Alfonz Czima (1928)
“Even though they would arrest or kill me, I know the way I live. It is the same way my grandma, who raised me, used to follow for her whole life.”
Alfonz Czima was born in 1928 in Košice where he spent his childhood and youth as well. He was raised by his grandmother in accordance with the principles of Christianity and she also influenced his effort to live honestly. As an adolescent at the end of the Second World War he was deported to Germany to do forced labour. On the way to Western Front he stayed in a small town of Gmunden for some time and witnessed the holocaust. After coming back to Slovakia, Alfonz continued studying and was present at building of railway line called Trať mládeže in Štiavnica. In 1956 he had finished university education in the field of constructional engineering and as he was an expert on structural engineering and architecture he got the offer to work for Regional Administration of Ministry of Interior. Definitely he had a moral dilemma, but finally he decided to accept this offer. He intended solely to do his job. When working there, he had an opportunity to look into the system and organization of the State Security that tried to persuade him to cooperate. They had mostly prospecting reasons because he designed the construction of Danube waterworks. His moral values didn't allow him to accept the ideology and manners of the state authorities, so he was dismissed from the Ministry of Interior. In 1966 he illegally fled across the border, immigrated to Canada where he obtained a dual citizenship. The State Security prevented Alfonz's wife from immigrating and forced her to divorce. Although The State Security tried to contact Alfonz Czima, he clearly refused collaboration with them. During his stay in Canada he worked with immigrants and lectured on communism at schools. He did it for fifteen years. He came back to Slovakia in 1992, but also at present he has to face many attacks from devotees of communism.
Working at the Regional Administration of the Ministry of the Interior
Interviewer: “Please, try to mention the whole name of the employer where they resided.” Alfonz Czima: “Well, the address where I was supposed to begin working was: The Regional Administration of the Ministry of the Interior and they had a seat on “Februárka” or on the February Victory Street, right opposite to the factory called “Štolverk”.
Interviewer: “What were your experiences of entering the Regional Administration?”
Alfonz Czima: “Well, I can only say I have very negative experiences. Firstly, I didn´t even want to get there and then as I found out those things of how they treat people, I was really… I really didn´t know there might had something like this existed in this world.”
He Had to Surrender…
“Today if we say that “ŠtB-ák” (State Security member) did not practice those things himself, it is not true. Because if one being the “ŠtB-ák”, he had to surrender to that system precisely by showing he belonged into that system.”
“Nowadays, people are afraid. And that is the worst thing that they won´t reveal the truth about how they were being harmed, how their dignity was violated, how their right of living was denied, and so on.”
Interviewer: “Do you think that also today some of the State Security practices in a way influence and function in our society?”
Alfonz Czima: “I would ask: Where did all those thousands and thousands of ŠtB members go? Where are those people? If there is a person who wants to handle a complaint, for example, you can clearly see who is against that complaint and who is impeding the democratic methods of the Slovak Republic. Yes, I responsibly declare that ŠtB members exist. If you want some names, there is, for example, here in Levoča the ŠtB-ák Ľubomír Bendžala, working as a head of the local authority, who decides on these complaints. And what I write and fight for will be also presented at the court, of course… These people have nothing to do on such positions anymore.”
Interviewer: “Did you see how the ŠtB (State Security) tried to bind up people for collaboration?”
Alfonz Czima: “Oh yeah, I have loads of experiences with that! Because another function they assigned to me was learning all those methods they used. It means that there were various visits of state enterprises, mainly of people in the leading positions and questioning whether they know something about any anti-state activity… So spying and things alike…”
The story and videoclips of this witness were put together and published thanks to the financial support of EU within the programme Europe for Citizens – Active European Remembrance.