Consisting of many distinct elements – from nation-wide school essay competitions, to academic conferences, to musical and/or dramatic presentations, to the ceremonial laying of wreaths and flowers – they take place in Bratislava, Slovakia’s capital city; in Martin, a historic city that is also the location of the National Library and the National Cemetery; and in nearby Sučany, the birthplace of Milan Hodža, of my grandmother, and of my mother.
The annual Prize of Milan Hodža is awarded during these celebrations. For 2014 the academic prize went to Prof. Vladimír Goněc for his extensive studies of Hodža’s work and influence, particularly on the international scene. The prize for work in a more public realm went to two outstanding academic institutions that have organized essay competitions on themes broadly relating to Hodža’s thinking and legacy, engaging students throughout Slovakia and even in Slovak communities outside the borders of the country: the Elementary School of Milan Hodža in Bratislava, and the Bilingual Gymnasium of Milan Hodža in Sučany. The schools bear my grandfather’s name because he played a significant role in their establishment during the years of pre-war Czechoslovakia.
In the Lutheran church of Martin, presenting a plaque to Dr.Miroslav Pekník of the Slovak Academy of Sciences, who from the beginning been the main organizing spirit behind the Days of Milan Hodža. The plaque expresses the thanks of our family to Dr. Pekník.
Later in the church, receiving a commemorative medal issued jointly by the city of Martin and the town of Sučany recognizing significant contributions to the organization and implementation of the Days of Milan Hodža.
In the National Cemetery, laying wreaths and flowers at the grave of my grandparents, Milan Hodža and his wife Irena. The young people are our granddaughter Vera Lochtefeld (black dress) and two students from the Bilingual Gymnasium of Milan Hodža in Sučany.
With the gymnasium students.
Wreaths and flowers placed at the bust of Milan Hodža on the main square of Sučany. The pedestal has been prepared to receive a large statue of Hodža.
Family on the square of Sučany. Milan Hodža’s father was the pastor of the Lutheran church in the background; my mother was born in the parish house.
Raising a toast to ten years of the Days of Milan Hodža. The mayor of Sučany, Josef Petráš, an ardent supporter of these celebrations, on the left; Dr. Miroslav Pekník on the right.