Persecutions and Trials of 1950s and 1960s

The 1950s and beginning of the 1960s were the most drastic years of the ruling communist regime. They were characterized in persecutions of almost all social classes and fabricated judicial trials. During this era, in Slovakia there were unlawfully sentenced more than 71.000 people to more than 85.000 years of imprisonment in total. In the whole Czechoslovakia, approximately 250 people were executed for the so-called anti-state activities, up to 500 people died at the borders during the runaway attempts, app. 600 people were murdered by the State Security interrogators yet during the hearings, moreover, 8.000 prisoners of the regime died in the mines, in prisons and in labour camps. About 400 thousand people ran away or were driven out of the Republic. Many victims of the regime were imprisoned in labour camps or in Auxiliary Technical Battalions (PTP) without a judicial trial; many of them as well their relatives were forbidden to gain education or to develop any social prosperity.

Photo: Anton Adámek

ADÁMEK ANTON

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 n. 231/1948 Coll. on the Protection of the People’s Democratic Republic. He was given eight years and he served his sentence mainly in Jáchymov mines.

Photo: Juraj Anoškin

ANOŠKIN JURAJ

In the year 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. He was given four and his sister three 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.

Photo: Oto Batelka

BATELKA OTO

During the oppression period he used to help people to cross the border, for what he was sentenced and imprisoned. After being granted amnesty he was released from prison; however, subsequent period full of uncertainty culminated in retracting the amnesty. When the State Security tried to arrest him for the second time, he managed to escape but only for a short period of time.

Photo: Imrich Brezanský

BREZANSKÝ  IMRICH

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: Milan Brišš

BRIŠŠ  MILAN

In communists’ eyes he was of an inappropriate bourgeois origin, which has affected his life since his youth. He dreamt about a university education, but only years of hard work in a mine awaited him. His tenacious nature and persistence helped him overcome an adversity of the regime then and achieve his dream aims.

Photo: Imrich Danko

DANKO  IMRICH

Even after the communists had taken over the government, Imrich Danko led a very descent life. Everything changed right after his brother’s escape to Austria in 1952. The State Security accused him of participating in his brother’s escape across the border and sentenced him to eight years of imprisonment.

Photo: Rudolf Dobiáš

DOBIÁŠ RUDOLF

Rudolf Dobiáš is an extraordinary personality that took up a very special place in Slovak literature. As a fresh university student he was unfairly arrested and sentenced. After many years spent in prison and uranium mines he returned to the literary work from times of his youth. However, he never forgot fates of others who were wrongfully imprisoned and spent number of years in concentration camps, of those who he often knew himself – the class enemies.

Photo: Ján Goč

GOČ  JÁN

Because of the strong resistance to the communist regime Ján Goč as a political prisoner was sentenced to work in a mine. He wasn't supposed to come back from there as they found him "dangerous". Later on, he was sent to work in a botanical garden and became an expert in the field of botany. He finished his studies and became a teacher.

Photo: František Granec

GRANEC  FRANTIŠEK

An active member of the Bratislava group called White Legion (Biela légia) and a rescuer of many people, František Granec, was sentenced for helping people escape across the Iron Curtain to five years of imprisonment. Since he was still underage, he spent three years of his youth in various Czechoslovak correctional facilities.

Photo: Jozef Hanko

HANKO  JOZEF

On December 9, 1949 he was sentenced for high treason and espionage to 15 years of imprisonment. After temporary “stays” in Bratislava and Leopoldov, in 1950 he was transported to uranium mining camps: at first to Jáchymov for three years, then to Příbram where he spent seven years.

Photo: Viliam Kasperkevič

KASPERKEVIČ  VILIAM

He tried to cross the borders, see the world. However, in 1952 the State Court sentenced him to 11 years of imprisonment for consorting with an agent of the British Secret Service.

Photo: Gabriela Kleinová

KLEINOVÁ  GABRIELA

Gabriela is a sister of well-known colonel Alexander Korda and a wife of an architect Tibor Klein, who was in 1952 sentenced to 8-year imprisonment. Gabriela was arrested and she was sentenced to spend 4 years in prisons in Bratislava, Rimavská Sobota, Sučany, and in Želiezovce.

Photo: František Kľuska

KĽUSKA FRANTIŠEK

He grew up in tough living conditions, so since his childhood he learnt tenaciousness, stubbornness, and persistence. His harmonious family gave him a solid ground and support in the period of his persecution by the communist regime. Just due to them he was not willing to compromise his principles.

