I n every era there are personages who turn out to be those who endeavour to move the society forward. It often happens that they fall into oblivion due to the many disasters and stunts of past eras. And yet, the good deeds of people who performed them not to achieve glory or recognition, but rather on the basis of their personal conviction or perhaps even out of a natural sense of duty, could serve to inspire future generations to further deeds which would move and uplift the society.
And they need not be outstanding deeds. Sometimes it is enough when someone wants to take care of public affairs during times of crisis in a way to make the lives of people easier, to help unburden them a little from the tension of the state, overlords or other destructive forces, to unselfishly help start the expansion of the city after waging of the war in it, or to provide basic human needs for the people suffering from hunger. In times of misery, it is often only a series of fairly simple and inexpensive measures, requiring only that one remain honest and use common sense, to make a difference. Even though it sounds so terribly simple, the traps of love and lure of power and money seem to be more powerful than most individuals.
One of those who resisted the temptation of power was a mayor of Košice, JUDr. Pavol Novák, a forgotten figure for almost a century. He started his mission “of good will” in Košice 99 years ago, right after the end of the First World War and the emergence of Czechoslovakia – and it was interrupted after two decades by a series of suppressive regimes that occurred in Slovakia.
The only memorial of Dr. Novák’s work, which remained in Košice until the birth of this book, is his original residence – a house located on the bank of one of the branches of the Hornád river (today Rumanova 2 Street). And in 2016, it was precisely this building that presented something of a crusade to find out everything possible about its esteemed original owner. The expedition into history turned out a success and such information about Dr. Novák came to light of today’s world, which brings him back to the sunnier side of life.
In the style of this symbology, we would like to use this imaginary beacon, and the real monument located in Košice – the house of Dr. Novák – as a place from which humanitarian activities for society arose – and, even though they were interrupted for several decades by the oppressive regime, they will continue.
The first mayor of Košice, Dr. Pavol Novák, who brought to the city devastated by war a hope and joy of life, worked in this house in the past. And today it is the seat of an organisation that appreciates his life’s work and continues the tradition, by dissemination of the work of another humanitarian of world calibre – L. Ron Hubbard – who contributed, through his life’s work, to the improvement of millions of lives all over the world, whether in the field of human rights, drug prevention and rehabilitation, or through his ground- breaking discoveries regarding the mind and spirit or the broad dissemination of a moral code based on common sense.
In spite of today’s amoral society – where degraded people, who do not really care for the fate of others, are held up as role-models – we endorse the tradition of improving society through any prosocial means. And although today we do not necessarily live in a time of honest human values, I believe that every decent person would welcome the restoration and continuity of humanity’s innate good nature.
Dr. Novák in front (with glasses).
When we began to take an interest in the life and achievements of Dr. Pavol Novák, the former mayor of Košice, we found out that there had been no comprehensive study about him, although he was a very unique person who did a remarkable job in the service of our city in difficult times. To put together a coherent story about this decent politician and lawyer meant a careful investigation of the inter-war media in the city, browsing the city archives, searching for his descendants, visiting his birthplace, contacting people who were somehow connected with his life, and then putting together really small pieces of a mosaic into a complete work. The project was eventually successful and a very unique book is the result of it.
We provide a rather comprehensive overview of the history of Košice in the introduction in a brief and concise way, since Dr. Novák was a mayor of Košice. We have also taken into consideration that we do not write it only for specialists in history, whose knowledge of many political and historical events are taken for granted. We wanted to write it for people who would like to get to know about humanitarians of days of yore who succeeded in creating valuable effects for society. Pavol Novák was exactly such a man. He succeeded in improving his surroundings and became an example of how valuable one can be for his community, in spite of the heated times of the society he lived in.
The primary motive for documenting the story of Pavol Novák was a house, which is still located in the city and it reminds us with its majesty that its creator could have been someone important. We found out that Mr. Novák’s former family estate indeed has some unique features; therefore we are dealing with the tangible heritage of this Košice humanitarian in detail as well.
View ofof the house from Mlynský náhon, 30s of 20 th century and today