Colonel (ret.) Julián Slepecký

* 1928

  • “Before I entered the army, I mastered completely the old A-1-1 military manual. It orders that in the case that you end up in captivity, you have the obligation to try an escape at least twice. I had this coded into my brain. The first time I tried to escape from the barracks at Trencin. It didn’t succeed, I didn’t want to harm the guard. It was in a military prison. There was no great effort to guard the prisoners. When you wanted to go to the bathroom, the guard with a gun over his shoulder opened the door and let you go. The guard was a reservist, I didn’t want to harm him. Outside, there was another guard, when we wrestled over the gun, he heard it and fired an alarm shot into the air. Immediately, more guards appeared. I then made a fool out of myslef, so they would not completely beat me up. That was my first escape attempt.”

  • “I made it to Jachymov, where I was at Rovnost Camp. I was on the third floor, I worked as a machinist and rode the mine train. In the year 1955, we started a strike. We demanded that, as working people, we were entitled to time off. It was quite fun but there were consequences. Of course, we were striking for just one day. Then came a line up, they read our names and sent the whole camp to different camps. At first they brought us to Ruzyne, which was the worst prison. It was a police station. When we arrived there, one guy fainted. How much he must had been tortured there that he fainted just after having realized that he was back at Ruzyne again..”

  • “The second time, I tried to escape from tailor workshop in Ilava. Everyday, we had a walk outside before work. I made a pick from some wire, I didn’t go on the walk, and instead I removed a board under my machine and started digging. It was a monastery, there were strong walls, etc… I took out the dirt to the chimney, it took me about two months before I prepared it for my escape. I sewed myself some shorts, so I wouldn’t get dirty. From a piece of cloth I made a strap, which I tied to a foot of the machine, I punched out the last bricks, which fell into the sacristy, and, of course, it made a lot of noise. As I let myself down, the minister came. I signaled him to be quiet. I had respect for the priest, but he locked the door and went to quickly report it. If I was a real swine, I would have put him away… There was nowhere else to escape to, I couldn’t go back, and anyways it was pointless, so all I did was wait until they came with their pistols. Right on the spot, I was brutally beaten. They took me through the church back to prison, it happened to be mass. They sent me into a totally dark detention cell for a month. There was concrete and only a bucket for my needprobrat se. I was there for a month. Before, they stripped me down and beat me into unconsciousness, the guard stood above me with a pail of water, I was completely swollen. Only that bucket of water let me come to."

  • “My credo is fight against evil. In the world, there is both good and evil. The question is, which is there more of, good or evil. I have the impression that there is more evil. Every person recognizes good and bad in himself, and it depends on him to decide what side he will join. I decided to fight for good, and I suffered for that. My life is also somewhat strange, about half of it was worthless and the second half was better. Your whole life cannot be bad. It has to reciprocate somehow. Within me, there is no tolerance for evil.”

  • “My dad was always attracted to Ukraine, to be among his people. The Nazis made lists of people who would be arrested, for example, if someone killed a German soldier. They would come by the main office and pull out the list, and every other one would be shot. As sort of a security measure. My dad was worried that, as a Ukrainian, even he would be on the list. We moved to Lemkivsin on Dukla. In one of those villages, its name was Ropjanka, he taught. (On the Polish side?) Yes…, He had no chance on getting to eastern Galicia, where he came from, the Russians already occupied it. Our family had always managed to run away from the Bolsheviks. In the end, we met them here in Czechoslovakia.”

  • “I was lucky that I was fluent in Polish. When we arrived in Ostrow, a small town in Poland, I noticed a sign that said ‘Polish Repatriation Office’ – the repatriation office. I told myself – my gosh, I can use this. I got off the train without telling anyone and hid behind some shack and waited for the train to leave. I relaxed some, the train had left, I found the office, I acted like a Pole, and I declared my address in Southern Poland, where my father taught. Of course, I did not want to go there, but they gave me a new personal ID, and they took my picture. I didn’t have to be afraid, and I had documentation. I knew that Katovice are close to the Czechoslovak border, and I wanted to cross the border illegally there.”

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    Praha 8, 08.06.2007

    duration: 02:05:08
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
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Our family always tried to run from the Bolsheviks. They finally got us in Czechoslovakia

Julián Slepecký in 1950
Julián Slepecký in 1950
photo: archiv pamětnika

Julian Slepecky was born in Galicia to a Czech mother and a Ukrainian father. During the war, he was sent by the Nazis into forced labor in Lipsko and later to Baden District. After being liberated, he ended up in a French detention camp for citizens of the Soviet Union and was supposed to be deported to the USSR, despite reporting his Czech nationality. In Poland, he luckily managed to flee from the transport. He only got into Czechoslovakia at the end of November, 1945. He signed up for military school for communication specialists. He went through military training in Slovakia and for his military studies, he entered the army in Nové Mesto nad Váhom. When the Czechoslovak Army got under the Communis control and began to introduce new rules based on the Soviet model, Julian Slepecky started to prepare his escape. Someone betrayed him, however, and his escape was divulged. He was arrested and sentenced to twenty years. In prison, according to the First Republic Army rules, he tried to escape twice. Unsuccessfully. He won freedom immediately before amnesty, in the year 1959. He worked later as a driver and also in blue-collar jobs. After the year 1990, he was reinstated and promoted to the rank of colonel. He lives in Prague and is active in the military branch of the Confederation of Political Prisoners.