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dukla pass veteran to be honored in slovakia

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  • nhasior@aol.com
    hello everyone, A co worker showed me this article yesterday in the New York Journal News. wanted to share it with the list. it was on the front page. Noreen
    Message 1 of 12 , Oct 4, 2005
    • 0 Attachment
      hello everyone,
      A co worker showed me this article yesterday in the New York Journal News.
      wanted to share it with the list. it was on the front page.
      Noreen
      ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
      -----------------------------------------------------




      This is a printer friendly version of an article from the The Journal News.
      To print this article open the file menu and choose Print.



      Veteran honored for Eastern Front battle

      By ROBERT MARCHANT
      THE JOURNAL NEWS
      (Original Publication: October 3, 2005)

      Battle of Dukla Pass took heavy casualties

      When: Sept. 8 until the end of October 1944, with further Soviet advances
      continuing through November

      Where: Southern Poland, Slovakia, eastern Ukraine

      Casualties: 84,000 Soviets, 54,000 Germans and 6,000 in the Czechoslovak Army
      Corps

      Result: Nazi troops forced out of Slovakia; Red Army poised to take Prague in
      May 1945.






      Thursday is "Liberation Day" in the eastern European nation of Slovakia.

      There will be speeches, toasts, proclamations and, for an 84-year-old veteran
      from Eastchester, a particularly sweet moment.

      John (Jan) Kulhan was one of those liberators who helped turn the tide a
      gainst the Third Reich and one of the handful of survivors of a ferocious battle in
      the fall of 1944 that drove the Nazis from his homeland. The Battle of Dukla
      Pass raged for a month between the Nazis and the Soviet Army and their allies
      in the region bordered by Poland, Slovakia and Ukraine known as the Dukla
      Pass, a section of the northern Carpathian mountains.

      Kulhan, 83, a former Bronxville resident and retired engineer, will be
      honored in a semi-official ceremony at the Military Museum in Suidnik, Slovakia, his
      native land. He was a young artillery and transport officer in the old
      Czechoslovak army allied with the Soviets, and he is the last known Slovakian to
      have taken part in a battle that has a complex and enduring legacy in eastern
      Europe.

      "We wanted to create our own country. I was fighting for my own freedom. It
      didn't happen then; communism dominated everything," Kulhan recalled.

      But the fight gave Slovakia a sense of its destiny as an autonomous nation,
      which it finally became in 1993 after separating peacefully from the Czech
      Republic. "When I was fighting, I was fighting for the idea that everybody should
      be free, not a slave," he said.

      His Czechoslovak army unit was pressed into service by the Germans against
      the Soviets after the Nazis took over Czechoslovakia, but the unit later
      switched sides and joined the fight against the German military machine.

      Kulhan can recall the 1944 battle with sharp details as his clear, gray eyes
      narrow with concentration — how German prisoners looked when they finally
      surrendered after a murderous artillery barrage, the sound of a mortar shell on
      its downward arc.

      He tells many stories of his past — how he saved the future president of
      Czechoslovakia, Gen. Ludvik Svoboda, by pushing him out of a bunker that was
      targeted by Nazi artillery moments before it was destroyed, working with American
      intelligence agents after the war, sneaking out of Slovakia with his wife and
      children in a daring border-crossing to Austria.

      "He never got the recognition he deserved," said Kulhan's son-in-law, Joseph
      Kenney, a New Jersey immigration officer and an Army Reserve lieutenant
      colonel. "When he turned against the Communists, they turned against him."

      At the ceremony on Thursday, Kulhan will be honored for the first time by his
      native Slovakia since it became an autonomous country.

      Kulhan came to this country in 1950 and became a proud American, an admirer
      of Ronald Reagan who can quote lines from his speeches. As for his native land,
      he said he hoped his part in the campaign of 1944 will bring greater
      attention to the cause for which he fought.

      "I got enough medals. But I'd like recognition for the people who fought and
      died for Slovakian independence," he said.

      A father of five, he will be joined in his journey by his wife, Marta, to
      whom he has been married for 59 years.

      There are still animosities and political fissures in Slovakia, much of it
      stemming from the World War II era and its aftermath under Soviet domination.

      "People were caught up in the maelstrom, and they had to make hard choices,"
      said Vladimir Baumgarten, a Florida scholar who has researched the battle of
      Dukla Pass and runs a cultural organization promoting Slovak-American ties.
      Speaking of the commemoration of the battle this week in which Kulhan will be
      honored, Baumgarten said, "Hopefully, it will be a healing catharsis. It brings
      together both sides of the Cold War."

      It will also be a moment of family pride. The old soldier's daughter, Darline
      Kulhan, was already bursting with pride before the trip started. "I got a new
      digital camera, and I'm going to take so many pictures," she said in her
      Eastchester home. "He put it on the line for freedom, and to get this recognition,
      it will be a moment of joy."




      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • johnqadam
      I believe that reprint without permission is an infringement of the copyright. Pointing to the article would be OK.
      Message 2 of 12 , Oct 4, 2005
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        I believe that reprint without permission is an infringement of the
        copyright. Pointing to the article would be OK.
      • Bill Tarkulich
        Gannett allows the reproduction for personal and non-commercial use. You may download material from the Service and may use the Service for your personal,
        Message 3 of 12 , Oct 4, 2005
        • 0 Attachment
          Gannett allows the reproduction for personal and non-commercial use.
          "You may download material from the Service and may use the Service for
          your personal, non-commercial use only, provided you keep intact all
          copyright and other proprietary notices."
          source: http://www.thejournalnews.com

          I believe she is OK. For completeness, one should add:
          "Copyright 2005 The Journal News, a Gannett Co. Inc. newspaper serving
          Westchester, Rockland and Putnam Counties in New York."

          I looked into this because the Dukla battle is of particular interest to
          me, having conducted some moderate research and published pages on the
          battle.

          Bill


          > I believe that reprint without permission is an infringement of the
          > copyright. Pointing to the article would be OK.
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          > To unsubscribe from this group, go to
          > http://www.yahoogroups.com/group/SLOVAK-ROOTS -or- send blank email to
          > SLOVAK-ROOTS-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
          > Yahoo! Groups Links
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
        • Dr. Joe Q
          I am not sure, but I think that the copyright remedies apply if one has profited from the use of the material. If the material is noted in a citation, e.g.
          Message 4 of 12 , Oct 4, 2005
          • 0 Attachment
            I am not sure, but I think that the copyright
            "remedies" apply if one has profited from the use of
            the material. If the material is noted in a citation,
            e.g. Joe Shmuck, Slovak-Roots 2001, message -43000;
            the invocation of "copyright protection" does not
            apply. If the citation is missing, then (perhaps) one
            has not been proper in referring to the material - - -
            however, since the individual making the error did not
            receive any compensation for the statement, the whole
            transaction is null (not unlike "Xerox" Joe Biden who
            quoted some of Kennedy's speeches a few yeas ago.)
            But then, I am just a simple country biochemist, the
            interpretation of a lawyer would be more useful.

            Dr "Q"

            Why does this copyright question come up so often;
            once something has let loose in the internet, it is
            essentially public property?

            --- johnqadam <johnqadam@...> wrote:

            > I believe that reprint without permission is an
            > infringement of the
            > copyright. Pointing to the article would be OK.



            __________________________________
            Yahoo! Mail - PC Magazine Editors' Choice 2005
            http://mail.yahoo.com
          • Vladimir Linder
            Right on, just some people on this list are very elementary plain when it comes to COPYRIGHT. Vladi
            Message 5 of 12 , Oct 4, 2005
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              Right on, just some people on this list are very elementary plain
              when it comes to COPYRIGHT.

              Vladi

              At 07:03 AM 10/4/2005, you wrote:
              >I believe that reprint without permission is an infringement of the
              >copyright. Pointing to the article would be OK.
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >To unsubscribe from this group, go to
              ><http://www.yahoogroups.com/group/SLOVAK-ROOTS>http://www.yahoogroups.com/group/SLOVAK-ROOTS
              >-or- send blank email to SLOVAK-ROOTS-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
              >
              >
              >
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            • nhasior@aol.com
              you know guys, forget i even posted the article. you get so darn caught up in the trees, you missed the whole forest. a Slovak soldier is getting honored
              Message 6 of 12 , Oct 5, 2005
              • 0 Attachment
                you know guys, forget i even posted the article. you get so darn caught up
                in the trees, you missed the whole forest. a Slovak soldier is getting
                honored for his courage and service fighting for freedom and you dont even comment
                on that, only the moot question of copyright. i think that i have enough
                intelligence to understand what i can post and what i cannot post.
                plus, i though maybe someone researching his surname could consider possible
                connections, but i guess my vision is too elementary.
                noreen


                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • Bill Tarkulich
                Hi Noreen, This is very interesting and suprising, and quite a coincidence to see this article. I have been corresponding with John Kenny for the past month.
                Message 7 of 12 , Oct 5, 2005
                • 0 Attachment
                  Hi Noreen,

                  This is very interesting and suprising, and quite a coincidence to see
                  this article. I have been corresponding with John Kenny for the past
                  month. In fact, given my interest, they were wondering if I could come to
                  the ceremony, but alas, life gets in the way. They even sent me a scan of
                  John Kulhan's "Order of the White Eagle", presented to him by president
                  Soboda in 1947. I plan to post it when time allows.

                  I plan to call John on his return from Dukla, thanks to his son-in-law.

                  Dukla is a very interesting and tragic battle, which Westerners know very
                  little about. Over 100,000 casulties (dead and wounded), yet the west
                  never heard of the battle. I visited there during 2001, as it was so
                  close to my ancestral homeland. What is written of the battle is
                  primarily in Russian and Slovak, which makes it even less accessible to
                  most westerners. So I began some web
                  page(s)http://www.iabsi.com/gen/public/Military_dukla_pass.htm and
                  http://www.iabsi.com/gen/public/military_history.htm to describe the
                  battle in English. Mistakes are intrinsic in this work, since history is
                  written by the victors and each side has an axe to grind. I prefer to
                  listen to all sides and draw my own conclusions.

