Anton Laššák

* 1919  

  • “Five times I was proposed to get a promotion, however, each time I got in fight with somebody. When someone smacked me, I returned it, no matter if it was a staff sergeant or a sarge. The way you get, you pay back. It was the reason why they canceled my rank promotion for three times. The last time it was in Kremnica and I said: ʻListen, colonel, what do I need the rank for now? I am leaving to civilian life. Please, let me have a two-day leave just to go home for a while. My family misses me a lot.ʼ As I was a provider of my family back then. Well, he let me go and so I went, but he told me: ʻYou do not appreciate the rank, thus I shall call it off in your case.ʼ And I replied: ʻWhy would I need the rank now, when I am returning to civilian life? I am here just for a training.ʼ And he even wanted to arrest me for not appreciating the rank!”

  • “I was at an offset observation point. They were distant just as to that house, the enemies. Under such a slope. And we were on such a cliff top. But I never aimed at a man who didn´t aim at me. Never. I was shooting at the enemy only when my life was in danger. However, there were some who did it on spite. ʻI relish that one!ʼ As he was near, he said he would relish him. But I couldn´t do that.”

  • “The Uprising came and I joined up. The unit near Mikuláš was crashed and everybody dispersed. I went over the hills near Ružomberok. From there they transferred us to Žarce. There were gathered all who hadn´t run away and I was a deputy for the unit´s commander to thirty-two men, who stayed. We had three machine guns and others had only rifles and grenades. However, later the Germans attacked and surrounded us, and the men ran away. The soldiers stayed in those hills. The commander, who entrusted me those soldiers said: ʻWell, what shall we do now?ʼ He took the soldier's pay he was supposed to give us and he left. We happened to be penniless. The soldiers had never been at the front before, so they didn´t know how to act and they were afraid. As they ran, they threw their guns away, but I kept mine, the rifle, gun and grenades, and I hurried to catch up with them. Then I led them from Žarce to Mokraď, where we crossed the Orava River. They were afraid. They experienced the war only during that Uprising. So I went fifty meters ahead of them and told them to watch out when I would be under fire. I had weapons to defend myself as I kept my gun and grenades. After all, we fortunately returned.”

  • “When I came from Caucasia with the injured mate, there were horses lying around the road. And those Russian captives were cutting the meat, even though bugs were feeding on it already; some ate it raw as well. Then I took my bread and shared a half of it with one of them.”

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    Zákamenné, 04.04.2015

    duration: 01:48:39
    media recorded in project Stories of the 20th century
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Life is a dog that doesn´t bark, but bite

Anton Laššák as a soldier
Anton Laššák as a soldier
photo: Anton Laššák

Anton Laššák was born on May 2, 1919 in Orava village of Zákamenné in former Czechoslovakia. Yet as a young boy he was distinguished by his intellect, what was the reason why his parents sent him to study. However, after the first holiday he never returned to school anymore because of his father´s accident and changed family situation. He was apprenticed to tailor, but despite of the gained apprenticeship certificate, there was lack of job opportunities for him, and thus he left to work in Germany. He came back to Slovakia after Poland was attacked by Germany in 1939. He shortly worked as a tailor, until he received a call up to join the 2nd Artillery Regiment in Ružomberok. When Germany attacked the Soviet Union in summer of 1941, he was sent to the eastern front. During the two-year service at the front he worked as a mediator and a nurse. Due to illnesses including malaria and hepatitis he was sent back to Slovakia for a recovery leave and he never returned to the eastern front. He actively joined the combat during the Slovak National Uprising, when he substituted for the unit´s commander. In the last months of the war he was gradually dispatched to different places of Slovakia, where he took care of protecting the citizens from plundering soldiers. He got married in 1947 and together with his wife Marta they raised ten children. As time moved on Anton got back to his profession, he started up a business and became a renowned tailor. After he refused to join the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, he was deprived of his business and in order to maintain the family he had to travel to work to various distant parts of the republic. He settled in Zákamenné yet after being employed in clothing factory Makyta in Námestovo, where he worked for long twenty-one years. He retired to pension when being sixty-one years old, although, during the following ten years he helped out at different temporary jobs. Currently (2015) Anton lives with his family in the village of Zákamenné, where he always used to be an active citizen. Moreover, in his age of ninety-six he has been its eldest inhabitant.