Ján Sabaka

* 1930

  • “I tell you the truth, we had nothing to eat. We found killed horses that belonged to shot Russians. People were cutting the meat of them, and so did I. I brought it to the cellar, where we were in hiding along with other three families. Aunt Lepčíková cooked the goulash for us. Even though it might have been a bit sweeter, it made our stomachs feel much better. However, we could have cooked only at night, so that the smoke was not seen. It wasn´t possible during the day. We slept, but grandma cooked and then in the morning, even the goulash wasn´t that nice and warm anymore, we ate it. But I can affirm you it was quite a hunger I had to go through.”

  • “When the situation calmed down a bit, I went to see whether I wouldn´t find at least some potatoes since we ate all of ours already, or were rotten and black, simply uneatable. I ate one at Christmas, the biggest one, imagining I was eating an apple. I crunched it as it was, even unpeeled. I ate that potato on my Birthday, on December 24.”

  • “Well, so we were under fire. Those were like minefields for us. Just try to go there. Stick your head out... I saw it straight when one of ours, who were evacuated from the east, got shot right into his intestines, got scattered, poor guy. When I saw that, I threw up even though I ate nothing. That´s what the life was like back then. I felt like walking in the garden and stepping on fallen apples over there.”

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    Turčianske Teplice, 04.09.2015

    duration: 01:02:43
    media recorded in project Stories of the 20th century
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I ate that potato on my Birthday, on December 24th

IMG_5666u.JPG (historic)
Ján Sabaka
photo: vlastný archiv

Ján Sabaka was born on December 24, 1930 in Východná. His father was a shoemaker and his mother worked as a housewife. As a 13-year old student, during his summer job in a tannery, he witnessed the beginning of the Slovak National Uprising in streets of Liptovský Mikuláš, when a shot and wounded civilian fell into his arms. Subsequently, during the fights, he was forced to hide in a cellar with his stepfather for two months. Later on he was deployed to build retreat foxholes towards Ružomberok, from where he managed to escape. He was captured by bullying Vlasov´s units, but luckily, he was able to run away from captivity during the night. After the war he joined the clearance works. His family lived together with other families in an old mill, where the roof leaked. After an apprenticeship as a waiter, he started working in a canteen of the merged tanneries. However, when installing a beer barrel he partially lost his sight. At the Martin hospital he met with a Carpathian German woman, who also suffered from an eye injury. Their common destiny brought them closer together and they were married in 1951. The fact that he married a German woman influenced his life greatly, within his family as well as work. Due to lack of opportunities for decent housing, he left with his wife and little baby to Turiec region. His parents-in-law living in Dolný Turček accommodated a party member after the war, but thanks to their daughter who married a Slovak, they were able to gradually reside in the whole house again. With progressive learning of Swabia dialect, Ján slowly integrated into the social life of the German community, where afterwards he began to organize various sporting or cultural events. He was able to make use of his experiences as a coordinator of cultural activities in the spa Turčianske Teplice, where he worked until leaving for retirement. Yet, this work was preceded by a hard training in the Martin engineering plant.