                  I plan to interview John and perhaps write a more detailed accounting of
                  the battle. Of course his son-in-law has written an account of John's
                  life which should make for interesting reading.

                  While this is not directly genealogy, I find that history and genealogy
                  are commingled and should be examined mutually. Otherwise, people tell us
                  facts and we have them out of context. I found that the vacuum of WWII
                  knowledge about events in Slovakia to be too much for me to bear. I need
                  to get to the people who lived them and lift that information for all to
                  hear for future generations. Sounds noble, huh? Well, if we don't do it,
                  it ain't gonna get done. These good folks do not have many years left.

                  Thanks again,
                  Bill







                  > hello everyone,
                  > A co worker showed me this article yesterday in the New York Journal News.
                  > wanted to share it with the list. it was on the front page.
                  > Noreen
                  > ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                  > -----------------------------------------------------
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > This is a printer friendly version of an article from the The Journal
                  > News.
                  > To print this article open the file menu and choose Print.
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > Veteran honored for Eastern Front battle
                  >
                  > By ROBERT MARCHANT
                  > THE JOURNAL NEWS
                  > (Original Publication: October 3, 2005)
                  >
                  > Battle of Dukla Pass took heavy casualties
                  >
                  > When: Sept. 8 until the end of October 1944, with further Soviet advances
                  > continuing through November
                  >
                  > Where: Southern Poland, Slovakia, eastern Ukraine
                  >
                  > Casualties: 84,000 Soviets, 54,000 Germans and 6,000 in the Czechoslovak
                  > Army
                  > Corps
                  >
                  > Result: Nazi troops forced out of Slovakia; Red Army poised to take Prague
                  > in
                  > May 1945.
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > Thursday is "Liberation Day" in the eastern European nation of Slovakia.
                  >
                  > There will be speeches, toasts, proclamations and, for an 84-year-old
                  > veteran
                  > from Eastchester, a particularly sweet moment.
                  >
                  > John (Jan) Kulhan was one of those liberators who helped turn the tide a
                  > gainst the Third Reich and one of the handful of survivors of a ferocious
                  > battle in
                  > the fall of 1944 that drove the Nazis from his homeland. The Battle of
                  > Dukla
                  > Pass raged for a month between the Nazis and the Soviet Army and their
                  > allies
                  > in the region bordered by Poland, Slovakia and Ukraine known as the Dukla
                  > Pass, a section of the northern Carpathian mountains.
                  >
                  > Kulhan, 83, a former Bronxville resident and retired engineer, will be
                  > honored in a semi-official ceremony at the Military Museum in Suidnik,
                  > Slovakia, his
                  > native land. He was a young artillery and transport officer in the old
                  > Czechoslovak army allied with the Soviets, and he is the last known
                  > Slovakian to
                  > have taken part in a battle that has a complex and enduring legacy in
                  > eastern
                  > Europe.
                  >
                  > "We wanted to create our own country. I was fighting for my own freedom.
                  > It
                  > didn't happen then; communism dominated everything," Kulhan recalled.
                  >
                  > But the fight gave Slovakia a sense of its destiny as an autonomous
                  > nation,
                  > which it finally became in 1993 after separating peacefully from the Czech
                  > Republic. "When I was fighting, I was fighting for the idea that everybody
                  > should
                  > be free, not a slave," he said.
                  >
                  > His Czechoslovak army unit was pressed into service by the Germans against
                  > the Soviets after the Nazis took over Czechoslovakia, but the unit later
                  > switched sides and joined the fight against the German military machine.
                  >
                  > Kulhan can recall the 1944 battle with sharp details as his clear, gray
                  > eyes
                  > narrow with concentration — how German prisoners looked when they
                  > finally
                  > surrendered after a murderous artillery barrage, the sound of a mortar
                  > shell on
                  > its downward arc.
                  >
                  > He tells many stories of his past — how he saved the future president of
                  > Czechoslovakia, Gen. Ludvik Svoboda, by pushing him out of a bunker that
                  > was
                  > targeted by Nazi artillery moments before it was destroyed, working with
                  > American
                  > intelligence agents after the war, sneaking out of Slovakia with his wife
                  > and
                  > children in a daring border-crossing to Austria.
                  >
                  > "He never got the recognition he deserved," said Kulhan's son-in-law,
                  > Joseph
                  > Kenney, a New Jersey immigration officer and an Army Reserve lieutenant
                  > colonel. "When he turned against the Communists, they turned against him."
                  >
                  > At the ceremony on Thursday, Kulhan will be honored for the first time by
                  > his
                  > native Slovakia since it became an autonomous country.
                  >
                  > Kulhan came to this country in 1950 and became a proud American, an
                  > admirer
                  > of Ronald Reagan who can quote lines from his speeches. As for his native
                  > land,
                  > he said he hoped his part in the campaign of 1944 will bring greater
                  > attention to the cause for which he fought.
                  >
                  > "I got enough medals. But I'd like recognition for the people who fought
                  > and
                  > died for Slovakian independence," he said.
                  >
                  > A father of five, he will be joined in his journey by his wife, Marta, to
                  > whom he has been married for 59 years.
                  >
                  > There are still animosities and political fissures in Slovakia, much of it
                  > stemming from the World War II era and its aftermath under Soviet
                  > domination.
                  >
                  > "People were caught up in the maelstrom, and they had to make hard
                  > choices,"
                  > said Vladimir Baumgarten, a Florida scholar who has researched the battle
                  > of
                  > Dukla Pass and runs a cultural organization promoting Slovak-American
                  > ties.
                  > Speaking of the commemoration of the battle this week in which Kulhan will
                  > be
                  > honored, Baumgarten said, "Hopefully, it will be a healing catharsis. It
                  > brings
                  > together both sides of the Cold War."
                  >
                  > It will also be a moment of family pride. The old soldier's daughter,
                  > Darline
                  > Kulhan, was already bursting with pride before the trip started. "I got a
                  > new
                  > digital camera, and I'm going to take so many pictures," she said in her
                  > Eastchester home. "He put it on the line for freedom, and to get this
                  > recognition,
                  > it will be a moment of joy."
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > To unsubscribe from this group, go to
                  > http://www.yahoogroups.com/group/SLOVAK-ROOTS -or- send blank email to
                  > SLOVAK-ROOTS-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
                  > Yahoo! Groups Links
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                • bettefriden@aol.com
                  Thanks for your article. Some articles can be of help to some people. I enjoyed it. Thanks again. Bette [Non-text portions of this message have been
                  Message 8 of 12 , Oct 5, 2005
                  • 0 Attachment
                    Thanks for your article. Some articles can be of help to some people. I
                    enjoyed it.
                    Thanks again.
                    Bette


                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • Milan Huba
                    I have relatives in Liptovska Luzna (Central Slovakia) that I visit just about every summer. One of their neighbors is an old-timer (a former WWII Slovakian
                    Message 9 of 12 , Oct 5, 2005
                    • 0 Attachment
                      I have relatives in Liptovska Luzna (Central Slovakia) that I visit just
                      about every summer. One of their neighbors is an old-timer (a former WWII
                      Slovakian soldier) who likes to talk about his WWII experiences. Most of
                      his stories were about the vicious fighting that took place in the mountains
                      that immediately surround Luzna. One side of the battle were the Soviets
                      with their Slovak allies (the partisans). On the other side were the
                      Germans and their Slovak and Russian allies. The Russian soldiers that
                      fought with the Germans were the Vlasov Guards and the Slovaks that fought
                      with the Germans were the Hlinka Guards. Some of the very fiercest no-hold
                      barred fighting was done by the Vlasov and the Hlinka guards. These two
                      groups considered themselves to be more anti-Communists, rather than
                      pro-German, and were fighting to save Slovakia and Europe from the Red Army
                      onslaught. You can still find the remains of the destroyed military
                      equipment lying about in the mountains.

                      In Luzna there is a monument listing the names of all the soldiers from
                      Luzna that were killed in the war. The monument was set up by the Communist
                      government and as such it lists only the Luzna soldiers who died fighting on
                      the side of Soviets. The soldiers who died fighting for their country with
                      the Germans are not acknowledged and are only remembered in the hearts of
                      their families.

                      The point of this dialog is that many brave young Slovak soldiers fought on
                      both sides of the war until the very end. The soldiers on both sides
                      believed that they were fighting for a noble cause. However, only the
                      soldiers that fought and died with the victors are acknowledged. The victors
                      get to write the histories and built the monuments.

                      This neighbor also told many stories about the Battle of Dukla pass.
                      Finally, out of curiosity, last year I made the long trip from Luzna to the
                      Eastern Slovakia and visited the battlefield area. The battlefield is very
                      interesting, covering many, many square miles. It is littered with many
                      almost intact German and Russian WWII tanks and field guns that remain along
                      the roads and in the fields where they were abandoned. The area has been
                      declared an outdoor museum.

                      According to this neighbor, the Soviet soldiers at Dukla pass were all plied
                      with vodka and then ordered to charge the German defenses. As they charged
                      forward, they were being slaughtered by the Germans who were in strong
                      defensive positions. During this charge, the Soviet soldiers were stumbling
                      and crawling over piles of bodies of their dead comrades. The Germans
                      finally pulled out of their defensive positions and retreated when they ran
                      out on ammunition.

                      After the Germans pulled out, the Soviets collected their bodies and dumped
                      them like so much garbage into huge pits. Each of these pits (mass graves)
                      contained the bodies of approximately 10,000 unidentified Soviet soldiers.
                      In contrast, most of the German dead were buried in individual graves, each
                      grave marked with the name, rank date of birth and date of death of the
                      soldier. These German soldiers graves are still being maintained by the
                      Germans.

                      Milan Huba

                      -----Original Message-----
                      From: SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com
                      [mailto:SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com]On Behalf Of Bill Tarkulich
                      Sent: Wednesday, October 05, 2005 7:27 AM
                      To: SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com
                      Subject: Re: [S-R] dukla pass veteran to be honored in slovakia (John
                      Kulhan)


                      Hi Noreen,

                      This is very interesting and suprising, and quite a coincidence to see
                      this article. I have been corresponding with John Kenny for the past
                      month. In fact, given my interest, they were wondering if I could come to
                      the ceremony, but alas, life gets in the way. They even sent me a scan of
                      John Kulhan's "Order of the White Eagle", presented to him by president
                      Soboda in 1947. I plan to post it when time allows.

