Mikus, Joseph A(ugust) 1909–2005

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Mikus, Joseph A(ugust) 1909–2005

OBITUARY NOTICE—See index for CA sketch: Born July 3, 1909, in Kriva, Austria-Hungary (now Slovakia); died May 19, 2005, in Kriva, Orava, Slovakia. Diplomat, civil servant, educator, and author. A former diplomat for Czechoslovakia, Mikus later became a history professor and was well known for his advocacy for Slovakian independence. Growing up in a farming family, he broke out of this agrarian existence to complete a law degree at Bratislava University in 1934. He then entered diplomatic and civil service with the Czechoslovakian government and, during that country's brief period of independence from 1939 to 1945, with the Slovakian government. After World War II, these regions became Czechoslovakia again, this time under an oppressive communist regime. Mikus was arrested several times before finally escaping to France in 1948. Four years later, he immigrated to America, where he worked as a guide and interpreter for the U.S. Department of State. In 1959 he was hired as an assistant professor of history and international relations at St. John's University. Going back to school, he earned a master's degree in comparative law at George Washington University in 1966, while also working as a law librarian, guide, and interpreter in the nation's capital from 1961 until 1968. He then joined the faculty at Georgian Court College in Lakewood, New Jersey as a history professor. In addi-tion to his work as a teacher, interpreter, and guide, Mikus was a constant campaigner for Slovakian independence. He often wrote about his homeland in his books, including Slovakia: A Political History, 1918–1950 (1963), Pride in Slovak Origin (1971), Slovakia and the Slovaks (1977), and Slovakia: A Political and Constitutional History: With Documents (1995). He also contributed to Slovakian newspapers in the United States and was a member of the Slovak-American Society, the Slovak World Congress, and the Central and Eastern European Coalition. Gratified when Slovakia finally achieved independence in 1993, he returned to Europe after his wife's death in 1995 (he wrote about her in his 1994 book, My Marriage with Renee), settling in his hometown of Kriva. For his continued support for the cause of independence, the Slovak government awarded him its Pribina Cross, first class, in 2002.



Washington Post, June 11, 2005, p. B6.