Juraj Anoškin (1930)
“I can study, I can speak, and I can criticise or express my opinion. People usually aren’t conscious of how amazing is to have all these options.”
Juraj Anoškin was born in 1930. Both his parents were of the noble ancestry. His father, high tsarist officer, came from Russia. His mother was on the distaff side the princess Radziwill. Firstly he attended the public school in Podolínec, later he continued studying in Stará Ľubovňa and he finished his primary education in Orava where he also attended the first year of grammar school. Because his sister Eugénia had studied at the grammar school in Žilina, he moved there as well. Since his family had to change residence very often, in 1944 he started to attend various schools in Martin and Nové Mesto nad Váhom. He passed the leaving examination at the grammar school in Košice. When the Uprising was crushed in 1944, the whole family moved to Prague where they lived for several months. Later they came back to Slovakia and in the year 1950, Juraj started to study at the Slovak Technical University in Bratislava. In 1953 he and his sister were arrested and sentenced for high treason because Juraj had told his friend about the best area to flee across the border. This act was taken by the communist regime as an abetment of fleeing abroad, so Juraj Anoškin was sentenced to four years of imprisonment. He served his sentence in Jáchymov mines. After being released, he returned back to Bratislava where he started to work as a draughtsman for Keramoprojekt enterprise. During the next few years he worked as a head of construction staff in Pozemné stavby and concurrently with working there, he used to found artistic groups throughout the whole republic. In 1966 he got married and a year later he graduated from constructional engineering. In 1984 he attained the Candidate of Sciences degree. Since 1989 he worked as a freelancer and at the same time he was employed in the plant producing computer technology. Later he took early retirement and ran his own business. In 1998 Anoškin family was given back the noble title and subsequently in the same year they founded The Aristocratic Association of Slovakia.
The Slovak National Uprising
“Actually it was army who started the Uprising. Today people don’t speak about it at all or they speak about it only very gingerly. Finally, the communist agitators dispersed it or rather, they put themselves in the lead and thus they gave that unpleasant attribute to the entire situation and, in my opinion, it was actually the thing which dishonoured the whole Slovak National Uprising. What had happened there was absolutely incorrect. For example I recall the situation when a car stopped on our street in Vrútky and they handed out weapons and ammunition to everyone who came there. Without regard to whether it was just a kid or an old man. And I remember as well that in August when we were on holiday in Tajov, where my godfather worked as a surveyor and where I earned my own money, there we were forced to evacuate from the area fifty meters away from the station because of those bombings. And as we were provisionally evacuating to Sučany, I walked back to Vrútky to buy a drawing set. Between Sučany and Vrútky there were storehouses called “Sima”. There were some untouchable military reserves. In front of it there stood a semi civilian – semi soldier with a gun in his hands and I will never forget as I saw him speaking to a group of people: ‘And we will shoot all those Germans, young or old, we will shoot them.’ And I said to myself: ‘Oh God, what is this? He is one of guerrillas!’ One Slovak soldier stood near them and he did absolutely nothing. Later, probably within three days, the Uprising broke out.”
“I am sure of one thing. We saw things that nobody has ever written about. We witnessed barbarities committed on German prisoners of war, soldiers. We came to Prague in May, I was fifteen and at that time I saw them committing all those barbarities on German civilians. Till today I keep in my mind the situation when they raised a German woman to the lamp-post by her legs, put a barrel filled with petrol under her and set it on fire. And we witnessed that sort of things… Somebody could say that it was a war, but anyway we have to be better than our enemies.”
Elections with Consequences
“After that February elections were called and, of course, on the slate there were only two options: either to vote the Communist Party or the so-called “white ballot.” I wasn’t allowed to vote yet, because I was too young; it was three months before my eighteenth birthday. My sister and parents voted. And the course of events was really interesting. When you entered the polling station, you got a numbered envelope. I remember that my parents, my father had number sixty-four and the woman wrote it down immediately: sixty-four - doctor engineer Peter Anoškin. Later they could easily identify that my parents and sister had voted the white ballot, it was no problem for them and consequences were clear. When the results were revealed, all those who had chosen that white ballot were ordered to leave Myjava within forty-eight hours. They drove a truck up in front of the house and when somebody didn’t toe the line, they went and threw everything out of his flat and sealed it. My father was granted respite just because people from Brezová pod Bradlom, the small tanning town, where he worked at that time asked him to come and finish his work there. So we moved away two months later. However; we still belonged to all those people exiled from Myjava. Fortunately, we had a chance to choose the place [to move]. The assignee for judicature was my father’s friend thus my father could choose Rožňava. So we moved to Rožňava.”