Photo: Helena Kordová

KORDOVÁ HELENA

Wife of the colonel Alexander Korda, who was sentenced by the State Security to life imprisonment. After full ten years of imprisonment and torture her husband died on September 13, 1958 in the prison hospital. Helena was sentenced to 14 years and 10 of them she spent in forced labour camps.

Photo: Milan Krajčovič

KRAJČOVIČ MILAN

Journey. This simple word could describe the entire life of Milan Krajčovič. He didn’t agree with the regime and its sharp practices thus he attempted to flee abroad. However, he has never managed to realise his dream about emigration. They caught, arrested and interrogated him at various places. Subsequently they sentenced him as well. He served his sentence in various prisons and labour camps. He was rehabilitated in 1990.

Photo: Ružena Kramárová

KRAMÁROVÁ  RUŽENA

Ružena Kramárová born Kordová was together with other relatives from the Korda family tried in the process “Alexander Korda”. When in 1951 her husband was arrested, she was asked to confirm her husband´s testimony, however, she neither came back home soon and three little children stayed alone. In years 1951 – 1952 she was unfairly imprisoned in Bratislava.

Photo: Zoltán Kukula

KUKULA ZOLTÁN

The private letter from his friend was a reason for his apprehension, investigation and, finally, it became a basis for a fabricated accusation of high treason, subverting of the Republic, and a membership in the White Legion resistant movement. Despite later being released from the prison due to lack of evidence, he together with his wife suffered a lot. For a long period of time she had no idea what had happened to her husband and why and where he had disappeared. Moreover, because of a reasonless apprehension and imprisonment his health was damaged. There is only one thing he wishes for: to never let the cruel and inhuman communist regime reign again in the future.

Photo: Ernest Kyrály

KYRÁLY  ERNEST

Even though he was persecuted because of his origin and had many conflicts with the communist regime, Ernest Kyrály had always believed in justice. Unfortunately, he neither achieved justice during the totalitarian era, nor afterwards.

Photo: Emil Lábus

LÁBUS EMIL

When he was only eighteen years old, the State Security arrested him for the distribution of leaflets encouraging people not to vote the Communist Party. After the trial he spent five years in Jáchymov labour camp.

Photo: Alojz Lenkavský

LENKAVSKÝ ALOJZ

Alojz Lenkavský was one of the founders of anti-communist movement called White Legion in Spišská Belá. He prepared the distribution of leaflets that were aimed to point at the crimes of communism. However, the State Security revealed the White Legion group and thwarted their intensions. He was arrested and forced to confess to many crimes he had never committed.

Photo: Karol Maník

MANÍK KAROL

Karol Maník started his cooperation with an American Counter Intelligence Centre (CIC) in the 1950s, soon after Communism was established. He had been helping them to gain information for a short period of two years and, as a result, he was sentenced to life imprisonment.As the political prisoner, he spent ten years in the prison and in forced labour camps. After being granted amnesty in 1960, he was released.

Photo: Františka Muziková

MUZIKOVÁ FRANTIŠKA

Františka Muziková, nurse by profession, was sentenced for professing her faith and for meeting her friends and had to spend one and a half year behind the bars of Czechoslovak jails. However, this bitter experience didn’t bring only affliction and sad memories into her life, but also many lifelong friendships with other political prisoners.

Photo: Jozef Nemlaha

NEMLAHA JOZEF

Jozef Nemlaha had the only dream – to have his own business. His dream came true; however, February 1948 changed everything. Unmerciful communist regime deprived him of his business and in 1952 sentenced him wrongfully for an alleged espionage to seventeen years of imprisonment, forfeiture of his property, loss of his civil rights for ten years and financial penalty of 20,000 Czechoslovak crowns.

Photo: Karol Noskovič

NOSKOVIČ KAROL

Based on the fabricated evidence, Karol Noskovič was accused of the high treason and the State Court in Bratislava sentenced him on April 22, 1952, to six years of imprisonment, ten-year loss of his civil rights and forfeiture of his whole property. He passed through many prisons such as Ilava, Jáchymov, Příbram and Leopoldov. He was a precious man who, regardless all the bitter experiences with the communist regime, never lost his sense of humour and faith in goodness.

Photo: Andrej Novák

NOVÁK ANDREJ

He was arrested, investigated and sentenced to life imprisonment for espionage and harbouring an agent of the Western intelligence agency, Viktor Palkovič. After being granted amnesty in 1963, he was released.

Photo: Gabriel Novák

NOVÁK GABRIEL

After being dismissed from school and from all secondary schools in the republic, he lost any chance to finish his education. In 1950 he accepted an offer to join the White Legion movement; however, one year later the state power bodies arrested him and subsequently sentenced him for anti-state activities to 22 years of imprisonment.

