When my wife and I planned an April trip to Vienna, we were simply going to one of our favorite cities to hear a young soprano friend, Meagan Miller, in Strauss' Ariadne auf Naxos at the Vienna Statsoper. We also planned a one-day trip to Bratislava, Slovakia, because of its proximity. We had no idea at the time how momentous the trip would be.
My maternal grandparents, Maria and Michael Bohinik, emigrated from Slovakia to Upper Darby in 1900, leaving a son and daughter behind, to be sent for later. Eight more children were born here, World War I intervened, the Depression followed, then World War II, followed by communism. The Slovakia Bohiniks and the U.S. Bohinicks never saw each other, and all contact ceased after 1950. As the oldest U.S. Bohinick, I've made many attempts to trace my mother's family, to no avail. I was never even quite certain if we were Slovak or Czech. In 2006, my sons and I visited the small village in southeastern Poland that is the ancestral home of everyone in the world with Dad's last name, but I despaired of ever doing the same with Mom's side.