Katarina Loefflerova "The Importance Of A Good Vacation"

Katarina's story shows us what middle-class life looked like in interwar Czechoslovakia with a fascinating collection of snapshots taken in sports clubs and Jewish day schools, skiing in the Tatra mountains, swimming in Lake Balaton and water skiing on the coast of Dalmatia.
A woman of great energy and a strong, optimistic nature, Katarina only mentions the dark days of the Holocaust briefly, when she was the only one from her family to return alive. Katarina remarried after the war, gave birth to a daughter and granddaughter, and remained ever active in the Bratislava community until her death in 2005 at the age of ninety-five.

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PREWAR

Prior to the formation of Czechoslovakia in 1918, Slovakia was a part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The Empire was formed in 1867 under Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph, combining the power of Hapsburg-led Austria with that of Hungary. The Empire also included Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovenia, Slovakia, as well as part of what are now Serbia, Romania, Ukraine, Poland, and the Czech Republic.

WWII

After the 1938 Munich Agreement divided Czechoslovakia, Germany occupied Bohemia and Moravia, and Slovakia became independent, though it was heavily reliant on Germany. It joined the Axis Alliance in 1940, alongside Germany, Italy, Japan, Hungary, and Romania.

JEWISH LIFE IN SLOVAKIA

Katarina was born in Bratislava, which has had a Jewish community since Roman times. In 1930, Jewish people comprised 12% of Bratislava's population. Chatam Sofer was one of Slovakia's most famous Rabbis, his mausoleum is now located in Bratislava. Read more about the city's Jewish history here.

POSTWAR

The first elections held after the war in newly-reestablished Czechoslovakia took place in 1946. It was a resounding victory for the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, who in 1948 installed themselves as the nation's central governing party. To learn more about the 1948 takeover, commonly described as a coup d'etat, read this article from Radio Praha.

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