Anton Adámek (1930)
“Everybody has to make an effort to prevent recurrence of those horrors. People mustn’t commit that kind of crimes on their own nation, on their own people.”
Anton Adámek was born on September 2, 1930, in Veľké Janíkovce near the town Nitra in the peasant family. His father, a disabled soldier, didn’t have the right hand. He gained the primary education at the roman-catholic public school. He started to attend it in 1936 and finished it in 1944 when the Slovak National Uprising was about to break out. A year later he enrolled at the vocational school and became a barber and a hairdresser. In the year 1949 he was present at the religious retreat in Stráže pod Tatrami, what was the reason why the State Security involved him in a fabricated production of anti-state leaflets. In the same year he was arrested in Trenčianske Teplice and sentenced under the Act No. 231/1948 Coll. on the Protection of the People’s Democratic Republic. In April 1949 he was given eight years and he served his sentence mainly in Jáchymov mines. He was released from prison in November 1957. After serving his sentence he worked as a barber, later he was an auxiliary radiotherapist in Nitra and for some time he worked also in Pozemné stavby in Bratislava. When he was 29 years old, he started to attend the evening classes at the Secondary School of Civil Engineering and he also passed the leaving examination there. In 1989 he became involved in the “Velvet Revolution” and later he was present at birth of the Confederation of Political Prisoners of Slovakia.
Prayer for the Holy Satiety
“My mum used to bake bread; people in the village usually baked it in the stove. We had one in the yard and we baked the bread there, actually six round loaves of bread at a blow, but my mother didn’t want to let us eat so much. Well, she baked them. They were really hard but the harder they were, the more we enjoyed them. We chewed and ate them. In the evening we had to kneel next to the bed and pray for the holy satiety. Because my mother used to say we ate like the horses. We prayed to God for giving us the satiety, so that we wouldn’t eat that much. My mother told us fearsome tales about a woman who had five sons. They ate very much and she had nothing to give them, so she went to one Jew to ask him to give or sell her some bread. He proposed her to exchange bread for her hair, so she cut her hair and sold it just to be able to bring some bread to her children. ‘Do you want me to have my hair cut and sell it to the Jew for some bread? Don’t eat so much! In the evening our bread has to go to sleep.’ She covered the loaf of bread with napkin and didn’t give us more because our bread went to sleep.”
Ex Officio Lawyer Asking for the Most Severe Punishment
“I want to add a few words to the trial. There happened something what hadn’t happened anywhere in the world. I had an ex officio lawyer because I didn’t need any paid lawyer; though, he sent a bill to my parents, I think it was about one thousand seven hundred crowns for my defence. Till today I don’t know whether they paid him or not, but I would give him nothing. And why? What happened at the trial? His name was Viktor Vietor, ex officio lawyer, who was assigned to me by the state, and who said in his final speech: ‘Your honour, I ask you to make allowances for these young people who committed the crime only maybe from the rashness of youth. They were too young. In spite of the fact that their friends, their contemporaries are present at building of railway line called Trať mládeže from Dúbrava to Banská Štiavnica, though thousands of young people work there, this group of boys agreed to erode the authority and tried to do everything to ruin the People’s Democratic Republic. Thus punish them severely.’ It was the final speech of my ex officio lawyer Viktor Vietor from Bratislava.”
“But in November they began arresting them and there was one captain called Fábry, such a martinet! He was so sturdy and robust man so that when he punched me, the snot ran out of my nose. From one nostril - snot and from the other – blood. Well, he was treating us really poorly, he battered us a lot and he did so in a very sophisticated manner. He left the door opened and as I sat there, bloodstained all over, they guided my friend passing by. He saw me bloodied, snotty, tearful… I was crying and he saw me, because the door was opened on purpose so that he would be frightened as they led him next door. Well, poor man! He surely said and signed even something he never did.”
Jam in the Pocket
“When we left Leopoldov, they gave us a piece of jam packed in some paper. It was about twenty or thirty decagrams. It was quite a lot! One big piece of jam and bread. We had it in our pockets; of course, where else we could have it. It was a kind of subsistence allowance; you know, it was our food for the whole day, until we came to Jáchymov. As we stopped being so fearful, I left that jam in my pocket. I didn’t eat it. I had no appetite during the way. In five years a new law was passed. I will tell you an example of it. When somebody was given more than, let’s say, five years, his clothes were sent home. They simply sent them home because they had no place to store them. Everybody had one paper bag with the name and everything, and there were huge mounds of those packages. They waited to be sent home. After five years they sent my clothes home and that jam rotted away in my pocket. It made the hole in my coat, so when I came home after eight years of imprisonment, my mother showed me: ‘Look at your coat.’ My parents got scared at that time; they thought something had happened to me, because nobody explained them the reason of sending my clothes back home. And they said to themselves: ‘He must have been dead. Our son. He is dead.’”
“She Travelled Thousand Kilometres Away Only to Tell Me: ‘My Beloved Son.’”
“When some visitors were about to come, they let us have a wash or bath, they cut our hair, gave us new clothing, clean new unused and really white shirts. And they drove us to the court in Karlové Vary. Early in the morning, there were some visitors, of course, I can’t recall the exact time. Maybe it was at ten o’clock, just as an example, we could come there at about eight but nobody knew that we were there; moreover, they told our relatives that visiting hours would start at ten o’clock. In judicial building in Karlové Vary, I was on the fourth floor, I guess, and from the window I saw my mom and my sister-in-law on the street. They didn’t see me since I was behind the window on the fourth floor. I couldn’t wave, and nor could I shout at them. When the hour “X” came, they guided me through the hall into another room. There was a table with two chairs for the visit at one side, one chair for me, and one chair for the guard, who also sat by the table. We started talking and that was really horrible and tragic for me that my 60-year old mother traveled about thousand kilometers, more than a week to Karlové Vary and then back home, just to tell me three words: ‘My beloved son…’ She took my hand and stroked it and only said those three words. Hundreds of kilometers she traveled just to tell me ‘My beloved son…’ She was unable to say more.”
“Do you know that damned Jáchymov, do you know that place full of barbed wires, barbed wires and strange towers above them with the sign of red terror there? Barbed wires and strange towers above them with the sign of red terror there. It is a wide country, all around, but guards of the camp make me alarmed. With machine-guns in their hands they watch my steps, if I draw near to wires, the warning signal resonates. Camps of pain, camps of grief, who was there, cursed them all. Thousands of songs predict revenge, who knew those camps had always cursed them; the day will come, when we will be free, because we don’t want to suffer for many years. Camps of pain, camps of grief, who was there, had always cursed them.”
To the Next Generations…
“I see the young generation; I often meet a lot of young people in Nitra, and in my native village as well. Somebody says that we make up things, that it is not possible for people to survive all those horrors, that it couldn’t happen, it couldn’t be the truth. But I usually say to others that it really happened, it was sad, but it was true, and everybody has to make an effort to prevent recurrence of those horrors. People mustn’t commit that kind of crimes on their own nation, on their own people.”
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.