End of Democracy, Oppressions, Holocaust

End of Democracy, Oppressions, Holocaust

According the Munich Pact in September 1938, by the decision of the great powers, Central Europe was surrendered into the sphere of interest of the German Reich. It meant the end of democratic regime and state sovereignty, as well as territorial restrictions of the Czechoslovak Republic. Subsequently, by the decision of Germany and Italy in Vienna Award in November 1938, the South of Slovakia was occupied by Hungary and its citizens had to face cruel expelling from the country, i.e. to severe national oppression. Under the Hitler’s pressure, Slovakia in March 1939 declared itself to be a sovereign state. There was the authoritative regime of Hlinka’s Slovak People’s Party (HSĽS) in this state. The Slovak Republic was in a subordinate position towards the Nazi Germany and by the side of Wehrmacht its army took part in military campaign against Poland and USSR. Regime of the state violated human rights and most of all extremely harshly treated the Jewish community. Majority of its members were deprived of their property and deported into the Nazi concentration camps, where they died. Harsh reprisals and open murdering were being committed by the Nazi occupational and security apparatus during the Slovak National Uprising and especially after its crushing. The Flying Squads of Hlinka’s Guard cooperated with the occupational regime and moreover, also various partisan groups were involved in committing great brutality and violating human rights.

Photo: Juraj Alner


When he was a child, his family was persecuted by the fascist regime. They survived only thanks to the help of strange people. The life of his family was substantially influenced also by the communist dictatorship; however, he had never felt hatred within him. His biggest dream is that people would never forget about our history.

Photo: Matej Andráš


Matej Andráš devoted his whole life to Slovak-Polish relations. From the position of the Czechoslovak consul in Poland in the years 1947 – 1950 he fought for the national rights of the Slovaks living in Poland and advanced their desire to use the Slovak language in education and religion. During his life, especially after the year 1945, he was in touch with several well-known writers and personalities of the Czechoslovak political stage. He also engaged in translation and publication activities.

Photo: Imrich Brezanský


Political changes made him join the Hungarian army and risk his life for defence of country, which actually was not his homeland. He experienced horrors of war as well as cruelty in Soviet prison camps.

Photo: Jozef Cerina


Jozef Cerina used to meet soldiers and army units since his early childhood. Even as a young boy he saw the absurdity of war and pointlessness of its casualties. His life was strongly affected by the Vienna Award, because of which he became a Hungarian citizen just in one moment, so he knew the situation on both sides of frontier. He claims that conflicts between Slovak and Hungarian population were fabricated by political officials.

Photo: Viola Fischerová


As a six-year-old girl she got to ghetto in Lučenec. She thought it was the worst thing to experience. After the transportation to Auschwitz, she experienced the real hell. She was a victim of doctor Mengele who did various pseudo-medical experiments on her. She survived and managed to escape.

Photo: Alexander Gordon


Although his father lost his business in the process of Aryanization and both parents were forced to move out, escape and hide, German soldiers found them and they were transported to the concentration camp. As a medical student Alexander was sent to the VI. labour battalion and worked at various workplaces. In his situation it was like living in a paradise.

Photo: Viera Gordonová


The Vienna Award and the Second World War deprived her of everything she had ever had. She was just a young girl when she experienced the hell of various concentration and labour camps where she lost all her close relatives. She knew that she owed her life mainly to a good fortune.

Photo: Judita Zuzana Grossmanová


Though she and her family managed to avoid being sent to concentration camp, Judita knows the horrors of human hatred very well. She had to face up to it many times. Her life was full of fear, hiding out and constant struggle in various forms. However, she is Jewess by birth and she stays Jewess till the end of her life.

Photo: Ivan Lefkovits


He is honoured as a specialist in the field of immunology. He lectures at the university in Switzerland, in the city of Basel where he also lives. He was born in Prešov and as a six-year-old boy he experienced the hell of concentration camps Ravensbrück and Bergen-Belsen. He was forced to pretend being deaf-and-dumb, with his brother they escaped from an orphanage, and when he wanted to cross the border dressed up like a girl, he betrayed himself. He survived bombings, death marches and he also witnessed the worst horrors that happened during the last days of Bergen-Belsen camp.

Photo: Ján Lenský


In the year 1940 he fled the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia along with his parents and together they came to Slovakia. After the outbreak of the Slovak National Uprising they joined the partisan group as civilians. However, Ján’s parents couldn’t stand it; they returned back and were deported to concentration camps. Ján had to hide at various places. The family managed to reunite only after the liberation of Czechoslovakia and then, they decided to emigrate.

Photo: Július Molitoris


He and his family experienced the situation when southern parts of Slovakia were ceded to Hungary.

Photo: Tibor Spitz


In 1942 his family thanks to certain “exceptions” was not deported to concentration camps. After the Slovak National Uprising began in 1944, because of the threat of transports they began hiding. Their Christian friends offered them the first refuge, however, during the winter 1944/45 they were forced to stay down in a forest bunker. In 1968 he emigrated through Cuba into the USA, where he lives until today.

Foto: Jossi Steiner


As a six-year-old child he and his family experienced the hell of the holocaust. They were searched; they ran, hid out and afterwards got to ghetto. They spent nine months hidden behind so called “double wall” in the house of Mr. Ján Mozolák. Nine people lived in the space 1,5m wide and 5m long.

Foto: Alžbeta Váradiová


She experienced the horrors of war, which she would never wish on her worst enemy, as well as a bombardment of her native town of Nové Zámky, in which many of her friends lost their life. She became a teacher and dedicated her life to educating children.

Photo: Otto Wagner


Holocaust deprived him of the whole family. He worked in the camp in Nováky until the year 1944 and later participated in the fights of the Slovak National Uprising. However, the hardest times came, when he was transported to the Mauthausen concentration camp, where he lived until the end of the war.