                      I plan to call John on his return from Dukla, thanks to his son-in-law.

                      Dukla is a very interesting and tragic battle, which Westerners know very
                      little about. Over 100,000 casulties (dead and wounded), yet the west
                      never heard of the battle. I visited there during 2001, as it was so
                      close to my ancestral homeland. What is written of the battle is
                      primarily in Russian and Slovak, which makes it even less accessible to
                      most westerners. So I began some web
                      page(s)http://www.iabsi.com/gen/public/Military_dukla_pass.htm and
                      http://www.iabsi.com/gen/public/military_history.htm to describe the
                      battle in English. Mistakes are intrinsic in this work, since history is
                      written by the victors and each side has an axe to grind. I prefer to
                      listen to all sides and draw my own conclusions.

                      I plan to interview John and perhaps write a more detailed accounting of
                      the battle. Of course his son-in-law has written an account of John's
                      life which should make for interesting reading.

                      While this is not directly genealogy, I find that history and genealogy
                      are commingled and should be examined mutually. Otherwise, people tell us
                      facts and we have them out of context. I found that the vacuum of WWII
                      knowledge about events in Slovakia to be too much for me to bear. I need
                      to get to the people who lived them and lift that information for all to
                      hear for future generations. Sounds noble, huh? Well, if we don't do it,
                      it ain't gonna get done. These good folks do not have many years left.

                      Thanks again,
                      Bill







                      > hello everyone,
                      > A co worker showed me this article yesterday in the New York Journal News.
                      > wanted to share it with the list. it was on the front page.
                      > Noreen
                      > --------------------------------------------------------------------------
                      ----
                      > -----------------------------------------------------
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      > This is a printer friendly version of an article from the The Journal
                      > News.
                      > To print this article open the file menu and choose Print.
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      > Veteran honored for Eastern Front battle
                      >
                      > By ROBERT MARCHANT
                      > THE JOURNAL NEWS
                      > (Original Publication: October 3, 2005)
                      >
                      > Battle of Dukla Pass took heavy casualties
                      >
                      > When: Sept. 8 until the end of October 1944, with further Soviet advances
                      > continuing through November
                      >
                      > Where: Southern Poland, Slovakia, eastern Ukraine
                      >
                      > Casualties: 84,000 Soviets, 54,000 Germans and 6,000 in the Czechoslovak
                      > Army
                      > Corps
                      >
                      > Result: Nazi troops forced out of Slovakia; Red Army poised to take Prague
                      > in
                      > May 1945.
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      > Thursday is "Liberation Day" in the eastern European nation of Slovakia.
                      >
                      > There will be speeches, toasts, proclamations and, for an 84-year-old
                      > veteran
                      > from Eastchester, a particularly sweet moment.
                      >
                      > John (Jan) Kulhan was one of those liberators who helped turn the tide a
                      > gainst the Third Reich and one of the handful of survivors of a ferocious
                      > battle in
                      > the fall of 1944 that drove the Nazis from his homeland. The Battle of
                      > Dukla
                      > Pass raged for a month between the Nazis and the Soviet Army and their
                      > allies
                      > in the region bordered by Poland, Slovakia and Ukraine known as the Dukla
                      > Pass, a section of the northern Carpathian mountains.
                      >
                      > Kulhan, 83, a former Bronxville resident and retired engineer, will be
                      > honored in a semi-official ceremony at the Military Museum in Suidnik,
                      > Slovakia, his
                      > native land. He was a young artillery and transport officer in the old
                      > Czechoslovak army allied with the Soviets, and he is the last known
                      > Slovakian to
                      > have taken part in a battle that has a complex and enduring legacy in
                      > eastern
                      > Europe.
                      >
                      > "We wanted to create our own country. I was fighting for my own freedom.
                      > It
                      > didn't happen then; communism dominated everything," Kulhan recalled.
                      >
                      > But the fight gave Slovakia a sense of its destiny as an autonomous
                      > nation,
                      > which it finally became in 1993 after separating peacefully from the Czech
                      > Republic. "When I was fighting, I was fighting for the idea that everybody
                      > should
                      > be free, not a slave," he said.
                      >
                      > His Czechoslovak army unit was pressed into service by the Germans against
                      > the Soviets after the Nazis took over Czechoslovakia, but the unit later
                      > switched sides and joined the fight against the German military machine.
                      >
                      > Kulhan can recall the 1944 battle with sharp details as his clear, gray
                      > eyes
                      > narrow with concentration — how German prisoners looked when they
                      > finally
                      > surrendered after a murderous artillery barrage, the sound of a mortar
                      > shell on
                      > its downward arc.
                      >
                      > He tells many stories of his past — how he saved the future president of
                      > Czechoslovakia, Gen. Ludvik Svoboda, by pushing him out of a bunker that
                      > was
                      > targeted by Nazi artillery moments before it was destroyed, working with
                      > American
                      > intelligence agents after the war, sneaking out of Slovakia with his wife
                      > and
                      > children in a daring border-crossing to Austria.
                      >
                      > "He never got the recognition he deserved," said Kulhan's son-in-law,
                      > Joseph
                      > Kenney, a New Jersey immigration officer and an Army Reserve lieutenant
                      > colonel. "When he turned against the Communists, they turned against him."
                      >
                      > At the ceremony on Thursday, Kulhan will be honored for the first time by
                      > his
                      > native Slovakia since it became an autonomous country.
                      >
                      > Kulhan came to this country in 1950 and became a proud American, an
                      > admirer
                      > of Ronald Reagan who can quote lines from his speeches. As for his native
                      > land,
                      > he said he hoped his part in the campaign of 1944 will bring greater
                      > attention to the cause for which he fought.
                      >
                      > "I got enough medals. But I'd like recognition for the people who fought
                      > and
                      > died for Slovakian independence," he said.
                      >
                      > A father of five, he will be joined in his journey by his wife, Marta, to
                      > whom he has been married for 59 years.
                      >
                      > There are still animosities and political fissures in Slovakia, much of it
                      > stemming from the World War II era and its aftermath under Soviet
                      > domination.
                      >
                      > "People were caught up in the maelstrom, and they had to make hard
                      > choices,"
                      > said Vladimir Baumgarten, a Florida scholar who has researched the battle
                      > of
                      > Dukla Pass and runs a cultural organization promoting Slovak-American
                      > ties.
                      > Speaking of the commemoration of the battle this week in which Kulhan will
                      > be
                      > honored, Baumgarten said, "Hopefully, it will be a healing catharsis. It
                      > brings
                      > together both sides of the Cold War."
                      >
                      > It will also be a moment of family pride. The old soldier's daughter,
                      > Darline
                      > Kulhan, was already bursting with pride before the trip started. "I got a
                      > new
                      > digital camera, and I'm going to take so many pictures," she said in her
                      > Eastchester home. "He put it on the line for freedom, and to get this
                      > recognition,
                      > it will be a moment of joy."
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      > To unsubscribe from this group, go to
                      > http://www.yahoogroups.com/group/SLOVAK-ROOTS -or- send blank email to
                      > SLOVAK-ROOTS-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
                      > Yahoo! Groups Links
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >




                      To unsubscribe from this group, go to
                      http://www.yahoogroups.com/group/SLOVAK-ROOTS -or- send blank email to
                      SLOVAK-ROOTS-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
                      Yahoo! Groups Links
                    • Bill Tarkulich
                      Hello Milan, Before all these people are gone, you should really make it a point to ensure this man s story is at least captured and placed with the SNP Museum
                      Message 10 of 12 , Oct 6, 2005
                      • 0 Attachment
                        Hello Milan,

                        Before all these people are gone, you should really make it a point to
                        ensure this man's story is at least captured and placed with the SNP
                        Museum in Banska Bystrica. All first-person vantage points count in
                        understanding what happened. Additionally, from a more selfish point of
                        view, so too should your English rendering of these stories.

                        By the way, there was considerable animosity between the German War Graves
                        commission and the Czechoslovakia government. It is my understanding that
                        the Germans were never permitted to maintain German graves during the
                        Czecholslovak regime. It wasn't until the late 1990s that the Germans
                        were allowed to enter, rehabilitate and maintain these graves. I
                        photographed one just South of the Pass (
                        http://www.iabsi.com/gen/public/images/dukla/DK_German_Cemetery_Tarkulich.jpg
                        sorry it was raining heavily.)

                        I was also told that the Russians (and other Soviet block) returned later
                        and repatriated their soldiers bodies. I have not been able to
                        corroborate that. I am well aware of the Dukla memorial with graves of
                        the "big cheese". I'm a bit uncertain what happened to the "ordinary
                        guy." Do you know where any of the Soviet burials are in either Poland or
                        Slovakia? I've not seen them documented anywhere.

                        I never heard of the "Vlasov Guard". How in the world did they get behind
                        enemy lines to begin with. Did they come to the party late in the War?

                        Thanks for the information.