“On thing is certain though, when in the year 1953 I was doing my work practice in Sučany (it was compulsory for students) once at about midnight, three men came to the hostel and nabbed me. They blindfolded me, put the handcuffs on my hands, of course, I was absolutely shocked because I was used to anything, but something like that had never happened to me. They drove me in the direction of Bratislava. I inferred it thanks to all those bends and their conversation. Back then there was no motorway and as we came to Senec, there was one rectangular dextrorotatory bend in front of the square; actually it was the beginning of their square. As for that bend, the driver of Tatraplán was really clumsy and he overestimated himself, so the car overturned and got stuck on one side. It wouldn’t be so bad, you know, though they were rattled, they crept out of the car and, of course, they left me inside. Then they turned the car back to wheels. Only when the driver wanted to move, he realized that something was wrong with the wheel what actually meant that we weren’t roadworthy. Then they got scared because during the prisoner’s transport, they couldn’t afford something like that. It was more than bad for them – it meant disciplinary measures and the like. So I told them: (I was active motorcycle racer at that time and I was really good at engines) ‘I will fix it.’ I said: ‘It is only the stuck wheel cylinder. I will repair it.’ They looked at each other and finally they removed the blindfold from my eyes, handcuffs from my hands and then I repaired their car. They took the wheel down, I put an old small coin on the place where there was that cylinder, then I screwed it back and everything was all right. They breathed a sigh of relief and when we were on the way again, they neither blindfolded me, nor handcuffed me. On the contrary, they offered me some candies.”
“The Tapping Noise”
“As I was sitting in my cell, I could hear the tapping noise and later I realized it was Morse code where two taps meant a line and one tap was a dot. I was supposed to confirm understanding by one tap after every letter. My neighbour was a doctor Otakar Hromádka, former managing editor of Funkcionár, what was indeed the magazine of the Central Committee of the KSS or the KSČ in Prague. That man was in the solitary cell for the third time and he occupied himself with weaving tales for his children. He even didn’t know that Gottwald had died. He didn’t know that Stalin had died as well. He didn’t know that Dimitrov was dead. Only I told him about it. Actually I tapped it to him on the wall. However, finally it finished very roughly because once during that tapping the door opened and the whole group of the State Security members whirled into the cell [questioning us] what we had emitted, what we had talked about. They didn’t know the Morse alphabet at all. I told them: ‘I don’t know I was just tapping on the wall. I am alone here, yes, in the solitary cell... Oh, give me peace. I don’t understand why you don’t want to bring me any fellow here! Simply, somebody was tapping, so I tapped him back. But I don’t know the Morse code, I know nothing.’”
“I was released in September. I came home to Báhoň where my parents had lived at that time. It was quite a shabby house. I had to ask during the way where Anoškin’s house is. It seemed to me rather unreal that a man returning home after so many years didn’t know where he lived. There is the Báhoň station and from there it was about one or two kilometres to the village, quite far, and during the whole way I had to ask people where Anoškin family lived. When I finally came there I opened the gate, entered the yard and there was a veranda where my father stood. Suddenly I saw my father pinching himself. He stared at me and pinched himself this way. Then he said: ‘Please, don’t get scared, mom.’ But you know, at that moment she became frightened. ‘What is? What is going on? What has happened?’ ‘Jurík came home.’ She couldn’t believe it. The most interesting thing was that my sister was just serving breakfast, she had been home for two months, I couldn’t explain it, and probably it was some force majeure that she put four cups on the table. She was about to clear that cup from the table when I appeared in the yard. She wanted to take it away. It was really amazing; I had a lot of money with me, six hundred crowns, which I earned during those years I was in Jáchymov. Immediately I went to buy things like wine, I remember buying a watermelon as well, I felt simply great then.”
The Year 1969
“I recall events from the year 1969. It was also very interesting because at that time I was on some business trip in Switzerland. When Soviet and allied troops started to occupy our country, I tried to come back home at all costs because my wife and little children were here. We lived on Boženy Němcovej Street and near us there was a house where Dubček lived. I remember that once when I went home, it was early in the morning, I met Husák walking towards Dubček and I asked him: ‘Mister Husák, what’s going on here?’ I wasn’t well-informed. And he only waved his hands and responded: ‘God is punishing us, God is punishing us.’”
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.