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Iwo Jima flag raiser was a Slovak


ONE of the soldiers shown hoisting the Stars and Stripes on the Japanese island of Iwo Jima at the end of World War II was a Slovak-American, the TASR news agency reported.

The photo was taken on February 23, 1945 by Associated Press snapper Joe Rosenthal and is one of the most famous American photos from the war.

Five soldiers are shown raising Old Glory on the summit of an extinct volcano - and Slovak born infantry sergeant Michael Strank is the oldest and highest rank among them.

Strank was born in 1919 in the Spiš region's village of Jarabina. He left for the USA as a child, and went to high school in Pennsylvania. He joined the marines in October 1939.

In 1945 he was on active duty in the Japanese islands. Tragically he was killed on March 1, 1945, just a week after the famous photo was taken. He was buried at the Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia - number 7179.



Eurotrip makers escape mockery suit


THE CITY of Bratislava will probably not sue the makers of Eurotrip, an American comedy that paints the Slovak capital as a backward hellhole, the daily SME reported.

"Some legal officials said it might be possible to sue," Bratislava mayor's spokesperson Milan Vajda told SME Februray 25. "However, our legal analysis does not concur. We don't think a lawsuit would be effective at the moment."

The film does not mock only Bratislava but the whole of Europe.

"We can be happy that we are in a group with such cities as Berlin, London, Amsterdam and Rome. I hope foreigners will form an image of the city from the work of the journalists accredited for the recent presidential summit, and not this film," said Vajda.



Slovak Dance Theatre readies for take off


RENOWNED Slovak dance choreographer Ján Ďurovčík is busy launching a new project, the Slovak Dance Theatre. The dance ensemble will officially start performances at the beginning of April, the TASR news agency reported.

The dance troupe's first production will be an interpretation of the Bolero. The show is planned to premiere May 17 and 18 at the Aréna theatre. The dance project does not yet have a permanent home. In the meantime, rehearsals are planned for the Trnávka Culture House.

Apart from the Bolero performance, Ďurovčík wants to revive performances he created in the past, such as Rómeo a Júlia (Romeo and Juliet), Vták ohnivák, and ...na vaše hroby.


Boney M and Rammstein impress


BONEY M singer Liz Mitchell was delighted by the exuberant audience she encountered at her Bratislava gig, while Rammstein stunned Bratislava with its extravagant show, the TASR news agency reported.

"The concert was wonderful, the audience great," said the Boney M leader, after the February 25 concert. The disco music legend had her audience boogieing in the aisles. Several even tried to rush the stage. It was a great night, despite the concert starting hours late due to a delayed flight.

Controversial German group Rammstein's February 28 gig in Bratislava was sold out long before the event. Finnish cello quartet Apocalyptica kicked the evening off. Rammstein gave a knockout performance and included such creative diversions as "cooking" the band's keyboard player in a cauldron. The German stars played tracks from their new album, Reise, Reise. At the end of the show Apocalyptica joined Rammstein on stage for a performance of Ohne dich.



Roma given Holocaust memorial


THE FIRST memorial to Roma holocaust victims will be unveiled in the Museum of the Slovak National Uprising in Banská Bystrica on August 2. Representatives of the Culture Ministry, the office of the cabinet appointee for Roma affairs, the US Embassy in Slovakia, the Slovak Academy of Sciences, the Slovak National Museum and the Martin Šimečka Foundation agreed on the memorial in Bratislava March 2.

Culture Ministry spokeswoman Nora Slováková told the SITA newswire that these institutions are working on a project within which, apart from the central memorial in Banská Bystrica, other commemorative places will be established. These will be situated at locations where labour and detention camps were set up and where Roma communities were wiped out during World War II. Commemorative plaques will be installed in the towns and villages of Hanušovce nad Topľou, Jarabá, Dubnica nad Váhom, Revúca, Slatina, Lutila and Krupina. A symbolic memorial will be unveiled in Bratislava as well.

Roma organizations and traditional craftsmen will participate in the preparation of the memorials.

"The memorial in Banská Bystrica will also have a cultural and educational dimension, helping self-identification by the Roma and their acknowledgment by the majority population," Slováková said.


Prepared by Spectator staff

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