                        Bill Tarkulich

                        > I have relatives in Liptovska Luzna (Central Slovakia) that I visit just
                        > about every summer. One of their neighbors is an old-timer (a former WWII
                        > Slovakian soldier) who likes to talk about his WWII experiences. Most of
                        > his stories were about the vicious fighting that took place in the
                        > mountains
                        > that immediately surround Luzna. One side of the battle were the Soviets
                        > with their Slovak allies (the partisans). On the other side were the
                        > Germans and their Slovak and Russian allies. The Russian soldiers that
                        > fought with the Germans were the Vlasov Guards and the Slovaks that fought
                        > with the Germans were the Hlinka Guards. Some of the very fiercest
                        > no-hold
                        > barred fighting was done by the Vlasov and the Hlinka guards. These two
                        > groups considered themselves to be more anti-Communists, rather than
                        > pro-German, and were fighting to save Slovakia and Europe from the Red
                        > Army
                        > onslaught. You can still find the remains of the destroyed military
                        > equipment lying about in the mountains.
                        >
                        > In Luzna there is a monument listing the names of all the soldiers from
                        > Luzna that were killed in the war. The monument was set up by the
                        > Communist
                        > government and as such it lists only the Luzna soldiers who died fighting
                        > on
                        > the side of Soviets. The soldiers who died fighting for their country
                        > with
                        > the Germans are not acknowledged and are only remembered in the hearts of
                        > their families.
                        >
                        > The point of this dialog is that many brave young Slovak soldiers fought
                        > on
                        > both sides of the war until the very end. The soldiers on both sides
                        > believed that they were fighting for a noble cause. However, only the
                        > soldiers that fought and died with the victors are acknowledged. The
                        > victors
                        > get to write the histories and built the monuments.
                        >
                        > This neighbor also told many stories about the Battle of Dukla pass.
                        > Finally, out of curiosity, last year I made the long trip from Luzna to
                        > the
                        > Eastern Slovakia and visited the battlefield area. The battlefield is very
                        > interesting, covering many, many square miles. It is littered with many
                        > almost intact German and Russian WWII tanks and field guns that remain
                        > along
                        > the roads and in the fields where they were abandoned. The area has been
                        > declared an outdoor museum.
                        >
                        > According to this neighbor, the Soviet soldiers at Dukla pass were all
                        > plied
                        > with vodka and then ordered to charge the German defenses. As they
                        > charged
                        > forward, they were being slaughtered by the Germans who were in strong
                        > defensive positions. During this charge, the Soviet soldiers were
                        > stumbling
                        > and crawling over piles of bodies of their dead comrades. The Germans
                        > finally pulled out of their defensive positions and retreated when they
                        > ran
                        > out on ammunition.
                        >
                        > After the Germans pulled out, the Soviets collected their bodies and
                        > dumped
                        > them like so much garbage into huge pits. Each of these pits (mass
                        > graves)
                        > contained the bodies of approximately 10,000 unidentified Soviet soldiers.
                        > In contrast, most of the German dead were buried in individual graves,
                        > each
                        > grave marked with the name, rank date of birth and date of death of the
                        > soldier. These German soldiers graves are still being maintained by the
                        > Germans.
                        >
                        > Milan Huba
                        >
                        > -----Original Message-----
                        > From: SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com
                        > [mailto:SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com]On Behalf Of Bill Tarkulich
                        > Sent: Wednesday, October 05, 2005 7:27 AM
                        > To: SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com
                        > Subject: Re: [S-R] dukla pass veteran to be honored in slovakia (John
                        > Kulhan)
                        >
                        >
                        > Hi Noreen,
                        >
                        > This is very interesting and suprising, and quite a coincidence to see
                        > this article. I have been corresponding with John Kenny for the past
                        > month. In fact, given my interest, they were wondering if I could come to
                        > the ceremony, but alas, life gets in the way. They even sent me a scan of
                        > John Kulhan's "Order of the White Eagle", presented to him by president
                        > Soboda in 1947. I plan to post it when time allows.
                        >
                        > I plan to call John on his return from Dukla, thanks to his son-in-law.
                        >
                        > Dukla is a very interesting and tragic battle, which Westerners know very
                        > little about. Over 100,000 casulties (dead and wounded), yet the west
                        > never heard of the battle. I visited there during 2001, as it was so
                        > close to my ancestral homeland. What is written of the battle is
                        > primarily in Russian and Slovak, which makes it even less accessible to
                        > most westerners. So I began some web
                        > page(s)http://www.iabsi.com/gen/public/Military_dukla_pass.htm and
                        > http://www.iabsi.com/gen/public/military_history.htm to describe the
                        > battle in English. Mistakes are intrinsic in this work, since history is
                        > written by the victors and each side has an axe to grind. I prefer to
                        > listen to all sides and draw my own conclusions.
                        >
                        > I plan to interview John and perhaps write a more detailed accounting of
                        > the battle. Of course his son-in-law has written an account of John's
                        > life which should make for interesting reading.
                        >
                        > While this is not directly genealogy, I find that history and genealogy
                        > are commingled and should be examined mutually. Otherwise, people tell us
                        > facts and we have them out of context. I found that the vacuum of WWII
                        > knowledge about events in Slovakia to be too much for me to bear. I need
                        > to get to the people who lived them and lift that information for all to
                        > hear for future generations. Sounds noble, huh? Well, if we don't do it,
                        > it ain't gonna get done. These good folks do not have many years left.
                        >
                        > Thanks again,
                        > Bill
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >> hello everyone,
                        >> A co worker showed me this article yesterday in the New York Journal
                        >> News.
                        >> wanted to share it with the list. it was on the front page.
                        >> Noreen
                        >> --------------------------------------------------------------------------
                        > ----
                        >> -----------------------------------------------------
                        >>
                        >>
                        >>
                        >>
                        >> This is a printer friendly version of an article from the The Journal
                        >> News.
                        >> To print this article open the file menu and choose Print.
                        >>
                        >>
                        >>
                        >> Veteran honored for Eastern Front battle
                        >>
                        >> By ROBERT MARCHANT
                        >> THE JOURNAL NEWS
                        >> (Original Publication: October 3, 2005)
                        >>
                        >> Battle of Dukla Pass took heavy casualties
                        >>
                        >> When: Sept. 8 until the end of October 1944, with further Soviet
                        >> advances
                        >> continuing through November
                        >>
                        >> Where: Southern Poland, Slovakia, eastern Ukraine
                        >>
                        >> Casualties: 84,000 Soviets, 54,000 Germans and 6,000 in the Czechoslovak
                        >> Army
                        >> Corps
                        >>
                        >> Result: Nazi troops forced out of Slovakia; Red Army poised to take
                        >> Prague
                        >> in
                        >> May 1945.
                        >>
                        >>
                        >>
                        >>
                        >>
                        >>
                        >> Thursday is "Liberation Day" in the eastern European nation of Slovakia.
                        >>
                        >> There will be speeches, toasts, proclamations and, for an 84-year-old
                        >> veteran
                        >> from Eastchester, a particularly sweet moment.
                        >>
                        >> John (Jan) Kulhan was one of those liberators who helped turn the tide a
                        >> gainst the Third Reich and one of the handful of survivors of a
                        >> ferocious
                        >> battle in
                        >> the fall of 1944 that drove the Nazis from his homeland. The Battle of
                        >> Dukla
                        >> Pass raged for a month between the Nazis and the Soviet Army and their
                        >> allies
                        >> in the region bordered by Poland, Slovakia and Ukraine known as the
                        >> Dukla
                        >> Pass, a section of the northern Carpathian mountains.
                        >>
                        >> Kulhan, 83, a former Bronxville resident and retired engineer, will be
                        >> honored in a semi-official ceremony at the Military Museum in Suidnik,
                        >> Slovakia, his
                        >> native land. He was a young artillery and transport officer in the old
                        >> Czechoslovak army allied with the Soviets, and he is the last known
                        >> Slovakian to
                        >> have taken part in a battle that has a complex and enduring legacy in
                        >> eastern
                        >> Europe.
                        >>
                        >> "We wanted to create our own country. I was fighting for my own freedom.
                        >> It
                        >> didn't happen then; communism dominated everything," Kulhan recalled.
                        >>
                        >> But the fight gave Slovakia a sense of its destiny as an autonomous
                        >> nation,
                        >> which it finally became in 1993 after separating peacefully from the
                        >> Czech
                        >> Republic. "When I was fighting, I was fighting for the idea that
                        >> everybody
                        >> should
                        >> be free, not a slave," he said.
                        >>
                        >> His Czechoslovak army unit was pressed into service by the Germans
                        >> against
                        >> the Soviets after the Nazis took over Czechoslovakia, but the unit later
                        >> switched sides and joined the fight against the German military machine.
                        >>
                        >> Kulhan can recall the 1944 battle with sharp details as his clear, gray
                        >> eyes
                        >> narrow with concentration — how German prisoners looked when they
                        >> finally
                        >> surrendered after a murderous artillery barrage, the sound of a mortar
                        >> shell on
                        >> its downward arc.
                        >>
                        >> He tells many stories of his past — how he saved the future president
                        >> of
                        >> Czechoslovakia, Gen. Ludvik Svoboda, by pushing him out of a bunker that
                        >> was
                        >> targeted by Nazi artillery moments before it was destroyed, working with
                        >> American
                        >> intelligence agents after the war, sneaking out of Slovakia with his
                        >> wife
                        >> and
                        >> children in a daring border-crossing to Austria.
                        >>
                        >> "He never got the recognition he deserved," said Kulhan's son-in-law,
                        >> Joseph
                        >> Kenney, a New Jersey immigration officer and an Army Reserve lieutenant
                        >> colonel. "When he turned against the Communists, they turned against
                        >> him."
                        >>
                        >> At the ceremony on Thursday, Kulhan will be honored for the first time
                        >> by
                        >> his
                        >> native Slovakia since it became an autonomous country.
                        >>
                        >> Kulhan came to this country in 1950 and became a proud American, an
                        >> admirer
                        >> of Ronald Reagan who can quote lines from his speeches. As for his
                        >> native
                        >> land,
                        >> he said he hoped his part in the campaign of 1944 will bring greater
                        >> attention to the cause for which he fought.
                        >>
                        >> "I got enough medals. But I'd like recognition for the people who fought
                        >> and
                        >> died for Slovakian independence," he said.
                        >>
                        >> A father of five, he will be joined in his journey by his wife, Marta,
                        >> to
                        >> whom he has been married for 59 years.
                        >>
                        >> There are still animosities and political fissures in Slovakia, much of
                        >> it
                        >> stemming from the World War II era and its aftermath under Soviet
                        >> domination.
                        >>
                        >> "People were caught up in the maelstrom, and they had to make hard
                        >> choices,"
                        >> said Vladimir Baumgarten, a Florida scholar who has researched the
                        >> battle
                        >> of
                        >> Dukla Pass and runs a cultural organization promoting Slovak-American
                        >> ties.
                        >> Speaking of the commemoration of the battle this week in which Kulhan
                        >> will
                        >> be
                        >> honored, Baumgarten said, "Hopefully, it will be a healing catharsis. It
                        >> brings
                        >> together both sides of the Cold War."
                        >>
                        >> It will also be a moment of family pride. The old soldier's daughter,
                        >> Darline
                        >> Kulhan, was already bursting with pride before the trip started. "I got
                        >> a
                        >> new
                        >> digital camera, and I'm going to take so many pictures," she said in her
                        >> Eastchester home. "He put it on the line for freedom, and to get this
                        >> recognition,
                        >> it will be a moment of joy."
                        >>
                        >>
                        >>
                        >>
                        >> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                        >>
                        >>
                        >>
                        >>
                        >> To unsubscribe from this group, go to
                        >> http://www.yahoogroups.com/group/SLOVAK-ROOTS -or- send blank email to
                        >> SLOVAK-ROOTS-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
                        >> Yahoo! Groups Links
                        >>
                        >>
                        >>
                        >>
                        >>
                        >>
                        >>
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        > To unsubscribe from this group, go to
                        > http://www.yahoogroups.com/group/SLOVAK-ROOTS -or- send blank email to
                        > SLOVAK-ROOTS-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
                        > Yahoo! Groups Links
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        > To unsubscribe from this group, go to
                        > http://www.yahoogroups.com/group/SLOVAK-ROOTS -or- send blank email to
                        > SLOVAK-ROOTS-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
                        > Yahoo! Groups Links
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                      • treimer@nycap.rr.com
                        There are at least 4 large German war graves in Slovakia, all created since independence. I will send details tonight. But the Czechs still refuse, because
                        Message 11 of 12 , Oct 6, 2005
                        • 0 Attachment
                          There are at least 4 large German war graves in Slovakia, all created
                          since independence. I will send details tonight.

