Slovak President gives state honors to 20 figures, including Czech politician
High state honors were awarded yesterday in Slovakia to film director Juraj Herz, in memoriam to the longtime editor of the "Romano nevo l'il" newspaper Daniela Hivešová-Šilanová, and to the Czech politician Michael Kocáb. They were among 20 such figures honored by Slovak President Andrej Kiska at the castle in Bratislava.
"Your deeds, your results, your work has been an extraordinary contribution to the development of our country. You are an inspiration to us and a genuine reason to be proud of the Slovak Republic," Kiska said in his speech marking the anniversary of the creation of an independent Slovakia.
Hivešová-Šilanová, besides editing a Romani newspaper, was also an author and established the Romani theater company "Divadielko cigánskej poézie, hudby a tanca" (Little Theater of Gypsy Poetry, Music and Dance). In addition to writing books, she was primarily focused on Romani community affairs.
The author was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005. She was awarded a Cross of Pribina (Pribinov kríž), second class, in memoriam by President Kiska for her "exceptional service to the cultural development of Slovakia in the field of journalism and theater arts".
The award is also a symbolic gesture for Hivešová-Šilanová's lifelong efforts on behalf of the human rights of Romani people. She passed away in 2008 at the age of 56.
This is the second award the author has received from a Slovak President, as in 2002 she received a medal from Rudolf Schuster for combating racism. Another Slovak state honor, the Order of the White Double Cross (Řád Bílého dvojkříže), second class, can be awarded to foreign nationals, and was awarded to Michael Kocáb for his services in developing relationships between the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
The former politician headed a Czechoslovak Parliamentary commission at the beginning of the 1990s that supervised the withdrawal of Soviet occupation forces from Czechoslovakia. The same honor was given to the actor, director and screenwriter Juraj Herz for his longtime services in the area of culture as part of the Czechoslovak New Wave film movement in the 1960s.
Among the best-known films by this native of Kežmarok in Slovakia is the Oscar-nominated film "Spalovač mrtvol" ("The Cremator"), the film for television "Sladké hry minulého léta" ("Last Summer's Sweet Games"), for which he won both a Golden Nymph award and the Grand Priz at the international television festival in Monte Carlo, and the drama "Petrolejové lampy" ("Kerosene Lamps"). State honors were also given to the actor Martin Huba, who performed in the film "Kawasaki's Rose", and to the main organizer of the biggest Slovak music festival, Pohoda (Contentment), Michal Kaščák.
Other recipients of the state honors were historians, lawyers and scientists. Other in memoriam awards were given to fromer Czechoslovak Interior Minister Ján Langoš and to the longest-imprisoned resister to the communist regime in Czechoslovakia, Dobroslav Pustaj.
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