Ján Benčík

* 1948

  • “At that time, one took it from the perspective that there were two or three million Communists in Czechoslovakia, plus family members. This affected almost every family. Neither my family, nor my wife’s family had a member who was in the party. But x people even in VPN, had such relatives in the party. But surely there was something harder about the 'verchushka', the Communist leaders. And the same applies to the StB, because I know that some then went smoothly to the federal security service and finally to the SIS and the police. We see, now Kriak proved to be a former StB.

  • “It started on Monday as part of the general strike. It was November 27, I had a day off, so I was striking in my free time. I put the Declaration of human rights and the constitution in my satchel and I went to the city centre, hoping something is going on in Ruzomberok.And in front of hotel Kultura stood a group of people, holding a transparent and Czechoslovak flag. I asked if I could join them, they agreed. Before noon, we went to the square in front of the municipal office. It was full there, 7000 or 8000 people. There were many entrance routes to that square, and in a very short time, many people were coming. From one side, workers from huge cotton plants, from the other, workers from northernslovak paper factory, which was also a huge enterprise. Also workers from other factories joined us, so there were 7000-8000 people. And this mass of people stood facing the municipal office. And they were looking at us from behind the curtains, and we found out there were emissaries from the local party committee Liptovsky Mikulas, who came to appeal to the local representatives, that nothing happens in Ruzomberok. And when they’ve seen what’s going on, they run through the back door."

  • “That was so, given the working conditions in our company, the party members didn't really rush there. In the factory, there were groups of some thirty people, and in the one where I was working, there was only one member of the party, and that was Michánik in the mobile workshop. He was a pretty normal guy who really didn't have any advantages from that. Once a year he got some sausages and mineral water at a meeting in Bratislava. Otherwise, even before him we cursed the Communists. So there really was no political training. Even on the first of May, we never attended the parade. If the 1st of May fell in the middle of the week, we even worked. The site manager always told us, 'But go somewhere out of the way so people don't see you working.' We were safe from politics there, because of that I stayed there for so long.

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    Bratislava, 09.05.2019

    duration: 01:31:06
    media recorded in project Stories of the 20th century
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I believed the slogan “socialism with human face” maybe due to naivety, maybe because I’ve grown up in the regime

Jan Bencik was born on July 29, 1948 in Bratislava. He spent early childhood in village Mostova next to Galanta. Family later moved to Velky Lon and Filakovo. He attended highschool in Modry Kamen and graduated in 1966. Then, he studied biology and geography in Bratislava. The invasion of The Warsaw Pact Army found him in his home village Filakovo. After that, he briefly continued with his studies, but in the next year he withdrew from the studies. He enrolled in the compulsory military service in Trebon. He worked in Montazny podnik spojov in Bratislava. In 1975, he married and moved with his young family to Ruzomberok. During november 1989 he started to become active politically active. On November 27, 1989 he co founded VPN in Rozumberok. At the beginning of 1990 he edited a local magazine Ruzombersky hlas. Currently, he lives in Ruzomberok.