Otto Schvalb with his wife Judita Schvalbova before a ball

Otto Schvalb with his wife Judita Schvalbova before a ball

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This photo shows me and my wife Judita Schvalbova, nee Donathova. It was taken in the year 1959. We were photographed in my parents’ apartment in Presov, before our departure for a ball.

The first time my wife and I met was in Zilina. I said to myself, 'buddy, you're already an old goat, it's time to maybe settle down.' Twenty-nine years gone, it's time to get married. So it was arranged and we came to Zilina. An uncle of hers, whose place we were meeting at, was waiting for us at the train station. We sat down at his place, drank coffee, and then she arrived, my future wife, and we started to talk. I said to myself, 'nice-looking girl,' which is of course very important. We had a Jewish wedding in Zilina. Cantor Halpert from Zilina married us. For our honeymoon we went to Prague. This was in the year 1954.

We went to balls and evening social gatherings quite often. Sometimes it was also required by my work, or membership in one of several clubs. For example, I was a member of the Tennis Ball Committee, so I always had to attend their ball, and on the other hand the Tennis Ball was one of the best in Presov. One was always in good company there, and exellent music would be played. A person managed to have a very good time there. Simply put, there were balls at which a person had to make an appearance. And it of course depended also on whether my wife had a new dress, because she wouldn't have been seen at a ball in the same dress twice.

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Otto Schvalb