Photo: Milan Píka

PÍKA MILAN

His father’s arrest after the communist takeover in February 1948 set off the merry-go-round of affairs that have definitely changed the life of Milan Píka. Either his father’s execution or his own accusation of father’s escape preparations didn’t break him at all. A few hours before his father’s death, he promised him to clear his name. However, he managed to do that yet after the fall of the communism in 1989.

Photo: Michal Popovec

POPOVEC MICHAL

As early as a student of a grammar school he experienced cruel methods of the State Security. Suspicion of sabotage, inhuman torture and a fabricated trial were only the beginning of his misfortune full of pain, grief and terror, which led him to Leopoldov and, finally, to Jáchymov prison. In spite of his bitter experience he gratefully appreciates there always have been individuals who did not lose their humaneness and helped him to overcome all the obstacles he has had in his life.

Photo: Dobroslav Pustaj

PUSTAJ DOBROSLAV

Dobroslav Pustaj, the founder of the anti-communist movement called the Free Czechoslovakia. One of the political prisoners who were imprisoned for the longest period of time. Due to his fight for democracy in the country he spent more than sixteen years in various prisons and labour camps.

Photo: Adam Repka

REPKA  ADAM

Adam Repka was accused of high treason and, consequently, he was sentenced to five-year imprisonment and ten-thousand-crown penalty because of two anti-state leaflets warning against the activities of the Communist Party which tried to separate from the Catholic Church with the aim to establish its own church. He served his sentence in Leopoldov and in Jáchymov prisons. After being released, he, as an “ineligible” person for the Socialist regime, had to work in a collective farm until his retirement. In spite of his hard life, he and his wife brought up together seven children.

Photo: Richard Kolban

ROHÁČEK  VLADIMÍR

After the communist takeover, the family of Vladimír Roháček experienced one affliction after another. At first, his grandfather was imprisoned, father confined to psychiatry and then, he also ended up in prison, supposedly for an offence of subversion of the republic. He was a member of a group of young believers, who used to meet regularly. After being released from a remand centre, he was sent into a labour camp for “re-education”.

Foto: Elena Scmidtová

SCHMIDTOVÁ ELENA

Along with her friends she used to organize various Christian events and gatherings, for what she was imprisoned in 1952. They interrogated her, tried to force her to betray her fellows from the movement and sign fabricated testimonies.

Photo: Vladimír Štúr

ŠTÚR  VLADIMÍR

Twenty year old Vladimír was arrested in 1950 because of the attempt to leave the country. Subsequently he was condemned to 15 years of imprisonment. Twelve of those years he worked in forced labour camps Mariánska, Vojna, and Bytíz.

Photo: Emil Švec

ŠVEC  EMIL

He was arrested by the State Security and sentenced to six years of prison for high treason. After releasing from the custody, he couldn´t find any job so he fled to Austria in a crop-dusting airplane. In 1961 he was convicted in absentia for espionage and sentenced to 15 years imprisonment. Later on, he was attacked, wounded, and kidnapped from Austria to Czechoslovakia by the State Security forces.

Photo: Arpád Tarnóczy

TARNÓCZY ARPÁD

Though he was only thirteen, they arrested him for alleged anti-state activities. After being released, he started to work as an auxiliary worker and later he got employed in chemical plants. He had never given up and tried to always move forward. He got involved in the political life of Slovakia and in 1996 he proposed the bill about amorality and unlawfulness of the communist regime that was subsequently approved in the Parliament.

Photo: Augustín Valentovič

VALENTOVIČ AUGUSTÍN

His open attitudes and numerous contacts with opponents of the communist regime got him in disgrace of the former state authority. On September 21, 1949, he was due to his attitudes and activities arrested in Prague.

Photo: Margita Zimanová

ZIMANOVA MARGITA

Moving story of the family that paid dearly for helping their kin and as a result, they experienced cruel and uncompassionate practices of a totalitarian regime. A father was arrested and executed; a mother, a grandfather and an uncle were sentenced and imprisoned unrighteously. Three abandoned children were dragged from parents’ arms by the regime and later looked after by their poor ailing grandmother. Members of the family who only wanted to help their relative experienced a lot of pain, misery, torture, loneliness and sorrow in their lives.

Photo: Pavel Žigo

ŽIGO  PAVEL

After the totalitarian communist power came into force in Slovakia, he was investigated by the State Security and in 1947 he was unfairly sentenced to twelve-year imprisonment for a military treason. He went through many prisons and labour camps and he also underwent the forced labour in Jáchymov uranium mines.

Print