Life for all Slovenians changed, as they knew it with the horrendous events of May 1945 and the days, months, and years that followed. Those days culminated with the torture and murder of thousands, the separation of families, the theft of land and livelihood, and the loss of home and homeland. For the families who stayed behind, Slovenia was wrapped in poverty, fear, and abuse. For those living in the international refugee camps came the realization that most would not be going home again and the resolution to begin life anew.
For the refugees who settled in the United States, Canada, Australia, and Argentina post WWII, it was important for them to rebuild their cultures in their new countries. For Cleveland area recent immigrants, keeping the motto of Bog, Narod, Domovina was of utmost concern. The émigrés of the late 1940s and 1950s were able to remain tightly knit through their passions for the Slovenian Catholic Churches, Slovenian culture, and Slovenian Family.
Fifty-four years ago, Slovenska Pristava was born from the remains of Strojin’s Farm in an oxbow of the Grand River. It was there that the immigrants came together to create a space much like Slovenia in Northeastern Ohio. Through their love and passion these individuals, who were just making a place for themselves in their new homeland, scraped, saved, and worked to create a center that would keep alive the religious, educational, and cultural traditions of the Slovenian family both then and long into the future.
This year, Slovenska Pristava will be commemorating and celebrating milestones both within the worldwide Slovenian community and Pristava itself.
First, please plan on making Pristava your destination for Father’s Day 2015. This year we will be commemorating the 70th Anniversary of the atrocities of the end of World War II as well as the exodus of Slovenian citizens from Slovenia into the international refugee camps. Join us for a very special Mass, and then stay with us for dinner and a program in remembrance of those who gave of their lives and of their homeland. Slovenska Pristava was built because of the passion, commitment, and love of the survivors of this dark time in Slovenian history. It is only fitting that we remember those who sacrificed their lives and those who left their homeland at this time.
This year’s Spominski Dan will be special for us as we rededicate the Chapel and Orlov Vrh at this year’s Mass. After many years of basic repair and upkeep, due especially to the members of Tabor and then the Slovenska Pristava Pensioners, we have been able to raise funds to renovate the Chapel and landscaping of the grounds. Always a special place to many, we hope these renovations will continue to stress the importance of the Slovenian history into our future.
The future is about children, and Slovenska Pristava has always maintained a special part of its mission for the children of Slovenian descent. This year we are celebrating the anniversary Pristavska Taborenje (CAMP PRISTAVA). Begun in 1965, this camp has brought together over the years thousands of campers, counselors, and adults who have built relationships that last the test of time. Year after year people of all ages talk about how important “Camp Pristava” was to them. This year rejoice with us as we mark this milestone.
Pristava was born from the suffering of the past to celebrate the joy of being Slovenian and is alive today for the future, our children. We are once again only able to keep Pristava both sustainable and thriving because of you. Your financial and volunteer support, as well as your attendance at events throughout the year, allows Pristava to continue to grow to be the strongest cultural center in Northeastern Ohio. THANK YOU!
On behalf of the 2015 Board Members of Slovenska Pristava, I would like to welcome you to our upcoming season. I look forward to seeing you at one of the many events this year and sharing a glass of wine with you! Na zdravje in pa se vidimo na Pristavi!
Mary Ann Vogel predsednica