Written by: Lubomir FELDEK / Slovakia

Lubomir Feldek

In 1953, after the deaths of Stalin and Gottwald, the Youth Union at the secondary school in Zilina looked after the Smena daily correspondent: “You will fill out this questionnaire, do not lose it, we only got one. And you’ll be sending messages to Smena about how much old iron or paper we’ve been collecting – the data we’re going to give you.“

I used to be a young rascal, so I rewarded them for their confidence that I returned them the questionnaire completed very creatively. There are jokes that come to us all when we fill in the questionnaires – you write “I got” in the column about gender, and the like – but we leave it for ourselves. But that time I really wrote this there. It can be said that even though I did not draw there anything, I made a caricature from the questionnaire.

It was a time of such actions as the Dam of Youth or Youth leads Brno, the Union of Youth had great power, Union leaders addressed Professors as “thou” and Teachers had to fulfill their orders. So in that school year I was penalized for caricaturing the questionnaire by the worst mark from behavior and I was excluded from all schools in Zilina. However, I went to Trstena to graduate school, so I did not take it tragically. I found new friends in Orava, and later I even found out that I could out of the window of the train in Tvrdošín see a ten-years-old girl from whom, when I saw her for the second time, at my second Orava exile, was already a pretty sixteen-year-old girl to whom I could have proposed marriage. Moreover, Orava is a beautiful region, it is not Siberia, Moreover, Orava is a beautiful region, it is not Siberia, usually in the summer it is not freezing there.

But the frost went to my back when I realized that I could end much worse – in the same year 1953, for the caricature of Stalin and Gottwald, how they are cooked together in a cauldron in hell, my Trencin contemporary, the poet Rudo Dobias, was sentenced to eighteen years of imprisonment.

It’s just that politicians are quite angry today when they can not even open a newspaper in order not to find their own caricature in it. To the New year 2018, however, I wish them to have patience with it – it confirms that we live in a democratic state, thanks them for that.

As for our Slovak Solzhenitsyn Rudo Dobias – last year he did not receive the Nobel Prize, but nothing happened, this should be repeated. Friends from the Association of Independents, remember the end of January and do not forget to send the proposal to Stockholm again – and join to it the caricature!

Lubomir FELDEK


* Author of the article is a renowned Slovak poet, writer, playwright and translator.

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