In the second episode of Series Five – ‘The Righteous’, host Andrew meets professional genealogist and host of the Slovak Ancestry podcast Michal Razus. Andrew hears about researching family history in Slovakia and its challenges, the types of records available for researching, and hears about research and film work of Michal’s company Slovak Ancestry.
Listen to the episode
Also available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, and others…
The Life Story – Michal Razus
Honestly, our guest Michal is not about to tell his own life story (!!) – this is actually his Great Grandfather also named Michal Razus who was born in Liptovský Mikuláš in the Liptov region of Slovakia in 1908.
Michal was a cabinet maker in Slovakia, or Slovak Republic as it was named then, but by 1944 the country was in the midst of World War Two and under a pro-Nazi government’s control. The deportation of Jews was continuing, and a National Uprising began in the September of 1944, but in the November Michal was approached by a young man who had ventured down from the hills. He said that he was a partisan, and
The man was looking for work, and so Michal gave him food, and swiftly offered him a job as a carpenter. Within a year, the war was over.
Michal (senior) died in 1985, and he is known to have not spoken much of his life and the war years.
Fast forward to 2008, and an unexpected email arrives from a scientist named Yehuda Marikovsky asking about Michal. He explained that he’d used false papers to disguise himself as a non-Jew, and that Michal (the older) brought him into his home, and giving him a job had likely saved him from being murdered alongside millions of other Jews in the Holocaust.
Following this revelation in 2010, Yad Vashem posthumously honoured Michal with the Righteous Among the Nations award, which is given to non-Jewish people who risked their lives to save Jews during the Holocaust.
The Brick Wall – Juraj Franko
Michal’s brick wall is his 2x Gt Grandfather named Juraj Franko who was born in Chmeľovec, Slovakia in May 1890 although at the time of his birth, he’s registered under the Hungarian language version of his name – Gyorgy.
Whilst Michal knows that Juraj married Maria, and they had two children in Slovakia in 1913 and 1920, and that he had a brother named Jan, it’s a case of finding out what happened to Juraj after a date in New York in 1942.
Having followed Juraj out of Slovakia and into the USA, Michal finds his trail of records end at 150 W, 104th Street, Manhattan, New York, USA on 25th April 1942.
Can you help Michal with a research idea or clue that might solve this family history brick wall?
- What happened to Juraj Franko after 25th April 1942?
- Did he remain in the USA or move elsewhere?
- Is his name hiding under a misspelling?
If you think that you can help, then you can send him an email via the address he gives within the episode, or you can send us a message and we’ll pass it on to him.
In the meantime, Michal isn’t too sure of Andrew’s offer of help. Will he stick to the rules?
- Andrew Martin – Host and Producer
- Michal Razus – Guest
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