On the fifth anniversary of the student-created project “Unsung Heroes”, our high school students recently honored and expressed gratitude to (Slovak National Uprising, SNU). They drew particular attention to local heroes, members of the anti-fascist resistance, by inviting these individuals to an assembly held in their honor. Students of the newly opened Lutheran High School in Martin then honored these living heroes symbolically as they listened attentively to the testimonies of these national heroes.
The meeting, which took place in the second week of September, was also a part of the students research work focused on Major Viliam Žingor – a significant partisan commander who led the 2nd Czechoslovak brigade of M. R. Stefanik in the Slovak National Uprising (SNU). To that end students invited several veterans for this event, where they were to be honored but, due to poor health and impaired mobility, only one was able to attend the meeting 94-year-old war veteran and hero, Pavel Matejovič. Mr. Matejovič, who was a soldier in the battles of the Slovak National Uprising, praised students for their interest in learning more about this important historical event as he told the students his perspective on one of our unsung heroes, William Žingor.
William Žingor, a native of Bystrička, is today a name associated with heroism; but carrying this name during the era of Communist totalitarianism was a curse not only for himself but for his whole family as well. After the war he spoke publicly against the Communists, who wanted to link the SNU with the regime, thus adapting it to the needs of its own propaganda. Because of his vocal opposition Viliam Žingor fell into disfavor with the regime. He was subsequently framed by means of a false accusation and eventually sentenced to death. He was executed on the 18th of December, 1950. Viliam Žingor was completely exonerated after the fall of Communism, when he was posthumously promoted to the rank of general by President Václav Havel. In addition, a commemorative plaque in his honor was unveiled in his family home in Bystrička.
Freshman Daniel Dulla of the Lutheran High School reports: “Recently we celebrated the 69th SNU anniversary. This event has inspired us to show our gratitude and appreciation to heroes who were personally involved in this particular event of our national history. This year’s unsung hero – Major William Žingor – was an important figure of the SNU, Our speaker, Mr. Matějovič, a former member of SNU, knew Viliam Žingor personally, so we learned a lot of personal information about Major Žingor.”
Engineer Gabriel Hulman of the Civic Association of EURO Concord that hosted this event, said to the student audience: “I am delighted that Martin Lutheran High School, and you, its first students, do not forget this part of our country’s history – the struggle for the freedom that we have today. It was the fact that generation before you showed their mettle, brave hearts, and courage in the SNU to stand up to evil, even though it was stronger. I believe that because of the testimonies of unsung heroes, you will find in yourselves moral stamina and character which are essential when somebody wants to take away your freedom. For your efforts, which are a tangible result of your work on Major Žingor, I will keep my fingers crossed, and I support you. “
To express their gratitude to Mr. Matějovič for his bravery and courage which he showed during the Slovak National Uprising, researchers of the project presented him with a gift of appreciation at the conclusion of the presentation.