Juraj Ružbaský (1921)

Photo: Juraj Ružbaský


“I thought: “May God take me as soon as possible.“ If somebody had told me I would survive that, I would never, never believe him.”

Juraj Ružbaský was born in 1921. He spent his childhood in a village Veľká Lomnica in the Prešov region. Because he didn´t know his father and his mother died very soon, he had to take care of his own living. Since he was seven years old, he worked very hard as a farm servant at different places, mainly at German farms. There he learnt to speak German and sometimes he was asked to come to local authorities and translate for his masters, because they did not speak Slovak. After the war Russians accused him of translating for German soldiers and from 1945 until 1947 he was in the labour camps Ľvov and Odesa.

The Reason for Arrest

Juraj Ružbaský - The Reason for Arrest (data format Flash Video)

“They took me because they thought I was German. People from Pohronie region didn’t know where I do come from. But no one ever asked me.”

Work at the Camp

Juraj Ružbaský - Work at the Camp (data format Flash Video)

“I worked as an interpreter for many hours. I was translating from German to Russian. That was my job. It lasted sometimes till midnight or later. Quite often a man was removed from the building and shot to death. They threw him on a pile. There, in front of my bunker, about twenty yards away in the shrubs, there were 50-60 people daily shot down.
But not dressed... naked. Twisted variously, hands this way, or that way…”

When I Was Sick...

Juraj Ružbaský - When I Was Sick... (data format Flash Video)

“Then a nurse came and gave me a pill. After the pill I seemed to improve. But she was asking me: “Can you speak Russian?“ Yes, I can! Do not tell anybody that I visited you! “It is all right that I saw you but they should not find out that I gave you the pill.“ Otherwise they send me there, on that pile. And there were already about fifty people there.”

Endless Way Home

Juraj Ružbaský - Endless Way Home (data format Flash Video)

“But I had already been excluded three times from the train. They did not want to let me on due to the letter “R“. By the time they got to ”R”, the first letter of my surname, the wagons were full and we had to go back. One man from Veľká hung himself there since his name also started with ”R”. He hung himself because he cracked.”

Meeting the Family

Juraj Ružbaský - Meeting the Family (data format Flash Video)

“After a while I let the torch shine on my face. Matis came and said: “Mom, it’s dad.“ The boy was 5 years old, jumped on me because he recognized me. She said: “Do you know what you look like?“ I answered back: “Like a beggar.“”