Pál Csáky

* 1956

  • “I recall the atmosphere, mainly in that very first moment especially professional soldiers and officers were really nervous. One could not notice it so much in soldiers, but then the tanks were called up. Those were trained from the commander´s building up to reserve base with the exception of one tank that was under planned repair and didn´t have an engine. The boys were on the tanks and that´s when they started to wonder. I remember it was morning and we started to speculate what´s going on, why did we have to go out, to practice, but we still didn´t realize what was happening. So we waited about until two o´clock in the afternoon, when trucks arrived, they backed up to the tanks and began to load them with live ammunition. That´s when the atmosphere changed. The boys had just had their lunch and that´s when they began to realize something was going on when being armed with ball cartridges.”

  • “When they returned, I was finishing my duty, I guess it was around six, so I went to the company and yet then the boys were lodging in and the first lieutenant from the staff, the chemist, just came there. He was quite drunk and he said to me and my colleague to go to his office. So we went, he served us some drink and said we needed to celebrate as everything had luckily ended up well. He began to explain us that our units of the Warsaw pact moved towards the Polish borders and this way our western Czechoslovak borders remained uncovered. To this initiative the American and German units moved directly on the line. Suddenly, someone realized the protection was not effective there, and so they transferred them back.”

  • “The greatest shock as well as experience for me was to see the change of those guys, rank soldiers on that first morning. They were always ready to joke, behaving as soldiers only when they had to do so, but otherwise taking it all casually; even those serving their second year, settled down very well, yet, they as well showed change in their behavior during the line up and loading the tanks with live ammunition. Suddenly they realized the going gets tough and then within fifteen minutes those young witty boys became mature men. They simply began to behave completely differently. Each of them had a feeling, and one could notice it, that they were frightened and that no one knew how was it going to end up. And that could really have ended up very badly. So this was such a weird experience.”

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    Bratislava, 05.11.2015

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Then they backed up with trucks to the tanks and began to load them with live ammunition. That´s when the atmosphere changed

Pál Csáky in year 1980
Pál Csáky in year 1980
photo: Pál Csáky

Ing. Pál Csáky was born on March 21, 1956 in Šahy. He studied at the Faculty of Chemical Technology of the University of Pardubice. Here he also successfully finished his studies in June 1980. In September of the same year he entered the compulsory military service in chemical battalion in Liberec. After several weeks, he was redeployed to the First Czechoslovak Tank Regiment in Strašice, where he served as a commander of the chemical exploration platoon. In December 1980 he became a witness of the alert followed by departing of soldiers armed with combat technology from their garrison within the action called Krkonoše. The soldiers left, but he, according to an order, stayed with other approximately forty soldiers to guard the barracks. However, after few days, without any notice, the tanks returned and Pál Csáky came to know that they were near the Polish borders, waiting in action stations to receive a command of border-crossing. After all, this hadn´t happened.