Thursday, November 18, 2010


My Baba (grandma) came from a village in Slovakia called Nemet Poruba.  Nemet or Nemecka means "German."   Poruba indicates "cutting" or "slashing,"  thus the axes in the village crest.  Wood cutting and charcoal making were the main money-makers here.  Jews were about 1/3 of the population and ran the businesses.  Gypsies lived here too but they were not integrated with the rest of the villagers.

Because it was located just below the Carpathian mountains, life was a little easier here than in Valaskovce where my Grandfather's family lived.  Lots of arable land meant reasonably bounteous crops and good forage for the animals.  Commerce was healthy because Poruba was easy to reach.  Though the village was burned by retreating Germans in December 1944, it was rebuilt and many of the same family names have been there for two centuries or more--Maczko, Csornej, Andrejko, Tovcsak, Csurpakovics, Kovacs, Ondrik, Ihnat, Mikula, Czuprik, Scserbak, and so on.

On Sunday morning we attended the liturgy at the Byzantine Catholic Church my Baba attended as a youth.  It's certainly more gilded now than it would have been a hundred years ago.

The nearby cemetery is very full of stones typical of Slavic graves even here in the US; photographs and laser etchings are very common.

I still have relatives in Poruba, probably more than I even know about.  Last month we visited with some of them.
Center: cousins L'udmila and Tatiana with their mother, Mary
Back: Peter and Lubomir
Front: Peter Jr.

Little Peter is adorable.   When I greeted him he shook my hand and said "Pleased to meet you" in the best English a 5-year-old could have.  Mary cooked a delicious dinner for us.  Afterwards we drove to the trail-head to hike to Morske Oko, a beautiful lake in the mountains.

On our next trip to Poruba we plan to find more family and do more hiking!

1 comment:

  1. How beautiful! I love reading this about your heritage. What a cute little boy!