RÓBERT LETZ: Slovak Golden Eagle and its Samizdat Publications

Slovenský zlatý orol (in English: Slovak Golden Eagle) represents a unique attempt to establish an independent youth organisation based on friendship, love for nature, humanism, and Slovak patriotism. Originally it was established by Ján Manas, a scout, in the city of Prievidza in 1947 and called Zlatý orol (Golden Eagle). After scouting movement was prohibited and liquidated in 1949 and a single organisation Czechoslovak Youth Association was established, major part of young people did not cope with that situation. Meanwhile the Golden Eagle existed for two years and its activities were successful. The organisation gathered young people also in Morava region. Therefore, the name was changed in 1950 to Slovak Golden Eagle and Moravian Golden Eagle, whilst the central name Golden Eagle was preserved. In 1951, the Moravian Golden Eagle stopped its activities and so only the Slovak Golden Eagle remained in existence. Slovak Golden Eagle, led by Ján Manas, published four periodical samizdat publications: Táborák (Campfire), Perute Bratislavy (Wings from Bratislava), Bystrina (Mountain Stream) and Orolský smerník (Eagle´s Pointer). Táborák (Campfire) played a central role as it was the main journal of Slovak Golden Eagle, other journals were published by local groups. In the given time, Slovak Golden Eagle was the biggest publisher as for number of periodical samizdat publications. From the point of view of the content of samizdats and the typological classification, these were scouting and tramping samizdats. It is remarkable that Slovak Golden Eagle was able to involve young people who were political prisoners in Jáchymov camp Rovnosť in the samizdat activities. Political activities or non-violent resistance forms were not the primary goals of Slovak Golden Eagle, it was the wish to live a life with hopes for positive changes, which were related to the fall of the communist regime.

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