Viera Berkešová

* 1946  

  • “Before they flew back to the States, he came to visit my parents. At that time they had already moved from Častá do Žarnovica. My mother was pregnant, she was expecting me. So he knew they were expecting a child and that´s probably when they agreed he would become my godfather. My father even mentioned that Charles offered him, because the situation after the war was so grim, to take children and leave to the US. He said he would buy him a piece of land there to live on. But my parents were so attached to their family in Kopanice region, that they didn’t accept his offer.”

  • “Standing on their yard they (parents) saw the burning plane falling down. On the next day two American soldiers came, said that they jumped down and survived. My parents gave them food and father instructed them to follow him. Few meters away from the house they questioned my father; they were scared, because he owned a rifle as a gamekeeper.”

  • “It was out in the forest, they dag the bunker and kept hiding there. Look, this is a picture from 1972 in this forest (on the picture there are Charles B. Edison and Michal Mihálik by remains of the bunker). They stood at this place, next to the bunker back then. Every evening (during the war) they backed off to the house. They ate, had a wash and then returned to the bunker for the day again.”

  • “When it was already real danger that Germans found out about these things, they started to burn down gamekeepers´ lodges. So there wasn’t other way but to move away from there. They went through the Carpathians to the other side in the direction of Pernek, Kuchyňa, where the airport was, but Germans captured them. It happened because some boy, a shepherd, betrayed them for money. That’s how the Germans found out about everything.”

  • Full recordings
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    Hriňová, 20.02.2015

    (audio)
    duration: 30:13
    media recorded in project Stories of the 20th century
Full recordings are available only for logged users.

Dad and mom had always tears in their eyes when they recalled the past, because it was truly a fight for survival

Viera Berkešová
Viera Berkešová

Viera Berkešová was born to Michal and Anna Mihalik on October 20, 1946 in Žarnovica. Her parents sheltered American pilots in their gamekeeper´s lodge from September till November 1944. After the war ended, one of the pilots came to thank them and became a godfather of their daughter Viera. Under the threat of investigation and following persecutions by the ruling communist regime, was Mihálik family in 1950s forced to end the correspondence with Charles Edison. Since the end of the war, they met for the first time in 1972, when the former pilot visited Czechoslovakia.  Even though he died shortly afterwards, after the 1989 both families resumed their mutual contact. Michal and Anna Mihálik lived to a great age and both died in 2000. Viera Berkešová retired in 1999 and recently lives in Hriňová. She proudly keeps memory of her parents alive and archives all documents and the story about how they helped two American pilots during the Second World War.