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467 REZLEROVÁ-ŠVARCOVÁ (also written SCHWARTZOVÁ), Barbora (1890–1941) Journalist, author; activist of the left-wing Slovakian women’s movement; editor-inchief (1923–1925) of the Slovak women’s communist weekly Proletárka (Proletarian woman). Barbora Švarcová (born Rezlerová; she used both names) was born on 7 July 1890 in Bleibach (Bavaria, Germany). Her father, Josef Rezler, was a textile worker who had come to Bleibach from Bohemia with Barbora’s mother, Jozefína Rezlerová (born Horová). Barbora Rezlerová’s father was one of the founders of the Social Democratic Party in Bohemia. When he returned to Bohemia from Germany with his wife and five children, the family settled in the town of Košín, near Prague. Like her parents and siblings, Rezlerová was a textile worker. In all probability, she moved to Prague during World War I, where she worked as a cook. In Prague, she became active in the left-wing women’s movement. She was self-taught, as was her father. In Prague, she met her husband, Ladislav Švarc (Schwartz), then an active communist leader (date of marriage unknown). In 1921, Ladislav Švarc became the regional secretary of the Czechoslovak Communist Party in the town of Banská Bystrica . Rezlerová moved to Banská Bystrica to be with her husband and, together with other left-wing activists, they became central figures in the workers’ and communist movement. For her part, Rezlerová was active in the political organization of women workers. From September 1922 to October 1923, she served as the Regional Secretary of the Communist Party organization Slovenské ženy (Slovak Women). From 1923, her political activities intensified. An excellent public speaker and openly critical of the government of the Czechoslovak Republic, Rezlerová was often fined, and on occasion imprisoned for her left/communist views, as was her husband. In 1925, the couple felt obliged to move to Prague to avoid further persecution. From Prague, they moved illegally to Germany, and from there to the Soviet Union in 1926. The Soviet Union had always represented a place of promise and excitement for Rezlerová. Prior to emigrating there in 1926, Rezlerová had gone to the Soviet Union in 1921, giving birth to her son Vladimír there before returning to Slovakia, where she remained from 1921 to 1925. These latter years formed a definitive period in both Rezlerová’s life trajectory and in the historical development of the left-wing Slovakian women’s movement. From 1923 to 1925, Rezlerová was editor-in-chief of the Slovak women’s communist weekly Proletárka (Proletarian woman). She was the first woman journalist in Slovakia to write on feminist issues such as reproductive rights, human rights and the political participation of women, as well as on gender asymmetry in the distribution of political power and legal rights. In this way, she helped make Proletárka 468 a powerful feminist forum, as well as other periodicals to which she contributed in the period 1921–1925. No other nineteenth-/early twentieth-century Slovak woman activist presented so radical a Marxist feminist position, even if Rezlerová (towing communist party lines) consistently used the word ‘feminism’ in a negative sense. Over the years she spent in Banská Bystrica (1921–1925), Barbara Rezlerová- Švarcová wrote articles not only for Proletárka, but also for other communist daily newspapers: Hlas ľudu (The people’s voice); Pravda chudoby (The truth of the poor) and Spartacus (a journal for communist youth). Rezlerová’s most significant articles appeared in Proletarka, for which she probably also used the pseudonym Kamila Kmeťová. She was the author of many articles, glosses and weekly columns and had a written style that was both informative and instructional, combining a direct address aimed at women from the working class with intellectual argumentation. Under her editorial leadership, the distribution of Proletarka was 1200 weekly copies, later rising to two thousand. All in all however, the publication had only three hundred subscribers and was losing even these. When in 1925, Gizela Kolláriková became editor-inchief of Proletarka, the publication underwent drastic changes, attuning itself more finely to the goals and activities of the Communist Party, rather than to those of the women’s movement. Barbora Rezlerová-Švarcová left with her husband for the Soviet Union in 1926 and was active and successful there until 1938. In 1927, she gave birth to a second son (Iľja) and, from 1928, began studying journalism at the State Institute of Journalism in Moscow. Later (exact date unknown), she worked for the prestigious...


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