                          But the Czechs still refuse, because Germans want to include all war
                          dead, incl. those murdered by Czechs after May 1945.

                          Thomas

                          ----- Original Message -----
                          From: Bill Tarkulich <bill.tarkulich@...>
                          Date: Thursday, October 6, 2005 9:47 am
                          Subject: Re: [S-R] Dukla pass veteran to be honored in slovakia (John
                          Kulhan)

                          > Hello Milan,
                          >
                          > Before all these people are gone, you should really make it a
                          > point to
                          > ensure this man's story is at least captured and placed with the SNP
                          > Museum in Banska Bystrica. All first-person vantage points count in
                          > understanding what happened. Additionally, from a more selfish
                          > point of
                          > view, so too should your English rendering of these stories.
                          >
                          > By the way, there was considerable animosity between the German
                          > War Graves
                          > commission and the Czechoslovakia government. It is my
                          > understanding that
                          > the Germans were never permitted to maintain German graves during the
                          > Czecholslovak regime. It wasn't until the late 1990s that the
                          Germans
                          > were allowed to enter, rehabilitate and maintain these graves. I
                          > photographed one just South of the Pass (
                          >
                          http://www.iabsi.com/gen/public/images/dukla/DK_German_Cemetery_Tarkuli
                          ch.jpg
                          > sorry it was raining heavily.)
                          >
                          > I was also told that the Russians (and other Soviet block)
                          > returned later
                          > and repatriated their soldiers bodies. I have not been able to
                          > corroborate that. I am well aware of the Dukla memorial with
                          > graves of
                          > the "big cheese". I'm a bit uncertain what happened to the "ordinary
                          > guy." Do you know where any of the Soviet burials are in either
                          > Poland or
                          > Slovakia? I've not seen them documented anywhere.
                          >
                          > I never heard of the "Vlasov Guard". How in the world did they
                          > get behind
                          > enemy lines to begin with. Did they come to the party late in the
                          > War?
                          > Thanks for the information.
                          >
                          > Bill Tarkulich
                          >
                          > > I have relatives in Liptovska Luzna (Central Slovakia) that I
                          > visit just
                          > > about every summer. One of their neighbors is an old-timer (a
                          > former WWII
                          > > Slovakian soldier) who likes to talk about his WWII experiences.
                          > Most of
                          > > his stories were about the vicious fighting that took place in the
                          > > mountains
                          > > that immediately surround Luzna. One side of the battle were
                          > the Soviets
                          > > with their Slovak allies (the partisans). On the other side
                          > were the
                          > > Germans and their Slovak and Russian allies. The Russian
                          > soldiers that
                          > > fought with the Germans were the Vlasov Guards and the Slovaks
                          > that fought
                          > > with the Germans were the Hlinka Guards. Some of the very fiercest
                          > > no-hold
                          > > barred fighting was done by the Vlasov and the Hlinka guards.
                          > These two
                          > > groups considered themselves to be more anti-Communists, rather
                          than
                          > > pro-German, and were fighting to save Slovakia and Europe from
                          > the Red
                          > > Army
                          > > onslaught. You can still find the remains of the destroyed
                          military
                          > > equipment lying about in the mountains.
                          > >
                          > > In Luzna there is a monument listing the names of all the
                          > soldiers from
                          > > Luzna that were killed in the war. The monument was set up by the
                          > > Communist
                          > > government and as such it lists only the Luzna soldiers who died
                          > fighting> on
                          > > the side of Soviets. The soldiers who died fighting for their
                          > country> with
                          > > the Germans are not acknowledged and are only remembered in the
                          > hearts of
                          > > their families.
                          > >
                          > > The point of this dialog is that many brave young Slovak
                          > soldiers fought
                          > > on
                          > > both sides of the war until the very end. The soldiers on both
                          sides
                          > > believed that they were fighting for a noble cause. However,
                          > only the
                          > > soldiers that fought and died with the victors are acknowledged.
                          The
                          > > victors
                          > > get to write the histories and built the monuments.
                          > >
                          > > This neighbor also told many stories about the Battle of Dukla
                          pass.
                          > > Finally, out of curiosity, last year I made the long trip from
                          > Luzna to
                          > > the
                          > > Eastern Slovakia and visited the battlefield area. The
                          > battlefield is very
                          > > interesting, covering many, many square miles. It is littered
                          > with many
                          > > almost intact German and Russian WWII tanks and field guns that
                          > remain> along
                          > > the roads and in the fields where they were abandoned. The area
                          > has been
                          > > declared an outdoor museum.
                          > >
                          > > According to this neighbor, the Soviet soldiers at Dukla pass
                          > were all
                          > > plied
                          > > with vodka and then ordered to charge the German defenses. As they
                          > > charged
                          > > forward, they were being slaughtered by the Germans who were in
                          > strong> defensive positions. During this charge, the Soviet
                          > soldiers were
                          > > stumbling
                          > > and crawling over piles of bodies of their dead comrades. The
                          > Germans> finally pulled out of their defensive positions and
                          > retreated when they
                          > > ran
                          > > out on ammunition.
                          > >
                          > > After the Germans pulled out, the Soviets collected their bodies
                          and
                          > > dumped
                          > > them like so much garbage into huge pits. Each of these pits (mass
                          > > graves)
                          > > contained the bodies of approximately 10,000 unidentified Soviet
                          > soldiers.> In contrast, most of the German dead were buried in
                          > individual graves,
                          > > each
                          > > grave marked with the name, rank date of birth and date of death
                          > of the
                          > > soldier. These German soldiers graves are still being
                          > maintained by the
                          > > Germans.
                          > >
                          > > Milan Huba
                          > >
                          > > -----Original Message-----
                          > > From: SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com
                          > > [mailto:SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com]On Behalf Of Bill Tarkulich
                          > > Sent: Wednesday, October 05, 2005 7:27 AM
                          > > To: SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com
                          > > Subject: Re: [S-R] dukla pass veteran to be honored in slovakia
                          > (John> Kulhan)
                          > >
                          > >
                          > > Hi Noreen,
                          > >
                          > > This is very interesting and suprising, and quite a coincidence
                          > to see
                          > > this article. I have been corresponding with John Kenny for the
                          > past> month. In fact, given my interest, they were wondering if I
                          > could come to
                          > > the ceremony, but alas, life gets in the way. They even sent me
                          > a scan of
                          > > John Kulhan's "Order of the White Eagle", presented to him by
                          > president> Soboda in 1947. I plan to post it when time allows.
                          > >
                          > > I plan to call John on his return from Dukla, thanks to his son-
                          > in-law.
                          > >
                          > > Dukla is a very interesting and tragic battle, which Westerners
                          > know very
                          > > little about. Over 100,000 casulties (dead and wounded), yet
                          > the west
                          > > never heard of the battle. I visited there during 2001, as it
                          > was so
                          > > close to my ancestral homeland. What is written of the battle is
                          > > primarily in Russian and Slovak, which makes it even less
                          > accessible to
                          > > most westerners. So I began some web
                          > > page(s)http://www.iabsi.com/gen/public/Military_dukla_pass.htm and
                          > > http://www.iabsi.com/gen/public/military_history.htm to describe
                          the
                          > > battle in English. Mistakes are intrinsic in this work, since
                          > history is
                          > > written by the victors and each side has an axe to grind. I
                          > prefer to
                          > > listen to all sides and draw my own conclusions.
                          > >
                          > > I plan to interview John and perhaps write a more detailed
                          > accounting of
                          > > the battle. Of course his son-in-law has written an account of
                          > John's> life which should make for interesting reading.
                          > >
                          > > While this is not directly genealogy, I find that history and
                          > genealogy> are commingled and should be examined mutually.
                          > Otherwise, people tell us
                          > > facts and we have them out of context. I found that the vacuum
                          > of WWII
                          > > knowledge about events in Slovakia to be too much for me to
                          > bear. I need
                          > > to get to the people who lived them and lift that information
                          > for all to
                          > > hear for future generations. Sounds noble, huh? Well, if we
                          > don't do it,
                          > > it ain't gonna get done. These good folks do not have many
                          > years left.
                          > >
                          > > Thanks again,
                          > > Bill
                          > >
                          > >
                          > >
                          > >
                          > >
                          > >
                          > >
                          > >> hello everyone,
                          > >> A co worker showed me this article yesterday in the New York
                          > Journal>> News.
                          > >> wanted to share it with the list. it was on the front page.
                          > >> Noreen
                          > >> ----------------------------------------------------------------
                          > ----------
                          > > ----
                          > >> -----------------------------------------------------
                          > >>
                          > >>
                          > >>
                          > >>
                          > >> This is a printer friendly version of an article from the The
                          > Journal>> News.
                          > >> To print this article open the file menu and choose Print.
                          > >>
                          > >>
                          > >>
                          > >> Veteran honored for Eastern Front battle
                          > >>
                          > >> By ROBERT MARCHANT
                          > >> THE JOURNAL NEWS
                          > >> (Original Publication: October 3, 2005)
                          > >>
                          > >> Battle of Dukla Pass took heavy casualties
                          > >>
                          > >> When: Sept. 8 until the end of October 1944, with further Soviet
                          > >> advances
                          > >> continuing through November
                          > >>
                          > >> Where: Southern Poland, Slovakia, eastern Ukraine
                          > >>
                          > >> Casualties: 84,000 Soviets, 54,000 Germans and 6,000 in the
                          > Czechoslovak>> Army
                          > >> Corps
                          > >>
                          > >> Result: Nazi troops forced out of Slovakia; Red Army poised to
                          take
                          > >> Prague
                          > >> in
                          > >> May 1945.
                          > >>
                          > >>
                          > >>
                          > >>
                          > >>
                          > >>
                          > >> Thursday is "Liberation Day" in the eastern European nation of
                          > Slovakia.>>
                          > >> There will be speeches, toasts, proclamations and, for an 84-
                          > year-old
                          > >> veteran
                          > >> from Eastchester, a particularly sweet moment.
                          > >>
                          > >> John (Jan) Kulhan was one of those liberators who helped turn
                          > the tide a
                          > >> gainst the Third Reich and one of the handful of survivors of a
                          > >> ferocious
                          > >> battle in
                          > >> the fall of 1944 that drove the Nazis from his homeland. The
                          > Battle of
                          > >> Dukla
                          > >> Pass raged for a month between the Nazis and the Soviet Army
                          > and their
                          > >> allies
                          > >> in the region bordered by Poland, Slovakia and Ukraine known as
                          the
                          > >> Dukla
                          > >> Pass, a section of the northern Carpathian mountains.
                          > >>
                          > >> Kulhan, 83, a former Bronxville resident and retired engineer,
                          > will be
                          > >> honored in a semi-official ceremony at the Military Museum in
                          > Suidnik,>> Slovakia, his
                          > >> native land. He was a young artillery and transport officer in
                          > the old
                          > >> Czechoslovak army allied with the Soviets, and he is the last
                          known
                          > >> Slovakian to
                          > >> have taken part in a battle that has a complex and enduring
                          > legacy in
                          > >> eastern
                          > >> Europe.
                          > >>
                          > >> "We wanted to create our own country. I was fighting for my own
                          > freedom.>> It
                          > >> didn't happen then; communism dominated everything," Kulhan
                          > recalled.>>
                          > >> But the fight gave Slovakia a sense of its destiny as an
                          autonomous
                          > >> nation,
                          > >> which it finally became in 1993 after separating peacefully
                          > from the
                          > >> Czech
                          > >> Republic. "When I was fighting, I was fighting for the idea that
                          > >> everybody
                          > >> should
                          > >> be free, not a slave," he said.
                          > >>
                          > >> His Czechoslovak army unit was pressed into service by the Germans
                          > >> against
                          > >> the Soviets after the Nazis took over Czechoslovakia, but the
                          > unit later
                          > >> switched sides and joined the fight against the German military
                          > machine.>>
                          > >> Kulhan can recall the 1944 battle with sharp details as his
                          > clear, gray
                          > >> eyes
                          > >> narrow with concentration â?? how German prisoners looked when
                          they
                          > >> finally
                          > >> surrendered after a murderous artillery barrage, the sound of a
                          > mortar>> shell on
                          > >> its downward arc.
                          > >>
                          > >> He tells many stories of his past â?? how he saved the future
                          > president>> of
                          > >> Czechoslovakia, Gen. Ludvik Svoboda, by pushing him out of a
                          > bunker that
                          > >> was
                          > >> targeted by Nazi artillery moments before it was destroyed,
                          > working with
                          > >> American
                          > >> intelligence agents after the war, sneaking out of Slovakia
                          > with his
                          > >> wife
                          > >> and
                          > >> children in a daring border-crossing to Austria.
                          > >>
                          > >> "He never got the recognition he deserved," said Kulhan's son-
                          > in-law,
                          > >> Joseph
                          > >> Kenney, a New Jersey immigration officer and an Army Reserve
                          > lieutenant>> colonel. "When he turned against the Communists, they
                          > turned against
                          > >> him."
                          > >>
                          > >> At the ceremony on Thursday, Kulhan will be honored for the
                          > first time
                          > >> by
                          > >> his
                          > >> native Slovakia since it became an autonomous country.
                          > >>
                          > >> Kulhan came to this country in 1950 and became a proud
                          > American, an
                          > >> admirer
                          > >> of Ronald Reagan who can quote lines from his speeches. As for his
                          > >> native
                          > >> land,
                          > >> he said he hoped his part in the campaign of 1944 will bring
                          > greater>> attention to the cause for which he fought.
                          > >>
                          > >> "I got enough medals. But I'd like recognition for the people
                          > who fought
                          > >> and
                          > >> died for Slovakian independence," he said.
                          > >>
                          > >> A father of five, he will be joined in his journey by his wife,
                          > Marta,>> to
                          > >> whom he has been married for 59 years.
                          > >>
                          > >> There are still animosities and political fissures in Slovakia,
                          > much of
                          > >> it
                          > >> stemming from the World War II era and its aftermath under Soviet
                          > >> domination.
                          > >>
                          > >> "People were caught up in the maelstrom, and they had to make hard
                          > >> choices,"
                          > >> said Vladimir Baumgarten, a Florida scholar who has researched the
                          > >> battle
                          > >> of
                          > >> Dukla Pass and runs a cultural organization promoting Slovak-
                          > American>> ties.
                          > >> Speaking of the commemoration of the battle this week in which
                          > Kulhan>> will
                          > >> be
                          > >> honored, Baumgarten said, "Hopefully, it will be a healing
                          > catharsis. It
                          > >> brings
                          > >> together both sides of the Cold War."
                          > >>
                          > >> It will also be a moment of family pride. The old soldier's
                          > daughter,>> Darline
                          > >> Kulhan, was already bursting with pride before the trip
                          > started. "I got
                          > >> a
                          > >> new
                          > >> digital camera, and I'm going to take so many pictures," she
                          > said in her
                          > >> Eastchester home. "He put it on the line for freedom, and to
                          > get this
                          > >> recognition,
                          > >> it will be a moment of joy."
                          > >>
                          > >>
                          > >>
                          > >>
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                          > >>
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                        • Milan Huba
                          Hi Bill: I will be going to Liptovska Luzna again next summer, and if that old neighbor is still alive, I will ask him if he would be willing to tell his
                          Message 12 of 12 , Oct 8, 2005
                          • 0 Attachment
                            Hi Bill:

                            I will be going to Liptovska Luzna again next summer, and if that old
                            neighbor is still alive, I will ask him if he would be willing to tell his
                            story. He has a lot of first hand knowledge, but he gets ambiguous when you
                            ask him about his particular role in the conflict. I never pressed him on
                            this matter and just listened when he volunteered information.

                            I also have two older cousins in Luzna who participated in the fighting in
                            the “uprising” immediately around Luzna. My oldest cousin, who is now in
                            his 80’s, told me that he fought with the partisans in the moutains around
                            Luzna…but he never mentioned being at Dukla.

                            My understanding was that the Soviet war dead, the ordinary guys, were still
                            buried in the pits where they were dumped in the Dukla area. From a
                            practical standpoint, it would have been very difficult to move thousands of
                            bodies especially when they were just haphazardly dumped into the pits. The
                            Russians had a habit of stripping the bodies of anything useful, such as
                            boots, or a shirt, before dumping them into their makeshift graves. It would
                            be almost impossible to identify most of the bodies.

                            It is good that the post Communist Czechoslovak government allowed the
                            Germans to maintain the graves of their war dead. It should be noted that
                            throughout Germany there are hundreds of similar small well-maintained
                            cemeteries (maintained by the Germans) containing the graves of thousands of
                            allied fliers and soldiers…. including thousands of Russian war dead. The
                            war is long over and we should honor all of those brave soldiers who died
                            fighting for their country.

                            In one of the previous emails, someone wrote that “the Czechoslovak army was
                            forced to fight with the Germans and then later switched sides”. Actually,
                            the Czechoslovak army never fought with the Germans. The Slovak army
                            (initially) fought with the Germans and it would probably be more honest to
                            say that the Slovaks were “encouraged” rather than “forced” to fight with
                            them. To go one step further, it didn’t even take that much encouragement
                            to get the Slovaks to fight with the Germans; the Slovaks tended to be very
                            religious and conservative and they didn’t have much love for the Soviet
                            regime that was viewed as Godless. Finally, many Slovaks were grateful to
                            the Germans for supporting them in their bid for independence from the
                            Czechs.

                            At the beginning of the war, it looked like the German army was invincible.
                            When the German army marched through Slovakia (Ruzomberok) on their way to
                            the Russian front, many Slovaks, including some of my relatives, stood along
                            side the road and cheered them on. The long columns of German soldier
                            marched smartly and looked sharp in their crisp new uniforms. After the
                            columns of soldiers came a seemingly endless line of trucks towing big guns,
                            followed by tanks and then even more trucks and all kinds of other war
                            machinery. This army looked invincible. And, there is nothing better than
                            fighting alongside an invincible army that is sure to win.

                            Later, as the tide of the war changed and Slovaks began seeing thousands of
                            wounded German soldiers coming back from the Russian front, some Slovaks
                            began to reassess their position and concluded that they were on the wrong
                            side of the war. These Slovaks started to identify themselves as
                            Czechoslovak patriots and to demonstrate their newly discovered loyalty to
                            the Czechoslovak state, they became anti-German. Other Slovaks,
                            particularly the Hlinka Guards, continued to support and fight with the
                            Germans. Thus the Slovakia became divided nation.

