Mgr. and Dipl. Ing. Stanislav Mikolaj Jr. was born on August 13, 1980 in the city of Žilina, Czechoslovakia (now Slovakia). Stanislav is an important Slovak antiquarian and writer from Žilina. At present, he works in his own antiquarian bookstore called Scriptorium. He studied at Alexander Dubček University of Trenčín. After finishing his studies in chemistry, he studied history at Constantine the Philosopher University in Nitra at the Faculty of Arts. Stanislav is a co-founder of the Servare et Manere, o.z., a non-governmental organization.
Tree of Peace (Slovak: Strom pokoja, Russian: Дерево мира, German: Der Friedensbaum) is an international and global project that originated in Slovakia in the European Union. The project, created on the occasion of the 100th Anniversary of the end of World War I, was initiated by Slovak landscape architect Marek Sobola from Žilina. The main goal of the project is to promote a message of peace by planting a “Tree of Peace” on every continent within 4 years (2018 – 2022); because World War I lasted for 4 years, this project is also planned to last for 4 years. World War I also had an impact on Sobola’s family. His great-grandfather Ondrej Sobola (Andreas Szobola) died on the Russian battlefield in an unknown place. The story of the author’s family inspired him to memorialize the soldiers who died in WWI in unknown places and were laid to rest without their names or identities. There is probably no country in the world that does not have a war victim or an unknown soldier. The project is also a tribute to these people.
The project has the ambition to be a universal message of joining the nations. It may be paradoxical that on one hand the war separated nations in the past but on the other it also joined nations through military alliances. At present, the project is not being strictly linked to 1918 and WWI, but more generally to the need for peace and the avoidance of global military conflicts. In this way, the project has become universal and its application is made available also to countries which were touched only marginally by WWI. But the author does not exclude the allusion to this global military conflict because it is thanks to this significant anniversary of its end that the Project itself began. This Project is European, international and strictly apolitical. The main idea of the project is a Message of Peace.
The Project has its official logo, which contains the dove – the general symbol of peace that is associated with the tree – the main tool of the Project. The project is implemented as a voluntary and community service by Servare et Manere, Slovak Civic association. The official motto of the Project is: “Let´s make love the lifeblood of this world”.
TREES OF PEACE
Ondrej Sobola (*August 7, 1880 Lalinok, Austrian-Hungarian Empire – † December 31, 1918 official date) was an Austro-Hungarian Army soldier. His death, in an unknown place during the First World War, inspired the Tree of Peace project. Ondrej was born in Lalinok into a farming family and the Sobola family have lived in Lalinok since the beginning of the 16th century. Ondrej Sobola was married to Jozefína Rapšíková in July 31, 1900 in Dlhé Pole and was taken into the army in 1901. Ondrej and his older brother Štefan travelled to the United States in around 1906 and their place of residence was the borough Clifton Heights in Delaware County, Pennsylvania. Ondrej returned to Lalinok between 1907 – 1910 and went back to the United States on November 30, 1910. Because of his stay in Pennsylvania he did not take part in the military manoeuvres in 1912. He definitely returned to Lalinok before 1914 and after the outbreak of the First World War he was enlisted in the 15th Military Infantry Regiment (Hungarian: 15. Népfelkelő gyalogezred ütközetei). Ondrej Sobola was missing from about 1915 on the Russian battlefield. In Czechoslovakia, he was officially pronounced dead in 1930, with the official date of death: December 31, 1918. Ondrej’s name was written on a Memorial dedicated to WWI victims from Lalinok village in the local cemetery on November 11, 2018. His portrait made by sculptor Michal Janiga based on the only preserved photo is also incorporated on the Memorial. You can also find Ondrej’s name on a Memorial pillar in the Emperor’s park of Kaiservilla in Bad Ischl.