President Andrej Kiska presented 20 public figures with state awards at a ceremony taking place at the Bratislava Castle commemorating Slovak Republic Day (January 1), the founding of the independent state of Slovakia.
Efforts to honour and listen to those who protect and cultivate our collective memory are absolutely vital for the further democratic and civic orientation of our society, particularly in the current turbulent era of strongly worded statements and quick judgements, said Kiska, as reported by the TASR newswire.
“So that one day we won’t become victims of hatred or unknowing tools of old evils dressed in new garb,” the president stressed at the ceremony on January 9, as quoted by TASR. “[I’m talking about] the evil and hatred that we’ve managed to defeat once already at the cost of immense suffering and an enormous tally of victims.”
The president is convinced that the truth about Slovak history should not be ideologically tinged or well-intentionally embellished.
“We need to understand it and draw lessons from it, however,” Kiska said, as quoted by TASR. “All the more so because every year so far – this year included – we’re still bestowing awards on heroes who managed to take a stand against the demons of the past. It’s our duty not to squander the opportunity for a better life, which we have been given courtesy of their courage.”
The Order of the Double White Cross, 2nd Class was awarded to Czech director and actor Juraj Herz in recognition of his long-term extraordinary contributions to culture, movie art and the good reputation of the Slovak Republic abroad; and to Czech singer Michael Kocáb for his long-term extraordinary contributions towards the general improvement of relations between the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
The Order of Ľudovít Štúr 1st Class, went to historian Ivan Kamenec for his extraordinary long-term contributions to the development of democracy, human rights and freedoms and historical sciences; constitutional lawyer Ivan Trimaj for his extraordinary contributions to the development of democracy, human rights and freedoms and law; dissident and founder of the Nation’s Memory Institute Ján Langoš (posthumously) for extraordinary contributions to the development of democracy, human rights and freedoms and preserving the collective memory of the nation; and translator Zora Jesenská (posthumously) for her long-term extraordinary contributions to the development of democracy, human rights and freedoms and the development of translation, TASR wrote.
Among the laureates of the Order of Ľudovít Štúr 2nd Class are Holocaust survivor Eva Mosnáková, former political prisoner Dobroslav Pustaj, Pohoda festival organiser Michal Kaščák, lawyer Alexandra Krsková, writer Tomáš Janovic and actor Martin Huba.
President Kiska bestowed the Pribina Cross 1st Class on professor Juraj Hromkovič for extraordinary contributions towards Slovak research and science as well as to lawyer and judge Jaroslav Krajčo for extraordinary contributions to the development of law.
The state award of the Pribina Cross 2nd Class went to actor Zita Furková, dramaturge Daniela Šilanová (posthumously), biochemist and former education minister Ladislav Kováč, artist Ilona Németh, winemaker Mária Macíková and literary historian Augustín Matovčík., TASR wrote.
Many of the awarded personalities addressed by the Sme daily said they were pleased by the orders from Kiska.
“I am really glad to receive it from the current president because most of his steps concerning political correctness and ethics is very close to me,” Kamenec told Sme.