Hungary SIG #Hungary *re: Research in Slovakia, etc #hungary

Tom Venetianer <tom.vene@...>

Dear George,

I'm answering to the list because I believe some information are of general=
interest. I do not have ALL answers but I can offer you guidance to some,=
related only to Slovakia. I am not familiar with Romania. See the answers=
below, enclosed between double square brackets [[]].

Good luck and safe trip

At 01:00 -0500 21.09.2005, H-SIG digest wrote:
Subject: Research in Slovakia, etc
From: George Farkas <gfarkas@...>
Date: Mon, 19 Sep 2005 11:14:39 -0400

1. How important is it to be able to speak Slovak? I do not speak
Slovak at all; I so speak Hungarian as well as English, French and
Hebrew, and I have some German.
[[In some of the places you plan to go, *it might be important* to speak=
Slovak. In the capital Bratislava and southern towns (Kosice, Presov,=
Mihalovce), many people, including taxi drivers, speak Hungarian, sometimes=
German. You may receive good tips in the hotels where you stay about who=
can be used concurrently as a translator and driver. English is spoken, but=
not as widely as in Western Europe. And, last but not least, many Slovaks=
HATE the Hungarian language and hate the Hungarians, so be careful and=
inquire tactfully, asking unknown persons if they *mind* speaking Hungarian.

2. Do I have to set up appointments to visit the archives,
cemeteries, Jewish community organizations in advance? This is
problematic because I do want to be flexible if possible.
[[It wont hurt a bit if you make appointments in advance. In the case of=
UZZNO, it would be highly advisable, because the honchos (volunteers) are=
often out of office. In the case of archives, it is important to know in=
advance their working hours. Usually they open late and close early. In the=
case of cemeteries, the answer is *definitively make an appointment* with=
the key holder(s). Many Jewish cemeteries are closed all the time, and=
somebody is in charge of the keys. Or, even if the cemetery is open, nobody=
is there to help you finding graves. So learn in advance and try to make an=
appointment with the related key-holder person(s) an/or grave keeper.]]

3. How easy/difficult is it to find records of events, vital
information, etc prior to 1900? 1800?

[[Definitively it depends on the places you are searching. The BYTCA archive=
- I infer that is the place you call "Bittse" - has Jewish records for some=
towns, but not for all, because a fire destroyed many of them. Get in touch=
with Dr. Weisbergerova, the archive's head, she is Jewish and willing to he=

4. How can I find out where (official and Jewish community) archives
are located? How easy/ difficult is it to get access? Are tips for
civil servants appreciated? (If yes, what amounts are reasonable?)

[[The easiest is to send a letter to UZZNO (in my experience, they do not=
reply emails), in Bratislava. Send it at once, since the answer may take=
several weeks/months. You can also get in touch with the Slovak National=
Archive in Bratislava. They correspond in English and are quite responsive.=
Again, do it at once. I don't know about tipping the servants, but I bet=
you they will gladly accept some nice American gifts.]]

5. How easy is it to get about? I was thinking about renting a car,
so as not to be tied to the bus and train schedules. Are good maps
easily available? How easy/difficult is it to be able to get an
Internet connection for my laptop?

[[I would discourage you to drive a rented car, unless you are an=
adventurous person. The trains function very well and have quite frequent=
schedules to almost everywhere in Slovakia. First class, when existent, is=
nice and not expensive. Cabs are also quite affordable. And you have the=
advantage of a driver who can show you around, saving you a lot of time.=
Depending where you go and what you wish to visit, you can rent a cab for a=
day. I don't know the Internet situation in Slovakia.]]

6. Is a week enough time or will I have to cut out some of the places?
[[My guess is that you would need at least two weeks to accomplish what you=
described. One week will definitively be tight.]]

7. Is kosher food available at all?
[[Yes, in some major towns, such as Bratislava, Kosice and Zilina. However,=
and this an universal lesson I learned a long time ago, find the local=
rabbi and/or Jewish community (or even a Jewish home), and he/they will=
tell you how to get around with kosher food. Again, the UZZNO can be your=
source for this.]]

Mentioned sources and related names/addresses:
(Caveat: I don't know how updated these information are, I have been=
collecting them for eaons)

Ustreda Zentralna Zidovskich Nabozenske Obcy
=46ederation of Jewish Communities in Slovakia
Mr. Weisz - director secretary
Kozia ul, 21
814 47 Bratislava
421 (7) 5441 2167

Statny Oblastny Archiv v Bytci kastiel
Dr. Maria Weinbergerova - chief archivist
014 35 Bytca
421-41-553 24 43

Statny Okresny Archiv v Liptovskom Mikulasi
Peter Dvorsky - archivist
Skolska ulice c. 4
031 01 Liptovsky Mikulas
(old phone): (849) 233 32

Slovensky Narodny Archiv
JUDr. Darius Rusnak - director
Drotarska cesta c. 42
817 01 Bratislava
421 (7) 580-11-78

Ministerstvo Vnutra Slovenskej Republiky
Odbor Arch=EDvnictva a Spisovej Sluzby
Dr. Peter Kartous - director
Krizkova 7
811 04 Bratislava
421 (2) 5249-6051

Peter Vitek
Jamnok 29
033 01 Liptovsky Hradok
Tom Venetianer <mailto:tom.vene@...>
Sao Paulo - Brazil

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