A History of the Binghamton Slovaks

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9781885001153: A History of the Binghamton Slovaks

World War I is generally regarded as "The War to End All Wars," and involved these world powers: Great Britain, France, Italy, Germany, Austria-Hungary, Russia, and the United States. Not so well known are the politics that went on behind the scenes. The leaders of the oppressed nations of Eastern Europe worked for years to convince the world powers that it was the right time and opportunity to acquire independence for minority peoples who had suffered for centuries under the heels of German and Austro-Hungarian rule. Among those fleeing the tyranny of this regime were the Slovaks, whose culture, language, and educational opportunities were severely suppressed.

Slovak immigrants who settled in America and considered Binghamton as their new home did not forget their roots. They were eager to assist in acquiring independence for Slovakia, Moravia, and Bohemia. They recruited Slovak young men to become legionnaires in a Slovak unit to fight in Europe, and they also undertook a project to raise money to send to Slovakia to help the burgeoning new democracy.

This book was written by a corps of dedicated men and women, and compiled by Imrich Mazar, in order to credit the donors who contributed to the formation of the new nation of Czechoslovakia. Since it was written in Slovak, it became a project for Wilhelmina Mazar Satina, daughter of Imrich Mazar, to have the book translated into English. The resulting history of these Binghamton Slovaks is a valuable and absorbing book for historians, and particularly for the descendants of the writers and donors of this history in tracing their ancestors’ lives and activities. The book is truly a treasure of history, written while it was being lived from the years 1879 to 1919.

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About the Author:

Wilhelmina J. Mazar Satina, editor of this history, is a musician, former teacher, a published writer and editor, and creator of embroideries.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

The beginning of the Slovak colony in Binghamton, N.Y.

...

...Jan Murka, a slovak originally from the Saris region, came to Binghmaton from Scranton, Pa. in 1879.

In 1881, the first three Slovaks from Gbely, left for America. They were Jan Svrcek, Ignac Foriska and Jan Rozboril (Foit), but it is not clear whether they were actually in Binghamton.

In 1882, another four Slovaks from Gbely left for America. They were: Tomas Danek, Matej Sirhal, Frantisek Pratt and Imrich Rusek, born in Petrova Ves. They were in Binghamton working on the railroad between Binghamton and Susquehanna, Pa. After about a one year stay three of these men returned to Slovakia, but after a short time they came back to America. In their talks about Binghamton, they metioned that they had been living at Murin's and later on they cooked their meals themselves in some cottage, where Imrich Rusek was the cook.

About seventy-five Slovaks were brought from Pennsylvania to Binghamton in 1885 by a gravel train. These Slovaks were workers on the Lackawanna railroad. But as a result of a collision of a freight train with this gravel train, the railroad was damaged, and the workers left for other jobs, except for four of them, who remained in Binghamton. One of them was Jan Stavnicky who was later followed by his family, and has lived in Binghamton ever since. This happened 34 years ago. While living as bachelors, before their wives joined them, these men worked on the railroad and lived at "DL" railway in a boxcar during summers. Their daily wage was $1.25. ... The Irish considered them savages; they used to call them 'Wild People', who were not allowed to go to the Post office to pick up their mail, but their boss used to bring them their mail instead.

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