“It was very sudden that my brother managed to jump under the plank, inside the pit and the woven rugs were put onto it. The officers weren't always inside, they also went out to give commands, and then they came in and slept over. They weren't the regular soldiers there, but the commanders. They weren't bad or mean; they were nice to us. And these Germans were very neat, not messy at all. They lived on chocolate as they didn't have any other food, but the chocolate, so they ate it. I ate a lot of it, because they shared with us. We were in the cellar for a week or two during the war. Then the Germans left and Hungarians came. They were allies. And they told us the Russians were sending us Easter eggs, since the Easter was approaching.”
“He was drafted as a soldier in Ružomberok. Then the Germans came exactly at that time and took them. So he was captured by Germans, taken to Stuttgart, where they tried to convince him to join the Territorial Army. I don't know how he managed to escape. But when he came home, he was lousy, skinny, looking dreadful; my mom couldn't recognize him. She just screamed his name: 'Jožko!' And then she hid him during the whole war. We had such a potato pit, where he was hiding so that the Germans didn't find him, when they came over. Above the pit there was a bed, there were also potatoes, so that the Germans didn't notice anything.”
“The Germans came into each house and took every man they found. They lined them in front of the school and wanted to shoot one by one. Then they said they were going to kill every other one, then every third one, and at last they changed their minds and took them to Úľanka. There were houses of workmen, on the left side, behind the water, on the way to Harmanec. The workers lived there and the Germans drove them in. They were there guarded for about a week. People from Špania Dolina were bringing them food, even our parents took them food as Germans didn't give them anything to eat. Then they took them to the court in Bystrica, what used to be called back then as sedria. There they were imprisoned for another month or more. Afterwards my brother in law, one guy from Detva, and Jano Tokár from Špania were found, but my brother never returned back. No one knows whether they threw him to Nemecká or where, but there were never any news about my brother.”
To take care of own family and children was the most inevitable thing to do
Blažena Knoppová was born on October 20, 1931 in Špania Dolina in a family of lumberjack Jozef Ries and his wife Anna. She was the youngest of four siblings. Her life was in a great way influenced by the Second World War since the whole family was involved in its course. After the outbreak of the Slovak National Uprising (SNP), the contact with war and battles intensified. Blažena as a young girl noticed how her older brother Jozef was during the war being hidden by parents at home, as he managed to desert from the army, from German capture. Jozef was hiding in potato pit in a room, where during certain times German officers lived as well. When the war ended, however, Jozef died after an attack of Bandera’s soldiers. Blažena’s brother in law was another victim of the SNP battles. Her future husband went through the eastern front and managed to run away from there, but her other brother in law died during the German attack, which was a response to partisan raid in Špania Dolina. After the war, Blažena lived in Sudetes, where her uncle as a soldier gained a homestead after the expelled German people. In 1948 she came back to Špania Dolina and spent here further forty years of her life. The last three decades she lives as a widow in Banská Bystrica.