Returns // Returns 2–The Last Communist

Returns is a collaborative personal project of Gabriela Bulisova and Mark Isaac focused on the hometown of Gabriela’s mother, a small village in southern Slovakia called Chl’aba. Their joint portrait of the village, which is at the confluence of two rivers on the Hungarian border, documents family members, village life, and the natural beauty of Chl’aba. The project also considers the village’s emotional meaning, from Gabriela’s childhood memories to the recent tragic loss of several family members, including Gabriela’s father.

In this chapter, Bulisova and Isaac focus on Gabriela’s great uncle, Gyulabasci, and her great aunt, Gizka. Gyulabasci was a firm believer in the Communist experiment, and among his prized possessions was his book of stamped membership contributions to the Slovak Communist Party. The contributions lapsed only after Communism fell in the late 1980s. Having lived through World War II, the era of Communism, and the rocky transition to capitalism, Gyulabasci and Gizka shared numerous insights on Chl’aba’s history. Gyulabasci was heartstricken when Gizka passed away several years ago and did not last long after that.