Kandra, L’udovít

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Kandra, L’udovít

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  • Klas, Peter

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L’udovít Kandra (pseudonym: Peter Klas), was born in Banská Štiavnica, on July 6, 1904. Between 1914 and 1922, he completed his primary and secondary education in his local community. Between 1922 and 1924, he studied in Banská Bystrica where he obtained his teaching certificate from the Institute of Pedagogy. In 1928, he married Paula Päták. While working as a teacher, and later, as a school director, Mr. Kandra was already interested, and much involved, in Slovak cultural and literary life. In the Spring of 1945, Mr. Kandra and his family left Slovakia and emigrated to Austria where they lived until 1949. In 1949, the Kandras emigrated to Canada; with their two daughters, Dana and Olga. They lived in various Ontarian cities: Oil City, Glencoe and Kitchener.
After his arrival in Canada, Mr. Kandra worked for different employers including Electrohome Limited but he also began to write and publish his work. Most of his fiction work was published under the pen name of Peter Klas. He is the author of two published novels (“Satan proti Bohmu”and “Svetlo pod halenou”), a collection of short stories (“Na strome života) and hundreds of individual short stories published in various almanacs, calendars and newspapers. He became one of the prolific prose writers among Slovak immigrant.
L’udovít Kandra was also an author “on a political mission.” A determined activist, he used his talent as a great communicator to bring forth the horrors of the occupation of Slovakia and the hard life of Slovaks under communism. He published hundreds of articles on these issues in newspapers such as Kanadský Slovák, Slovák v Amerike, Kalendar Kandaskej Slovenskej Ligy, Slovenská Obrana and other Slovak periodicals abroad. In addition to his prose and poetry, L’udovit Kandra maintained an exchange of correspondence with members of the Slovak intelligentsia abroad, among others, Imrich Kružliak (pseudonym: Marian Žiar), Ernest Žatko (pseudonym: Ján E. Bor), Ignác Zelenka (Eugen Vesnin) and Michal Lošonsky (pseudonym: Michal Želiar).
Throughout his writing career, Mr. Kandra was also involved as a lobbyist and political activist in a number of nationalist organizations. Of particular significance were his extensive work and significant influence as vice-president and president of the Slovak National Council Abroad (Slovenská Národná Rada v Zahraniči. SNRvZ).
A devout Lutheran, Mr. Kandra also had a long and generous involvement with the “Ustredna Rada Martina Razus”, where he served as president.
In Slovakia, as well as in Canada, L’udovít Kandra was a very humble citizen. An elementary school teacher by profession, he took on blue-collar work as an immigrant living in Canada. He was not a member of the Slovak “intellegencia,” nor did he hold an elected political office. He lived as a man of limited financial means throughout his life, yet through his prolific work as poet, author and freelance writer, and through his extraordinary personal contribution as a member of the Slovak diaspora, L’udovít Kandra made a significant contribution to Slovak literature and has had a long-lasting impact on the cultural and social conditions of Slovaks living in exile. He died in Belleville, Ontario, in 1993, at the age of 89.


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