Marie Kormanová

* 1937  

  • "They brought us there aiming their machines guns at us. I remember it as it happens today. These low houses stocked up with the plank beds. The house was totally full of us we couldn’t even move. The men stayed on one side of the house and the women with children stayed on the other side. So we were not able to see our dad."

  • "The Jews were poor souls. They have been harassed much more than we have. One day they have put them all on the truck covered them with a sheet and took them away. Where they took them and what have they done to them I don’t know."

  • "You know, there used to be pretty girls some time ago. Like my sister in law, for an example. She was beautiful. She was five months pregnant when they caught her and raped her. She stayed there...It was awful. When the Germans saw some nice girl, they grabbed her took her downstairs to the shelter and raped her there. Pretty girls used to cover their faces with the soot, so the Germans wouldn´t rape them."

  • "Our dad said that we better don’t go yet anywhere, because no one knows what can happen. Our mom and we, the kids, have had enough of sleeping under the trees so we returned back home in the afternoon. The next morning at 3am the shooting started. If you wanted to go to our house you have to cross the river. Now you could see the tanks and trucks in the water. They have surrounded us and then put us all on the trucks and transported us to Humenne town. There we have waited for our train for three days near the train station. The third day the train came; they took us on it and transported us to Dubnice village."

  • "My mom got a scrap of bread for the eight of us... How much could she give us out of it? She couldn’t make eight even slices for all of us. I remember there used to be a stove in the house we lived. When we saw through the small window someone throwing away the potato peelings, I ran outside and picked them all up into an apron my mom gave to me. We put them on that stove baked them and then ate them all. One day our mom said: ´I have nothing to give you to eat. Take this scarf and go downstairs.´ on the bottom floor were windows and if we were lucky and some nice Germans were there they would let my sister to go outside to cadge some food. My sister brought tons of food, but she came back after all of the Germans took their turns on her. This time the naughty Germans were downstairs. How they beat her! That was really terrible. She was only eleven back then. She went outside along with her aunt. The Germans took aunt to the nearby morgue and beat her so bad you could hear her screaming all around."

  • "Unlike the Germans, this man was beating us. I don’t know if he got paid for that or not. I remember once when I went out to beg some food, he smashed me with the night stick so hard I fell down. When my brothers went to look for him with the policemen we found out he died already. We only knew he lives in Litoměřice town. So my brothers went there but found only his son. So they have beaten him. They beat him badly saying: ´This is for your dad.´"

  • "My mom used to be a maid in a parson´s house who lived near to our house. Parsons were nobility once. I had an older sister and a brother so they could look after us when our mom was at work. Our dad was a gypsy foreman. There were many of us so someone had to be in charge of us."

  • „It was cruel. What were they doing to our women! They would undress them, beat them and pour cold water over them. I can’t even tell you everything they used to do with them. It was awful. And the commander of this was a Gypsy who has been directed to do so from Germans and so he was beating us all. The Germans used him as a warder. I remember his name was Farbar."

  • "When we returned back home the white people didn’t want to let us back in. We have been suffering from typhus so they were afraid they might get sick too. My dad made an agreement with the mayor that we would go to Takcin village to some kind of steam house for some time and then we can return back home. I remember we were all sitting together and they blew the steam on us. And when we returned home everything there was broken."

  • "Sometimes we were afraid even to go out to the store. One day I took my kids out to the park. We went to the tram station. The tram was full of Skinheads...awful. One of them wanted to hit me with the baseball bat. Fortunately there was also one man from our house who stopped him and told him: ´This is my neighbor and you are not to hit her! ´ Then the police came and the skinheads ran away."

  • "During the period of time when our mom worked at the vicarage some woman suggested to her that we better hide. So the first month we spent hiding in the woods. Our mom used to go out begging for food. She had this back pack where people put some things for us. When people saw us barefoot, they felt sorry for us and gave us food. Our dad built a shelter out of wood where we could spend the nights. On our way to some wood my mom had a baby. She went into the labor. My dad used his pocket knife to cut off the umbilical cord. Our mom didn´t have any diapers or anything so she pulled off her skirt, she wrapped the baby boy in it and we have carried on."

  • "We have been sick with typhus. They told us they would take us to the hospital. They took our dad, our brothers and some other people and took them really to the hospital. Then they came back for another group of people. They took them out of the camp, shot them and put their bodies in a ditch near the road. Among these people were also my father´s in law dad, his sister and his brother in law."

  • "The mines were dropping from the plane. We were afraid they might kill us so we remained hidden. The Russians came. They rode horses throwing candies to us. They opened all camps so we could go back home. For us it was a long way home. Our dad always built some shelter for us to spend the night. There was a bunch of us-Gypsy’s there! My dad was a commander. He was afraid that some of us may get lost so he kept us all close together."

  • "It was an arranged wedding. A long time ago the parents used to arrange the weddings for their kids. When I was eighteen, my dad made an agreement with other man that his son will marry me. I wanted to marry someone else, but my brother didn’t like him, because he already had two children. But if the parents said: ´You will marry him´ we had to do it. They arrange the engagement party. They brought the alcohol bottles, got drunk, the music played. Although I didn’t want to, they took me to his place. But we loved each other after all. We got married after our children were born. But it wasn’t a big wedding. It was very poor one in fact. Garlic salami and bread on the table and that was it. But it was enough for us..."

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    Praha, 28.03.2007

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My mom got a scrap of bread for the eight of u

Mrs. Marie Kormanova was born in 1937 in a Gypsy village called Dlhe over the Cirocha River in the Eastern Slovakia. Her dad as well as her grandpa ran a forge and were both known as very reputable citizens among both, the Romany people and the white people. Her father was also so called chairman of the village. Thank to their contacts among the white people the family was informed about potential upcoming danger and managed to find a hiding place on time in the woods. But when they returned back to their colony they got captured by Germans and the whole family was transported to Dubnice over the Vah River where were the Romany people gathering camp. Here they stayed and lived rough for six months. On April 8th 1945 the camp has been liberalized by the Soviet army. After the end of the war the Korman family moved to Prague where they live up to these days.