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- Hreha, Štefan
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8 photographs : b&w
35 photographs : col.
1 object : ribbon
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Name of creator
Štefan Hreha was born in Čemerné (near Vránov nad Topľou, Zemplín county), Slovakia on March 25, 1918. He was the first of Štefan Hreha and Maria Sabo's four children. He has two brothers Arpád (Albert) and Gejka (Jim) and a sister, Stella. Štefan Hreha met his future wife, Paulina, around 1940, in Montréal. They got married on June 22, 1946, when he returned from the army. They have one son, Štefan Robert Hreha.
Mr. Hreha came to Canada two days before Christmas in 1936. He studied at St. Patrick School and the Olier Academy and enthusiastically involved himself in the life of the Slovak community in Montreal. As early as 1937, he founded the L'udovit Literary Society, because he wanted to "propagate Slovak thinking and feeling" among the young Slovak people in the community. The Society organized plays, lectures and parties and a school for the Slovak youth born in Canada.
As the beginning of 1938, while he was still in school, he started working as an administrator and editor of the publication of Slovák v Kanade and later for Slovenské Bratstvo.
In 1941, during the Fifth Congress, the Canadian Slovak League (CSL) decided to start publishing their own newspaper. Štefan Hreha, "a young, courageous newspaperman" (Kirschbaum, 294), was the founding editor of Kanadský Slovák, and published its first issue on March 5, 1942. This newspaper became the only Slovak weekly to be published without interruption for more than sixty-five years. In August 1942, Hreha was drafted and spent three and half years in the army. Upon his return from the army, he was hired as administrator of the newspaper, and at the Windsor Convention, was re-elected as editor. He continued to work as an editor for Kanadský Slovák until 1952, when the newspaper moved to Winnipeg. Subsequently, Hreha worked as an advertising manager for Crane Canada for 32 years.
Štefan Hreha was an active member of the Canadian Slovak League (CSL)'s Montreal branch for a number of years, as well as of the First Catholic Slovak Union of the United States and Canada, Jednota. He served in various functions for the Canadian Slovak League (CSL) such as president of the Montréal branch and in the Central Assembly, as chairman of the overseers, and as recording secretary.
His cultural and literary contributions to Slovak heritage in Canada include stage plays, musicals' librettos, a cycle of poems and epigrams and a manuscript on the origins of Slovak people in Canada, for Encyclopedia Canadiana. As Anthony Sutherland indicates, Hreha "was one of the outstanding educated members of the Canadian Slovak League. Besides his editorial work he helped write several of the League's resolutions, was a poet and served in various League offices. He edited several issues of Pamätnice (Souvenir Books) and the KSL Calendar which is of historical importance to the Canadian Slovak community. Hreha also authored the lyrics for the musical Ked' príde nedeľa (When Sunday comes) and wrote several plays, among others, Za chlebom (In search of bread) and Turkovčaty (The Turks are here) produced in Montréal. There is also an unpublished manuscript for the musical Ruže v snehu nekvitnú (Roses do not bloom in the snow)." (Sutherland, 50).
Štefan Hreha pleaded for a Slovak newspaper to represent the Canadian Slovak League and to unite all Slovaks in Canada. Štefan Hreha's dedicated work within the Slovak community in Canada has been recognized in Canada and in Slovakia. The Canadian Slovak League presented him with a Jubilee Trophy and the National Ethnic Press & Media Council of Canada awarded with a medal and the citation Honoris Causa, for his lifetime achievements in journalism. He also received an Honorary Recognition from Slovakia from his native Vránov nad Topľou. Štefan Hreha passed away at the Jewish Hospital in Montreal on August 15, 2015 at the age of 97.
Scope and content
This fonds consists of documents created, collected and/or received by Štefan Hreha after his arrival in Canada in 1936 reflecting his dedicated work as an editor for Kanadský Slovak, president of Branch 2 of the Canadian Slovak League in Montreal, and other activities as a writer and active member of the Slovak community in Canada.
It contains personal correspondence, articles, photographs and memorabilia as well as song lyrics, posters. It also contains documents relating to the Canadian Slovak League (CSL) including meeting minutes, Slovak publications, reports, invoices and budgets, press releases, reports, speeches and newspaper clippings.
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