Urban Albert

* 1929

  • “He came back one morning. It was early dawn, and we had this one little dog, and he was awfully persistent. The dog barked and barked, so I went outside, it was still dark, and I said: ‘There’s someone coming our way.’ We went to have a look, and it was Ignác! In a Russian coat. The moment he came, we quickly took it off him. It was full of lice. Mum dressed him up straight away. Many of them came back like that. As far as I remember, after the second world war, there were five or six people who didn’t return just from our vicinity. Our neighbour didn’t come back, then my dad’s sister’s son, and another neighbour, and the two Morong brothers. Of those who were drafted before my brother, almost none returned.”

  • “After the war, when the Germans went away, all this was left empty. There were Bulgarians here, Romanians. There were lots of different people in the border regions here. The Czechoslovak government found out that there is an awful lot of Slovaks all over the world. So they went around the world saying, if you want to, you can come to Czechoslovakia. They even dropped leaflets by plane. What all they’ll give us, how they tricked us. People set off there. First, they came for work, then they went back and took their families. The first people with their families went in ’46. They received a farm, some fields and cattle, but that was all confiscated again anyway. They came the next year saying, if you want to come, you can register and you won’t travel by your own means, but by a transport.”

  • “There was a hill overlooking us, and the boys and girls would always meet up there after lunch. They’d talk and talk, and someone would suggest they’d throw a party. They sent someone for a musician, and there was music and drinking. That’s how people enjoyed themselves there. Say, they’d send some younger boy to go to so and so and bring a girl. To ask her parents for permission, that her betrothed had requested it. People knew each other there, so they’d let her go.”

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    Staré Město, 05.05.2015

    duration: 01:47:18
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
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From Romania to the borders of Moravia

Urban Albert
Urban Albert
photo: archiv pamětníka

Urban Albert was born on 11 May 1929 in Gemelčička (Romanian: Făgetu) in Sălaj County in north-west Romania. He belonged to the local community of Slovaks, who numbered approx. 40,000 inhabitants in the area at the time. During the war his brother was drafted into the Hungarian army and ended up in a Soviet POW camp several months later. Urban Albert was also drafted, at fourteen years of age, into the Hungarian pre-military organisation Levente, which was to prepare boys for the Hungarian army. Fortunately, the war ended before he was sent to the front. After the war the whole extensive family re-emigrated to Czechoslovakia and settled in the border regions in the village of Hynčice pod Sušinou, later moving to the neighbouring Chrastice. Urban Albert worked at the local state farm until his retirement. He now lives in Staré Město and is one of the oldest Slovak re-emigrants from Romania.