Gabriela Kleinová rod. Kordová (1921)

Photo: Gabriela Kleinová


“I didn´t know what to say at the trial, what was I accused of and what will happen with me. They just read I was tried for espionage and treason. And for treason they passed life imprisonment, twenty-five years at least...”

Gabriela Kleinová was born in 1921 in Vrútky. Her mother Zuzana was a housewife and her father Eugen Korda was an important railway official. Gabriela had five siblings, three brothers and two sisters. Her eldest brother, Alexander Korda was a gunnery officer and since 1942 he was a member of illegal military resistance organization Victorie. He was also an active member of the anti-fascist resistance in the army and since September 10, 1944 he was in charge of the military training camp Oremov laz. He helped to arm the partisan units as well. During the Slovak National Uprising he was a commander of the 25th Foot Battalion and a co-operator of general Golian. After the February 1948 was Alexander along with his wife and the family persecuted, exposed to an inhuman tyranny and convicted to life imprisonment for alleged treason and espionage. This weakened his health a lot and he died in 1958 during the imprisonment. The whole family, including his siblings and their relatives were considered to belong to the enemies of the State. After the Slovak National Uprising Gabriela along with her sister Ružena and Ružena´s husband moved to Bratislava where she started to work in her brother-in-law´s office. Later on she got married to an architect Tibor Klein and together they had two children. In 1950´s the whole Korda family had been interrogated and gradually imprisoned. In 1952 was Gabriela´s husband sentenced to eight years of imprisonment; she got four years to spend in prisons in Bratislava, Rimavská Sobota, Sučany, and in Želiezovce. On March 4, 1955 Gabriela was freed because of granting the amnesty to women that had little children and lower sentence than ten years. Her husband served two thirds of the sentence and after the Hungarian Revolution he was released.

State Security Raid

Gabriela Kleinová - State Security Raid (data format Flash Video)

“November 13, 1952 suddenly a State Security raid entered our house. They rang the bell, opened, ran inside, and like some hyenas they started to do inspection. We had to legitimate ourselves; I was home alone with a child and one of my friends was over, we were supposed to go for a walk when the inspection began. They were throwing everything around, looking, searching, I don´t know what they were searching for but of course, they found nothing. “Where is your husband?” I say: “My husband isn´t here, he went hunting.” “Where is he?” I say: “Either he went to the Karlova Ves region or to Orechová Potôň. I can´t tell you, wait for him until he comes back and then you see.” I was completely frightened, I didn´t know what to do, because I was so young, inexperienced, not knowing that they can attack such a young woman. They scared me, you know, I can´t express how much. I was trembling with the fear of what they want from us. They were running around, searching, taking everything out, checking everywhere, each room, also bedroom but they had nothing to find. They took what they found, wrote down and never gave back.”

Husband´s Arrest

Gabriela Kleinová - Husband´s Arrest (data format Flash Video)

“My husband came; they took him, inspected, seized his rifle, and said: “Come.” One of them took him and dragged away. We kissed each other and then I didn´t see him for a long time. The inspection of our flat and my husband´s arrest lasted a long time and when they left, my friend and I stayed alone; she was also very frightened, unable to even say a word. Well, we waited what would happen next. My niece came over and when she saw what was going on in our home, she left by the back door and ran to tell my sister Kramárová what had happened.”


Gabriela Kleinová - Interrogation (data format Flash Video)

“Well, in few days they came to take me, you know, they came and invited me to go to the State Security Office. I opened the door, having the child in my hands and he called me to go to the office. I said: “I have a little child here, I can´t go with her.” Then my sister-in-law came, I didn´t tell them who she is. “Please, Božka, be so kind...” “How long will I be with you?” I asked. “You will be right back, don´t worry, in a while you are back,” he said. “Be so kind and hold my Dagmarka, so that I could leave.” He didn´t know who my sister-in-law was, maybe later he did, but she stayed with my daughter and I went to the State Security Office. There I was interrogated. You can´t even imagine, I didn´t have a spit, so dry mouth I had when they began to question me. I can´t say they were doing some kind of physical pressure, but they were screaming on and on, writing down all I said and I don´t remember any more what they wanted to know, but I was there since eight o´clock in the morning until eleven in the evening.”

“An Invitation“

Gabriela Kleinová - “An Invitation“ (data format Flash Video)

“I received an invitation to report to the police office on the 2nd January 1952. I spent the Christmas with my family, parents, and children. With my sister-in-law Božena Kordová we travelled back to Bratislava together and in the morning when we were getting ready to go to work she told me: “Rather be prepared, you know, today you are called to go to the police office. It doesn´t have to be anything wrong with it; I didn´t want to tell you sooner, I wanted you to have a nice holiday.” And then I went directly to the prison Krajzák, on 2nd January 1952.”

Meeting in the Prison

Gabriela Kleinová - Meeting in the Prison (data format Flash Video)

“Just think about this, ten minutes after getting into the prison, right during my first walk we were walking around. At the other courtyard there were men, but I didn´t know this. I turned around and I saw my brother-in-law Kramár. I waved to him - like this. After a while I heard somebody calling “mókuš, mókuš”, a man screamed and it was my brother. So that day I met all of them, my husband, too. During half an hour being in the prison they all knew I was there; my sister, brother, brother-in-law, and my husband. Later on it began, no one even noticed me being there, waiting more than a year in a cell. I got to know many different people who came; many poor men being broke down coming from the remand centre.”

The Trial

Gabriela Kleinová - The Trial (data format Flash Video)

“It was cruel, because they didn´t have a witness against us. They had to find one and raise him to take the stand against us, so that they could arrest as many of us as possible. By the testimony of this main witness we all were sentenced to imprisonment. That was really cruel. (So the witness came) And then passing the sentences came, fifteen, sixteen, fourteen years... In our family one got fifteen years, the other fourteen, my husband eight, I got four and my sister was freed after the trial. So my sister Kramárová and my sister-in-law Kordová, they both were released. It was just us behind the bars.”

Forced Labour in Sučany

Gabriela Kleinová - Forced Labour in Sučany (data format Flash Video)

“The work was hard. The work was hard, but you know, being able to move in the brickfield, especially when one was at the furnace and the bricks were drying there, it was allowed to move, talk with others, have a rest when the bricks weren´t in line... The bricks were heavy so the work was very hard. My hands were strained, swollen. My family sent me such straps I could wear on my hands. Our boss assigned me to work with a special cart that I distributed the bricks with from the production to the dryer. There I put them down. So I mainly worked with the cart with such a pile of bricks and that´s what I carried.”