Why Anton Neuwirth?
Anton Neuwirth (1921-2004) was a respected and well-known Slovak intellectual, diplomat, medical doctor, and politician. Although, or perhaps because, he was a witness to the horrors of the 20th century, his life motto was: “To cure the evil by the means of love.”
Young Neuwirth, whose father Jewish, witnessed the deportation of part of his family to the Nazi concentration camps. As an adult and father of four children, he was deported to a Communist prison where he spent six years. The Communist regime had many reasons to fear him: Anton Neuwirth was an excellent medical doctor and faithful Catholic who was deeply engaged in intellectual circles during and after his university studies.
After the fall of Communism, he supported the establishment of the Christian Democratic Party in Slovakia, ran for the presidency of the Slovak Republic, and became the first Slovak ambassador to the Vatican. He was active in public life until his last days.
Some of us have had the honor of knowing this great man in person. It was Neuwirth that we turned to with a plea for advice and his blessing when establishing the Ladislav Hanus Fellowship in 2002.
Neuwirth suggested our fellowship bear the name of Ladislav Hanus— a great Slovak thinker with whom he had shared the same shackles in a Communist prison. Neuwirth has become the godfather to the Ladislav Hanus Fellowship and a friend to many of us. He understood, better than many others, the primary importance of educating and forming the new generation and often dreamed of a stable educational institute for young Slovaks.
The Collegium of Anton Neuwirth proudly bears the name of this great Slovak figure and in fulfilling his dream it endeavors to be faithful to his legacy.
“The Collegium is the fulfillment of my father's plans and the desire of his heart. It provides the opportunity to cultivate the minds of young people and to cause them to respond to the Voice that speaks to the heart.”
Anna Záborská, European Parliament MP, Anton Neuwirth´s daughter