Vojtěch Gregor

* 1918  

  • (Q: "And how long were you in the concentration camp for?") "Not long. Something of an irony of fate I guess, I was there not even three months. Well, the situation was that I got a draft notice home, to serve, and at home they said: 'He's not here, he's in Ilava [in prison], send it there.' Shortly before that time there was an interesting situation, I was quite simply imprisoned, and ninety-nine percent of people were amnestied on the occasion of the election of president Tiso. I was shut up because I had a reel. So I had a hard bed and a forced fast."

  • "Simply, Jews are not allowed to be members of the army, they mustn't defend the army's honour. So those those who were in reserve, or the active officers, color sergeants and privates, they were simply demoted and transferred to labor squads. The number of labor squads like the one I was in, was about... I couldn't even say how many exactly. Then the same year my friends were drafted to Svatý Júra. By coincidence, me and my company ended up elsewhere, we were sent to the Carpathians, that we should bury and exhume in fact, from the war, from World War I, which took place there. And again that irony of fate - we were recalled and an Italian firm was supposed to supervise us, we were digging and building a bridge at Humenné, well, we were stretched out all over the place, in Svatý Júra, by Bratislava. There were swamps there, so draining and drying, then a quarry, and diverse hard work we did, free time didn't exist. Of course they couldn't fence us off, and many of us managed to desert, especially during the deportation to the death camps, which we didn't even have a clue about, because a number of friends were given a notice, a summons, and they would volunteer: I'm strong, I can work anywhere, so I'll earn myself a living. Well, that they were gassed is another matter."

  • "So we were basically getting ready for the real resistance, I found my way to a partisan group, it wasn't even named at the time. Voljanský was the leader, a Russian paratrooper, well, and we took an active part in the fighting, in the region between Liptov and Pohroní. That's where I was mostly, and that's where I was injured and taken away from by the last plane that carried weapons as well, taken to the Soviet Union. Well, I was unconscious, I don't know." (Q: "How did they hit you?") "A mine exploded, stones and all falling on my head and spine, they took me to Lviv, but I was there only a while, because they main direction of attack on the Russian front at the time was Warsaw, and they evacuated all the hospitals there, so that there would be plenty of space for all the dead and wounded expected during such a massive attack, and so I was transported all the way to Caucasus." (Q: "Where in Caucasus?") "Sochi."

  • "So they frisked me, found the pamphlets, and off I went to prison, a small one, and I was put on trial. Irony of fate was they didn't have new laws yet, so I only received a small sentence according to Czechoslovak law. They passed me on from Mikuláš to the regional court, I was there some time, then they released and I went home, some twenty-five kilometres. I come home and gendarmes are there waiting for me: 'We're arresting you in the name of the law.' I said: 'I was released, actually my sentence has ended, so what should I, since that time I was on my way home from Ružomberok, that took a few hours until the formalities were... and there was no train leaving, so there' no reason.' - 'By order of the ministry of interior!' And I was interned in the concentration camp, that was one of the building of the large prison in Ilava."

  • "Home secretary Tuka demanded our deportation. They were supposed to deport us with the first transport. And Čatloš [defence minister] said: 'I need those Jews, they'll go by the last transport.' At that time our service time was increased, we served not twenty-four months, but twenty-seven or twenty-eight. And afterwards they even chose some people special, because there were all sorts of professions amongst us. For instance I was also drafted later on, I received a delay as a university student, theoretically I should have been drafted two years earlier. And when our service time ended, they passed us on into the camps. Jewish camps, labour ones which acted as concentration camps during the deportation, people were taken away to Poland, to Auschwitz and so on."

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    Bratislava, 20.05.2003

    (audio)
    duration: 01:10:55
    media recorded in project Memory of the Nation: stories from Praha 2
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You cannot convey the experience of war, unfortunately.

gregor_vojtech1.jpg (historic)
Vojtěch Gregor
photo: archiv pamětníka

  Vojtěch Gregor was born in 1918. He grew up and attended school in Liptovský Mikuláš in Slovakia. He is of Jewish descent. During his youth he sympathised with the Freethought movement. He studied chemistry in Prague, and after the occupation he returned to Slovakia where he took an active part in the resistance. He was arrested in 1940. After his release, he was drafted into military service without arms, serving with the Special Labour Corps (working in quarries etc.). The corps itself was penned for destruction in death camps. Even during the strenuous military service, he continued his resistance activities, keeping up contacts between political prisoners and their families. He carried on with this even after being released from duty in 1943 and sent to another camp. Before the Slovak National Revolt, he escaped the camp and joined the partisans. He took an active part in combat in the area between Liptov and Pohroní, was injured, and was flown by air to Lviv and Sochi. After the war he completed his chemistry studies at university. He was a member of the scientific team of professor Wichterle and worked at the Nuclear Research Institute Řež.Vojtěch Gregor was born in 1918. He grew up and attended school in Liptovský Mikuláš in Slovakia. He is of Jewish descent, during his youth he sympathised with the Freethought movement. He studied chemistry in Prague, after the occupation he returned to Slovakia and took an active part in the resistance. He was arrested in 1940, after his release he was drafted into military service without arms, serving with the Special Labour Corps (working in quarries etc.). The corps itself was penned for destruction in death camps. Even during the strenuous military service, he continued his resistance activities - keeping up contacts between political prisoners and their families. He carried on with this even after being released from duty in 1943 and sent to another camp. Before the Slovak National Revolt, he escaped the camp and joined the partisans. He took an active part in combat in the area between Liptov and Pohroní, he was injured and flown by air to Lviv and Sochi. After the war he completed his chemistry studies at university. He was a member of the scientific team of professor Wichterle and worked at the Nuclear Research Institute Řež.