A journey there and back: siding Germans on the Eastern Front
Peter Bednárik was born in 1922 in a peasant family in Drahovce, Trnava district. In 1942 he joined the Slovak Army, where he was assigned to the 1st Artillery Regiment Topoľčany. After completing the military training in July 1943, he was sent to the Crimea, where the Slovak Army participated in combat operations on the Eastern Front. During the military service the role of Slovaks was mainly to secure German positions, or cover their retreat. Peter Bednárik on the Eastern Front took part in operations in Kakhovka by the Dnieper River, near Odessa and by the river Bug. As a result of the outbreak of the Slovak National Uprising (SNP), the Slovak soldiers were disarmed by Germans and redeployed to the trench works. They spent the fall and winter of 1944 in Romania and Hungary. In January 1945, along with several soldiers Peter fled to Bratislava, where he got to the detention centre in Mlynské Nivy. Although the soldiers weren´t allowed to leave, thanks to a friend´s help Peter managed to obtain a holiday pass, and he assumed the risk to extend it. The following months until the liberation, he spent travelling between home, detention centre and carrying out occasional military support tasks. The liberation found him in Záhorie region; he witnessed the arrival of soviet soldiers (along with atrocities they committed) in Unín, Šaštín and Brezová pod Bradlom. Even after the end of war he went through service in several military bases (Martin, Piešťany, Žilina, Košice). After leaving to civilian life, he got married and began working at the railway company in Nové Zámky. Besides his work he managed to graduate from High School of Economics in Bratislava, what helped him to earn position of a chief accountant at the railway station Nové Zámky, where he worked for 42 years.