Viliam Hrabovec (June 14, 1901 – April 3, 1938), a native of Čadka, came from five siblings: brothers Ján and Jozef, sisters Mária (Mariška) and Valéria (Škrabáková). He was probably the youngest of them. His father was Ján Hrabovec, and his mother was Alžbeta Hiršová.
He was one of the first five teachers of the visually impaired at the Czechoslovak State Institute for the Blind in Levoča (founded in 1922). He created unique tactile teaching aids for blind pupils. Many of them have been preserved and seen in the exposition of the Museum of Special Education in Levoča.
In 1923, Hrabovec joined the Institute for the Blind in Levoča. He was only the second teacher there. At that time, Hrabovec already had some experience with the blind. He worked in the curatorship of a private institution, which was transfered of workshops for the blind from Prešov to Levoča. It was this experience and, in addition, extraordinary modeling skills that led Adolf Fryc (director of the institute) to offer Hrabovec a teaching position.
Historical documents state that he made 19 teaching aids:
- plastic map of the country,
- copper – hand-forged globe,
- state coat of arms of the Czech Republic gypsum republic,
- a plastic wall map of Czechoslovakia,
- reliefof Levoča town hall,
- plastic maps of Asia, North and South America, Australia, and others.
Učebná pomôcka pre nevidiacich, Spišský hrad (1937)
He was awarded a commendation by the Ministry of Education and National Enlightenment for all his works.
Hrabovec is associated with founding the Slovenský slepec magazine published in Prague.
Viliam Hrabovec was an unmissable personality in the field of education of the blind in the first half of the 20th century. Unfortunately, he died at age 37. He was a victim of a tragic accident near Kežmarok. It was a collision between the motor vehicle he was riding in and a train.
Written by: Štefánia Petreková
– Specialized public archive of the Ministry of Interior of the Slovak Republic in Levoča
– archive of documentary materials of the Museum of Special Education in Levoča
– Ján Zoričák, Levoča (author of the photograph of the collection item: Spiš Castle, 1937)