Alexander Herz traversed the distance between the hamlet of Sklabinský Podzámok


sheltered in a mountain valley and the world-wide legacy of John Daniel Hertz.




13th-century Sklabinský Castle little Alex (Šaňo) saw above his native village was habitable till the German Wehrmacht turned it to ruins during World War II while suppressing Slovakia's pro-democratic uprising in 1944.


John Daniel Hertz

Q: Was John D. Hertz Slovak?

John Daniel Hertz Sr. was born as Schandor Herz in Sklabinský Podzámok, north-central Slovakia, on 10 April 1879. Sources sometimes give mistaken birthplaces for him, either the birth town of his father or a larger village near Sklabinský Podzámok with a somewhat similar one-word name. He immigrated with his whole family at the age of 5. He founded the Yellow Cab Company and Hertz Rent-A-Car. He died in Los Angeles on 8 October 1961.

A source of the confusion about Hertz's birth place is his birth record with the entry "Sklabiňa," the location of the Town Hall that governed, as its municipal subdivision, the nearby village of Sklabinský Podzámok where his parents lived (his mother gave birth to him at home in Sklabinský Podzámok, not at the Town Hall).

Alexander Herz

Herz's given name was recorded as Schandor in his birth documents, the German spelling of the Hungarian version of Alexander. He replaced it with John Daniel and added the letter -t- in his last name in the U.S. His father Jakob (1836-1925) was born in the town sometimes confused with Alexander's, i.e., John Daniel's birth place. Jakob married Kathe née Schlessinger (1837-1920) from Sklabinský Podzámok, about 10 miles from his birth town, and moved to his wife's village. Alexander was their 4th child. The family left for the U.S. a year after their 6th and last child was born in 1884.

Sklabinský Podzámok was in the Slovak-majority area of the former Kingdom of Hungary that became present-day Slovakia. The local Jewish families usually spoke Yiddish or German at home, probably the case in the Herz family too, and communicated in Slovak with the mostly Lutheran inhabitants of Turiec County where John Daniel, his parents, and all of his siblings were born.