Prize of Milan Hodža 2013 Awarded

November 5, 2013

The annual Prize of Milan Hodža, awarded in the name of the prime minister of the Slovak Republic, was awarded in 2013 to two eminent historians, Jozef Kiss in Slovakia and Susan Mikula in the United States.  Read More »

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Book Presented at Slovak Consulate-General and Slovak Embassy

November 4, 2013

My Slovakia, My Family was recently presented at two important venues, the Consulate-General of Slovakia in New York and the Embassy of Slovakia in Washington, D.C. Both events drew large audiences for whom the content of the book was personally meaningful. Please enjoy the pictures! Read More »

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Madeleine Albright Gives Glowing Endorsement

August 27, 2013

Madeleine Albright, the Czech-born former Secretary of State, has offered this endorsement: “My Slovakia, My Family is a heartfelt tale of a nation’s struggle to exist and of a family’s pivotal role in influencing its destiny. This is a superb memoir and a valuable contribution to our knowledge of twentieth century Europe.”

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Book Introduced at Slovak Embassy

February 7, 2013

On January 31st, 2013, the Slovak embassy in Washington D.C. prepared a festive program to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the birth of Slovakia as an independent state. Ambassador Peter Kmec was kind enough to introduce My Slovakia, My Family to the capacity crowd that gathered to hear brief remarks and splendid concert, and to allow me to sell the book as well. Thank you, Mr. Ambassador!

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American Edition Launched

November 25, 2012

On November 18, 2012, the American edition of My Slovakia, My Family was launched with a celebration at the Whidbey Institute, located near our home on Whidbey Island near Seattle. A hundred people turned out on a rainy Sunday afternoon to enjoy refreshments, a slide show, singing Slovak folk songs, listening to readings from the book, and watching a closing video. At the end the audience burst into a standing ovation. Read More »

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Endorsements for the American Edition

October 25, 2012

Professor Palka’s book My Slovakia, My Family is a fascinating and superbly documented biography of the Hodža and Pálka families’ significant role in Slovak history. It includes dramatic accounts of his family’s escape first from Nazi occupied Europe and then from Communist controlled Czechoslovakia to a new life in America. It provides vivid portraits of courage and love of freedom and country that will resonate with anyone interested in Slovak history and Slovaks in America. Theodore E. Russell, U. S. Ambassador to Slovakia, 1993-1996 Read More »


John Palka, scion of one of the most distinguished families in the history of Slovakia, has written a beautiful account of the history of his family within the context of developments in his ancestral homeland.  Incorporating social, cultural, and political history, Palka interweaves a sweeping account of Slovakia over the past several centuries with the story of a family situated at the heart of the major developments and events of that history. . . .

Palka has given us an account of Slovakia’s history that engages the reader by making it personalJames Ramon Felak, Professor of History, University of Washington Read More »


This is a unique book, in which the grand sweep of international history intersects with the personal, in which dramatic milestones of the 19th and 20th centuries alternate with the moving destinies of Slovak families and individuals who changed the face of Slovakia, Czechoslovakia, and Central Europe. . . . Martin Bútora, Slovak ambassador to the United States, 1999-2003 Read More »


While the book’s focus always remains on the family level, the author’s command of the general historical sources is impeccable. This permits him to make important contributions especially to Czechoslovak history in the fateful 1930s and 40s . . .  The book will especially appeal to Slovak-Americans who are seeking to understand their own cultural background on the family level. Diethelm Prowe, Laird Bell Professor of History, Carleton College Read More »

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Annual Prize of Milan Hodža Awarded

July 2, 2012

Since 2005, the annual Days of Milan Hodža have celebrated my grandfather Milan Hodža, the first and only Slovak to serve as prime minister of united Czechoslovakia during the years of the First Republic between World Wars I and II . The celebrations are held in several venues in late June, coinciding with the anniversary of his death in the United States in 1944. The public presentation of the Prize of Milan Hodža is a component of the celebrations. Two parallel prizes are now being awarded, one for scholarly work and the other for the work of institutions that serve the public in ways that reflect Hodža’s work and vision. The institutional prize has been awarded twice, in 2011 to the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and in 2012 to the Friends of Slovakia in Washington, D.C.

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Celebrating Michal Miloslav Hodža’s 200th Birth Anniversary

October 3, 2011

In October of 2011 Slovakia celebrated the 200th anniversary of the birth of Michal Miloslav Hodža. In the mid-19th century, M. M. Hodža played a key role in systematizing and gaining wide acceptance for the Slovak literary language, as well as participating in the leadership of the Revolution of 1848 as it played out among Slovaks and resisting the pressures of Magyarization on every front. A fiery Lutheran pastor, poet and Slovak patriot, he was my great-grandfather’s elder brother.

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Oral History Project & Publication

March 17, 2011

Since 2009 the  National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library has been interviewing men and women who left Czechoslovakia and took refuge in the United States during the long period of Communism, 1948-1989. The two-hour interviews are videotaped and archived both at NCSML and at the Library of Congress. Collectively the interviews of this Oral History Project form a moving portrait of two generations of exiles. You can find brief excerpts of my own interview at on the museum’s web site and on YouTube. Read More »

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Publication & Book Launch Events

December 15, 2010

Moje Slovensko, Moja Rodina (My Slovakia, My Family) was first released in December of 2010 in Slovakia. Three inspiring launch events were held: in Liptovský Mikuláš, the ancestral home of the Pálka family; in the capital city of Bratislava; and in Prague. There was an exceptional amount of interest in the media. Read More »

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