                            It all came to a head on August 29, 1944, a day that we now celebrate as the
                            Slovak National Uprising Day. On that date, a part of the Slovak army
                            attempted to switched sides and join the Soviets who were advancing into
                            Slovakia After some bitter fighting, the “uprising” was at least
                            temporarily squashed by the Germans, but as a result of the uprising a
                            virtual civil war broke out between pro-Soviet Slovak partisans (guerillas),
                            many of them remnants of the Slovak army, and the pro-German Hlinka guards.
                            The partisans claimed that they were fighting against Fascism and for a
                            united and free Czechoslovakia. The Hlinka guards claimed that they were
                            fighting against Communism and to preserve a free and independent Slovakia.
                            Both sides were passionate and considered themselves to be the true
                            patriots.

                            As we know, the winners of a war get to write the history and decide who was
                            right and who was wrong. A lot of bad things happened during the war, but
                            only those who were on the loosing side were singled out for punishment.
                            The winners wanted to settle old scores and they had the power to do so.
                            So, if you fought on the side that lost, you would try to make your way back
                            home to your family and quietly blend back into the population. If you were
                            smart, you would reinvent your role in the war or at least remain ambiguous
                            about it. After the Communist took over, you just kept your mouth shut.

                            The Vlasov guards, like the Hlinka guards, ended up on the loosing side of
                            the war. Many of them joined the guard as idealists and were fighting for a
                            free and independent Russia. Their ending was more tragic.

                            Very early in WWII, many Russians, including some very dedicated
                            true-believing Communists became disillusioned with Stalin’s very brutal
                            dictatorship. These Russians viewed the German invasion as an opportunity
                            to rid themselves of Stalin who they considered to be a monster and the real
                            enemy of the Russian people. General Vlasov, the hero of the Battle of
                            Moscow, and one of Soviet’s top generals was one of these people.

                            General Vlasov was captured by the Germans early in the war while he was
                            defending Moscow during the Battle of Moscow. He and hundreds of thousands
                            of other Russian prisoners of war volunteered or were persuaded to fight
                            with the Germans. These Russians did not especially like the Germans; they
                            just hated Stalin so much that they were willing, and in some cases even
                            eager, to fight with the Germans to rid themselves of Stalin. The Germans in
                            turn promised them that once Stalin was overthrown, they would be allowed to
                            establish an independent Russian Government free of Stalin.

                            These soldiers became unofficially known as the Vlasov guards. They
                            considered themselves to be Russian patriots who were fighting with the
                            Germans to rid themselves of a monster and a traitor (Stalin). Stalin, of
                            course, considered them to be traitors.

                            The Vlasov guards got into the war late in the game. I read somewhere that
                            Hitler initially refused to accept any Russian help even after the Russians
                            guards were trained and equipped and ready to fight. He later relented
                            after the Germans suffered some of their bigger defeats and it was
                            determined that the Wehrmacht desperately needed more manpower on the
                            Eastern front. Some military historians speculate that had the Vlasov
                            guards been deployed earlier, the war on the Eastern front would have had a
                            different ending.

                            My family (grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins) became exposed to the
                            Vlasov guards when they and elements of the German army built their
                            defensive fortifications on the Prasiva mountain ridge that surrounded
                            Liptovska Luzna. Some of the most vicious fighting took place on Prasiva
                            with elements of the Germans army, the Hlinka Guards and the Vlasov Guards
                            fighting on one side and elements of the Red Army and the Slovak partisans
                            fighting on the other side.

                            The fighting between the Vlasov guards and the partisans (guerillas) was
                            particularly vicious. Some of the partisans did not wear military uniforms
                            so it was often difficult to tell an innocent civilian farmer wandering
                            through the mountains looking for his lost cow, from an enemy partisan.
                            The Vlasov guards were trigger-happy, they would shoot first, at almost
                            anything that moved, and then ask questions later. Many innocent civilians
                            were killed. My family told me that the “Vlasovsy” or the Vlasov guards
                            were the most dangerous of all the combatants that fought in and around
                            Luzna..

                            After some heavy fighting, the Red Army and their partisan allies finally
                            broke through the Prasiva defenses. They came down from the mountains into
                            the valley and entered Luzna. They weren’t any better than the Vlasov
                            guards. They indiscriminately plundered and destroyed property and some of
                            them raped woman. In comparison, the German Wehrmacht (army) soldiers
                            seemed to be well-mannered and civilized. Elsewhere it may have been a
                            different story.

                            After all of the soldiers pulled out of Luzna, the Luznan collected and
                            buried the abandoned bodies of dead soldiers. Within six months or so after
                            the war ended, parents of dead German soldiers started to show up in Luzna
                            with horse drawn wagons and picked-up the bodies of their sons. The bodies
                            were, carefully wrapped in blankets, placed in the wagons and taken home for
                            reburial. The Luznans assisted them in locating the bodies of their sons.

                            When Germany finally surrendered in May of 1945, the Vlasov Guards were
                            somewhere southwest of Prague facing General Patton’s troops. Although the
                            German armies were surrendering in droves, the Vlasov guards refused to
                            surrender because they knew that they would face a horrible retribution from
                            Stalin. They were still heavily armed and a force to be reckoned with and
                            they vowed to fight to the death. Finally, General Patton persuaded them to
                            surrender promising them that they would not be turned over to Stalin. But
                            within 2 weeks after they surrendered to Patton and after they were
                            disarmed, they were loaded into freight cars and sent to Stalin. I read
                            that many of the distraught prisoners committed suicide while in the freight
                            cars rather than to face the punishment that awaited them. I also read that
                            General Patton didn’t want to repatriate the guards to Russia but was
                            ordered to do this by Eisenhower.

                            As late as 1949, there were still small-armed remnants of Vlasov army hiding
                            in the mountains surrounding Luzna. As this point, they were considered
                            bandits, they became a nuisance because they would come down from the
                            mountains into the village and take food etc… An older cousin of mine, Jan
                            Valusiak, was in the zandars (a para-military unit) that combed the
                            mountains looking for them. Eventually, they were forced northward out of
                            Slovakia into southern Poland and disappeared.

                            Finally, about twenty years ago, I met this 60-year-old guy at the health
                            club. I first noticed him when I heard him talk; he had a heavy Slavic
                            accent. I thought that he might be a Slovak, but he turned out to be
                            Russian. During our many conversations we eventually talked about our
                            military experiences. It was then that I learned that he fought with the
                            Vlasov guards. I now regret that I never asked him how he managed to escape
                            captivity and manage to make it to America. I bet that would have been an
                            interesting story.

                            Here is a website that you can check out. http://www.feldgrau.com/rvol.html

                            You might also want to Google on “General Vlasov” if you want more
                            information.

                            Milan

                            -----Original Message-----
                            From: SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com
                            [mailto:SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com]On Behalf Of Bill Tarkulich
                            Sent: Thursday, October 06, 2005 7:48 AM
                            To: SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com
                            Subject: Re: [S-R] Dukla pass veteran to be honored in slovakia (John
                            Kulhan)


                            Hello Milan,

                            Before all these people are gone, you should really make it a point to
                            ensure this man's story is at least captured and placed with the SNP
                            Museum in Banska Bystrica. All first-person vantage points count in
                            understanding what happened. Additionally, from a more selfish point of
                            view, so too should your English rendering of these stories.

                            By the way, there was considerable animosity between the German War Graves
                            commission and the Czechoslovakia government. It is my understanding that
                            the Germans were never permitted to maintain German graves during the
                            Czecholslovak regime. It wasn't until the late 1990s that the Germans
                            were allowed to enter, rehabilitate and maintain these graves. I
                            photographed one just South of the Pass (
                            http://www.iabsi.com/gen/public/images/dukla/DK_German_Cemetery_Tarkulich.jp
                            g
                            sorry it was raining heavily.)

                            I was also told that the Russians (and other Soviet block) returned later
                            and repatriated their soldiers bodies. I have not been able to
                            corroborate that. I am well aware of the Dukla memorial with graves of
                            the "big cheese". I'm a bit uncertain what happened to the "ordinary
                            guy." Do you know where any of the Soviet burials are in either Poland or
                            Slovakia? I've not seen them documented anywhere.

                            I never heard of the "Vlasov Guard". How in the world did they get behind
                            enemy lines to begin with. Did they come to the party late in the War?

                            Thanks for the information.

