyphen. The Slovaks adhering to the by-laws, wanted to know why they could not appear as Czechs and Slovaks, as two separate nations represented by one Czecho-Slovak committee? An argument developed between the Czechs and the Slovaks.The Czechs claimed that it made no difference as to whether the committee were known as Czechoslovak or Czecho-Slovak, because they both meant the same thing. The Slovaks, however, had a different opinion in the matter. They mentioned the fact that when the contract was signed between both nationalities, the committee was called Czecho-Slovak. Our brothers the Czechs stated that we should appear before the public as a Czechoslovakian nation and apply the hyphen only in the Slovak and Bohemian connection. After the statement had been made, we, the undersigned Slovaks, resigned from the committee because we realized that the situation, in the future would not be a smooth one.5
We as Slovaks, faithful to our nation, could not appear before the American public as Czechoslovaks. Also we could not justly proclaim the identity of the Czecho-Slovak nation. If we were not allowed to declare at the World's Fair that we are Slovaks, we would be misrepresented.
We were willing to cooperate with out Czech brothers on a basis of equality, and we are still willing to do so. But only on the condition, that we will be recognized and accepted as a Slovak nation. We are only defending the interests of the Slovak people. The patriotic Slovaks will approve our reason for resigning from the committee. We regret that we had to take this step, but if we wish to stand up for our rights, we must do so, regardless of the price it may entail.6
Signed: Adam Poliak, Elizabeth Lavrinec, John Filko, Michael Rehak, Julia Krajcovic, Dr. Peter Hletko, Anne Simek, Hermina Vlk, M. Palkovic.
Chicago, Illinois, December 31, 1932
II B 1 c 3, III B 2, I C
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