Igor Bielik

* 1944  

  • "There was a boy sitting next to me in Slovenská, we were always friends with everyone, I was fine with everyone, and it was a hall where we had chemistry lessons. During the lecture of the chemistry teacher, this boy suddenly says to me, 'You Jewish dog.' He spoke quietly. I didn't pay attention to it. A little louder, "You Jewish dog." I didn't respond either. Then he started shouting so that the whole class hears him. The class was over, people went to the yard during breaks. You can't imagine how my classmates cut him down. They beat him in blood. I couldn't get better satisfaction. They beat him to blood. He did not return to the school that day, he immediately went home. Nothing happened after that, it was very quiet. After all, his parents certainly couldn't complain, because it was quite unpleasant at the time. But that's how my friends in the class behaved. So I say, this was my only experience, I don't want to say anti-Jewish, but anti-Semitic. But when we flew from Vienna to Australia, we'll get to that later, we were in Australia for almost a year, all of a sudden I go on a plane, I walk across the aisle and on my left I see whom? This classmate shouted at me, you Jewish dog. I stopped by him. I have never been hostile or vindictive in my life. But then it came out of me. He was sitting there with his wife and little kid, and I stopped, and in front of everyone, his name was Ivan, I said to him, 'Ivan, and aren't you ashamed to run away from Czechoslovakia to Australia with a Jewish dog?' In front of everyone. And there were many Jews on this plane who were also leaving Czechoslovakia for Australia. So this may have been the only time in my life, I have been vocal about such things but it fell out of me then. I wasn't worried about it in Czechoslovakia, but then it came to me. So that was good satisfaction. The boy did not know what he was doing, he hid under the seat. But it belonged to him, so we'll say. "

  • "The second time we met, it was in the 71st, at the end of the 71st. The Israeli national team went to Japan to play and a week before we left we were training in Romania. And she came to Romania for the second time and stayed with us all week during the training camp. Among other things, the entire team was invited to the Israeli embassy. The Israeli ambassador was a very good friend of my uncle from Nahariya. He knew what this was about. He took us to the balcony, where there were no wiretapping devices, so that he wouldn't be discredited by chance, and there he said, "You have no hope." But at the farewell, when we said goodbye, I think we both already felt something was coming to an end. That was in the 71st year. We corresponded, in the meantime, I was at the compulsory military service for half a year, everything continued, letters, letters, but nothing happened. She couldn't write to me directly about what was going on with her. "

  • "My parents, as I said, went to this cottage in Inovec. But they didn't find anyone there, so they had to go back. In the village of Žitná, which is near Kôrovec, they had old acquaintances. They stayed with them. It was not easy, at first it was the Jamrišek family, they had been with this family for about two months. They had to leave, because Mr Jamriška was a partisan and the Germans and the Slovak guards began looking for him. I'm sorry, the first family was called Hrebíčková, whom my parents had to leave. They went to another family, which Mrs Hrebíčková suggested and helped them to find, the Jamrišek's family. My father also had to leave and joined the partisans who were in the mountains above Žitná, above Uhrovec. He was with the partisans until the end of the war, and my mother stayed with me and little Ivan, who was six years older than me, with this Jamrišek family. It was not easy: Jamrišek had six children, to add the two of us and his mother. It was a family that lived in a two-room cottage. But these were the people in Slovakia, I want to say that they were good people in Slovakia, they were not just fascists and members of the national guards. People who helped and actually risked their lives and their children. "

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    Cez Zoom, pamatnik sa nachadzal v Izraeli, 30.11.2020

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What an inhuman regime it was and what it was able to do to the people, I only understood in exile

Period photograph, 1962
Period photograph, 1962
photo: Archív pamätníka

Igor Bielik was born on June 19, 1944 as the first son of a Jewish family in Trenčín. After the suppression of the SNP, the family hid for two months with acquaintances in Žitná. Igor’s father joined the partisans and his mother and Igor were hiding at the Jamrišek family, where they stayed until the liberation. They lived in Trenčín until 1956, when they moved to Bratislava. From the age of 14,Igor played handball and in 1966 he became the Czechoslovak national team member. Fearing a repeat of the bloody suppression of the revolution in Hungary in 1956, the mother immediately decided to emigrate with her family after the invasion of the “friendly” Warsaw Pact troops into Czechoslovakia on August 21, 1968. Igor has had a serious acquaintance and great love for two years now - Slava Kopalová, who joined them without hesitation. In Vienna, they decided to go to Australia, where they had a rich relative. Here Igor and Sláva got married. However, her parents could not accept her emigration. In Australia, Igor missed handball, so he accepted an offer from an Israeli club, and in May 1969 they left for Israel, where they also had relatives. Slava took a six-month Hebrew course and felt at home there, but her parents continued to write her sad letters. Therefore, she decided to visit them at Christmas 1969, despite Igor’s family’s warning. However, the situation has worsened again in the meantime and the Czechoslovak authorities have not allowed Sláva to return to her husband. They met twice in Romania in 1970 and 1971, when they hoped that Slava would be able to go to the West illegally, but they were unlucky. Even during the following years, Slava could not get out of Czechoslovakia. Over time, the couple divorced and started families. Igor became the coach of the national team in Israel, the most successful in the country to date. They met with Slava again in 1990 and have been friends ever since. He has the most beautiful memories of Slovakia and still visits it regularly.