                            Bill Tarkulich

                            > I have relatives in Liptovska Luzna (Central Slovakia) that I visit just
                            > about every summer. One of their neighbors is an old-timer (a former WWII
                            > Slovakian soldier) who likes to talk about his WWII experiences. Most of
                            > his stories were about the vicious fighting that took place in the
                            > mountains
                            > that immediately surround Luzna. One side of the battle were the Soviets
                            > with their Slovak allies (the partisans). On the other side were the
                            > Germans and their Slovak and Russian allies. The Russian soldiers that
                            > fought with the Germans were the Vlasov Guards and the Slovaks that fought
                            > with the Germans were the Hlinka Guards. Some of the very fiercest
                            > no-hold
                            > barred fighting was done by the Vlasov and the Hlinka guards. These two
                            > groups considered themselves to be more anti-Communists, rather than
                            > pro-German, and were fighting to save Slovakia and Europe from the Red
                            > Army
                            > onslaught. You can still find the remains of the destroyed military
                            > equipment lying about in the mountains.
                            >
                            > In Luzna there is a monument listing the names of all the soldiers from
                            > Luzna that were killed in the war. The monument was set up by the
                            > Communist
                            > government and as such it lists only the Luzna soldiers who died fighting
                            > on
                            > the side of Soviets. The soldiers who died fighting for their country
                            > with
                            > the Germans are not acknowledged and are only remembered in the hearts of
                            > their families.
                            >
                            > The point of this dialog is that many brave young Slovak soldiers fought
                            > on
                            > both sides of the war until the very end. The soldiers on both sides
                            > believed that they were fighting for a noble cause. However, only the
                            > soldiers that fought and died with the victors are acknowledged. The
                            > victors
                            > get to write the histories and built the monuments.
                            >
                            > This neighbor also told many stories about the Battle of Dukla pass.
                            > Finally, out of curiosity, last year I made the long trip from Luzna to
                            > the
                            > Eastern Slovakia and visited the battlefield area. The battlefield is very
                            > interesting, covering many, many square miles. It is littered with many
                            > almost intact German and Russian WWII tanks and field guns that remain
                            > along
                            > the roads and in the fields where they were abandoned. The area has been
                            > declared an outdoor museum.
                            >
                            > According to this neighbor, the Soviet soldiers at Dukla pass were all
                            > plied
                            > with vodka and then ordered to charge the German defenses. As they
                            > charged
                            > forward, they were being slaughtered by the Germans who were in strong
                            > defensive positions. During this charge, the Soviet soldiers were
                            > stumbling
                            > and crawling over piles of bodies of their dead comrades. The Germans
                            > finally pulled out of their defensive positions and retreated when they
                            > ran
                            > out on ammunition.
                            >
                            > After the Germans pulled out, the Soviets collected their bodies and
                            > dumped
                            > them like so much garbage into huge pits. Each of these pits (mass
                            > graves)
                            > contained the bodies of approximately 10,000 unidentified Soviet soldiers.
                            > In contrast, most of the German dead were buried in individual graves,
                            > each
                            > grave marked with the name, rank date of birth and date of death of the
                            > soldier. These German soldiers graves are still being maintained by the
                            > Germans.
                            >
                            > Milan Huba
                            >
                            > -----Original Message-----
                            > From: SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com
                            > [mailto:SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com]On Behalf Of Bill Tarkulich
                            > Sent: Wednesday, October 05, 2005 7:27 AM
                            > To: SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com
                            > Subject: Re: [S-R] dukla pass veteran to be honored in slovakia (John
                            > Kulhan)
                            >
                            >
                            > Hi Noreen,
                            >
                            > This is very interesting and suprising, and quite a coincidence to see
                            > this article. I have been corresponding with John Kenny for the past
                            > month. In fact, given my interest, they were wondering if I could come to
                            > the ceremony, but alas, life gets in the way. They even sent me a scan of
                            > John Kulhan's "Order of the White Eagle", presented to him by president
                            > Soboda in 1947. I plan to post it when time allows.
                            >
                            > I plan to call John on his return from Dukla, thanks to his son-in-law.
                            >
                            > Dukla is a very interesting and tragic battle, which Westerners know very
                            > little about. Over 100,000 casulties (dead and wounded), yet the west
                            > never heard of the battle. I visited there during 2001, as it was so
                            > close to my ancestral homeland. What is written of the battle is
                            > primarily in Russian and Slovak, which makes it even less accessible to
                            > most westerners. So I began some web
                            > page(s)http://www.iabsi.com/gen/public/Military_dukla_pass.htm and
                            > http://www.iabsi.com/gen/public/military_history.htm to describe the
                            > battle in English. Mistakes are intrinsic in this work, since history is
                            > written by the victors and each side has an axe to grind. I prefer to
                            > listen to all sides and draw my own conclusions.
                            >
                            > I plan to interview John and perhaps write a more detailed accounting of
                            > the battle. Of course his son-in-law has written an account of John's
                            > life which should make for interesting reading.
                            >
                            > While this is not directly genealogy, I find that history and genealogy
                            > are commingled and should be examined mutually. Otherwise, people tell us
                            > facts and we have them out of context. I found that the vacuum of WWII
                            > knowledge about events in Slovakia to be too much for me to bear. I need
                            > to get to the people who lived them and lift that information for all to
                            > hear for future generations. Sounds noble, huh? Well, if we don't do it,
                            > it ain't gonna get done. These good folks do not have many years left.
                            >
                            > Thanks again,
                            > Bill
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >> hello everyone,
                            >> A co worker showed me this article yesterday in the New York Journal
                            >> News.
                            >> wanted to share it with the list. it was on the front page.
                            >> Noreen
                            >> -------------------------------------------------------------------------
                            -
                            > ----
                            >> -----------------------------------------------------
                            >>
                            >>
                            >>
                            >>
                            >> This is a printer friendly version of an article from the The Journal
                            >> News.
                            >> To print this article open the file menu and choose Print.
                            >>
                            >>
                            >>
                            >> Veteran honored for Eastern Front battle
                            >>
                            >> By ROBERT MARCHANT
                            >> THE JOURNAL NEWS
                            >> (Original Publication: October 3, 2005)
                            >>
                            >> Battle of Dukla Pass took heavy casualties
                            >>
                            >> When: Sept. 8 until the end of October 1944, with further Soviet
                            >> advances
                            >> continuing through November
                            >>
                            >> Where: Southern Poland, Slovakia, eastern Ukraine
                            >>
                            >> Casualties: 84,000 Soviets, 54,000 Germans and 6,000 in the Czechoslovak
                            >> Army
                            >> Corps
                            >>
                            >> Result: Nazi troops forced out of Slovakia; Red Army poised to take
                            >> Prague
                            >> in
                            >> May 1945.
                            >>
                            >>
                            >>
                            >>
                            >>
                            >>
                            >> Thursday is "Liberation Day" in the eastern European nation of Slovakia.
                            >>
                            >> There will be speeches, toasts, proclamations and, for an 84-year-old
                            >> veteran
                            >> from Eastchester, a particularly sweet moment.
                            >>
                            >> John (Jan) Kulhan was one of those liberators who helped turn the tide a
                            >> gainst the Third Reich and one of the handful of survivors of a
                            >> ferocious
                            >> battle in
                            >> the fall of 1944 that drove the Nazis from his homeland. The Battle of
                            >> Dukla
                            >> Pass raged for a month between the Nazis and the Soviet Army and their
                            >> allies
                            >> in the region bordered by Poland, Slovakia and Ukraine known as the
                            >> Dukla
                            >> Pass, a section of the northern Carpathian mountains.
                            >>
                            >> Kulhan, 83, a former Bronxville resident and retired engineer, will be
                            >> honored in a semi-official ceremony at the Military Museum in Suidnik,
                            >> Slovakia, his
                            >> native land. He was a young artillery and transport officer in the old
                            >> Czechoslovak army allied with the Soviets, and he is the last known
                            >> Slovakian to
                            >> have taken part in a battle that has a complex and enduring legacy in
                            >> eastern
                            >> Europe.
                            >>
                            >> "We wanted to create our own country. I was fighting for my own freedom.
                            >> It
                            >> didn't happen then; communism dominated everything," Kulhan recalled.
                            >>
                            >> But the fight gave Slovakia a sense of its destiny as an autonomous
                            >> nation,
                            >> which it finally became in 1993 after separating peacefully from the
                            >> Czech
                            >> Republic. "When I was fighting, I was fighting for the idea that
                            >> everybody
                            >> should
                            >> be free, not a slave," he said.
                            >>
                            >> His Czechoslovak army unit was pressed into service by the Germans
                            >> against
                            >> the Soviets after the Nazis took over Czechoslovakia, but the unit later
                            >> switched sides and joined the fight against the German military machine.
                            >>
                            >> Kulhan can recall the 1944 battle with sharp details as his clear, gray
                            >> eyes
                            >> narrow with concentration — how German prisoners looked when they
                            >> finally
                            >> surrendered after a murderous artillery barrage, the sound of a mortar
                            >> shell on
                            >> its downward arc.
                            >>
                            >> He tells many stories of his past — how he saved the future president
                            >> of
                            >> Czechoslovakia, Gen. Ludvik Svoboda, by pushing him out of a bunker that
                            >> was
                            >> targeted by Nazi artillery moments before it was destroyed, working with
                            >> American
                            >> intelligence agents after the war, sneaking out of Slovakia with his
                            >> wife
                            >> and
                            >> children in a daring border-crossing to Austria.
                            >>
                            >> "He never got the recognition he deserved," said Kulhan's son-in-law,
                            >> Joseph
                            >> Kenney, a New Jersey immigration officer and an Army Reserve lieutenant
                            >> colonel. "When he turned against the Communists, they turned against
                            >> him."
                            >>
                            >> At the ceremony on Thursday, Kulhan will be honored for the first time
                            >> by
                            >> his
                            >> native Slovakia since it became an autonomous country.
                            >>
                            >> Kulhan came to this country in 1950 and became a proud American, an
                            >> admirer
                            >> of Ronald Reagan who can quote lines from his speeches. As for his
                            >> native
                            >> land,
                            >> he said he hoped his part in the campaign of 1944 will bring greater
                            >> attention to the cause for which he fought.
                            >>
                            >> "I got enough medals. But I'd like recognition for the people who fought
                            >> and
                            >> died for Slovakian independence," he said.
                            >>
                            >> A father of five, he will be joined in his journey by his wife, Marta,
                            >> to
                            >> whom he has been married for 59 years.
                            >>
                            >> There are still animosities and political fissures in Slovakia, much of
                            >> it
                            >> stemming from the World War II era and its aftermath under Soviet
                            >> domination.
                            >>
                            >> "People were caught up in the maelstrom, and they had to make hard
                            >> choices,"
                            >> said Vladimir Baumgarten, a Florida scholar who has researched the
                            >> battle
                            >> of
                            >> Dukla Pass and runs a cultural organization promoting Slovak-American
                            >> ties.
                            >> Speaking of the commemoration of the battle this week in which Kulhan
                            >> will
                            >> be
                            >> honored, Baumgarten said, "Hopefully, it will be a healing catharsis. It
                            >> brings
                            >> together both sides of the Cold War."
                            >>
                            >> It will also be a moment of family pride. The old soldier's daughter,
                            >> Darline
                            >> Kulhan, was already bursting with pride before the trip started. "I got
                            >> a
                            >> new
                            >> digital camera, and I'm going to take so many pictures," she said in her
                            >> Eastchester home. "He put it on the line for freedom, and to get this
                            >> recognition,
                            >> it will be a moment of joy."
                            >>
                            >>
                            >>
                            >>
                            >> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                            >>
                            >>
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