CGSI Quarterly Meeting - February 2007

A CGSI Quarterly meeting was held February 24, 2007 in the St. Cyril & Methodius Slovak Catholic Church in Minneapolis, MN.

The theme of the meeting was “Slovaks Here and There”. The program featured Slovaks old and young, of many times and places.

The first speaker was Don Pafko. His topic was “The Bohemian Flats Slovak Community”. His family roots were in “the flats”. Don brought photos and records to display. A summary of his talk included; A Danish couple was the first to settle in this area in 1869. The flats was along the Mississippi river and east of downtown Minneapolis. The Slovak immigrants immediate goal was to make enough money to move up the hill to the Cedar-Riverside area. The next goal was to continue on to the Lake Street area. Their overall goal was to make money in the US, then return to Slovakia and buy the land that they once lived on in Slovakia. The serfs were paid in goods rather then money.

In Slovakia they washed clothes in the river using a stick to beat the clothes but the Mississippi was too polluted for washing. In 1920 the Coon Rapids dam burst and flooded the lower part of the flats. The old Washington Ave. bridge gives a good view of the flats. Today the flats is a large park. Don Pafko published an article with pictures, a diagram of the flats and references in the June 2003 Nase rodina.

                 Don Pafko
                              Don Pafko at the CGSI Quarterly Meeting

The second speaker was Katarina Vilimova. She discussed the CGSI- sponsored Essays by Slovak students. 36 entries were submitted by Slovak students. A committee picked the six finalists. These six essays were translated to English. Cash prizes were awarded to the top three winners at a luncheon Tuesday, September 20, 2005 on the first day of the 2005 Back to the Homeland conference. The three essays and pictures can be seen in the News and Articles.

Summaries of the all 36 essays were translated to English by Katarina Vilimova. The summaries include the surnames and village names mentioned in the essays. Themes of the essays included; Struggles to Survive, Ravages of War, Under Communism for 40 years, Magyarization (Hapsburgs), American Slovaks and Individual Achievements. Values shown in the essays included; hardwork, importance of family, honesty, integrity, respect for others, and importance of property. Summaries of the 36 essays are for sale. In the summaries, special note is taken of the surnames and place names mentioned. If more details are desired Katarina would be available for detailed translation.

                 Katarina Vilimova
                         Katarina Vilimova at the CGSI Quarterly Meeting

Susan Marcinkus was the third speaker at the meeting. Susan presented the film “Pictures from the Old Country”. These are chronicles of the filmmaker’s quest to uncover the mysteries of her Slovak identity and heritage, after they had been lost behind the Iron Curtain and her family’s silence. Growing up during the Cold War, she was curious about the “strange” language her grandmother spoke. Along the way, not only does she gain a deeper understanding of her family roots – but discovers a beautiful land, a rich culture and a profound sense of her own Slovak American identity. The award-winning film was shot entirely on location in Slovakia. The film “Pictures from the Old Country “ is available for purchase. For more information contact manifestifilms@aol.com or 708-660-9320.

                 Susan Marcinkus
                                   Susan Marcinkus presenting her film