One of the joys of living in Central Europe is to discover more about its history. On a trip over from Luxembourg, a while back, I came across an interesting article in Time Magazine about ‘Lost Tribes in Old Europe’. One of these ‘lost tribes’ is that of the Rusyns who are located in eight countries spread over Central and Eastern Europe. Most live in Eastern Slovakia and Western Ukraine.
Rusyns are also known as Ruthenians. They are members of a Slavic tribe that settled in this area in the 6th century. Rusyns speak a distinct language. They are renowned for their exquisite wooden churches, often built without nails. They were mainly a poor farming community yet their culture and tradition were very vibrant and widespread.
Rusyns have resisted assimilation for centuries. They have endured hardship. The Hungarians suppressed them by forcing them to learn Hungarian. The Austrians stole their land and taxed them to the hilt by demanding more animals and crops. This severe hardship forced thousands and thousands of Rusyns to emigrate after 1880 to the industrial regions of north-east America.
Category: History / Central & Eastern Europe / Rusyn
A steam train carrying evacuees from the former Czechoslovakia who escaped the holocaust as children arrived at London's Liverpool Street station on Friday (4th September). They were met by the man who saved their lives. Sir Nicholas Winton, an indefatigable 100-year-old, greeted the passengers who had boarded the train in Prague to mark the 70th anniversary of the start of the Second World War.
Now walking with a stick, he shook hands with many of the evacuees as they stepped off the steam train. Twenty-two of the evacuees were part of the original 669 mostly Jewish children he helped to escape from the Nazis ahead of war being declared on 3rd September 1939. The others were the descendants of these children.
The event was organised by Czech Railways who hired the new British steam train Tornado to re-enact the journey. Before the steam train departed on Tuesday from Prague a statue of Sir Nicholas was unveiled at the station. The train then passed through Germany and Holland en-route for England. A band played as "The Winton Train", as it was dubbed, arrived at Liverpool Street. The event drew many people who wanted to meet the man dubbed the British Schindler...