Vladimír Strmeň

* 1928  

  • “When I came home to Richtárová, there was a partisan staff in our house. And the staff's commander told me: 'What is a trumpet good for? Here you have a rifle; you are needed in a battle! We have come here from behind the Ural and you shall just sit at home? You are coming with us!' This way I became a mediator for a week. I was a contact-man between Richtárová, Turecká, Jelenec, and Špania Dolina. Once about after a week they sent me as a mediator to Špania Dolina with a dispatch. There was the first lieutenant Sitár, whom I served with in Zvolen. He told me: 'Listen, you could fight with us. Why would you only run around the mountains as a mediator!' And they kept me there. Another soldier was sent with a message to our staff in Richtárová and I got training as a light machine gunman and mines training. After this training I was placed to a unit and we fought near Veľké Bielice and mainly in Turiec region.”

  • “The Germans were attacking us by Hakel armored vehicles. They attacked us day and night. Always at night, if something banged or rattled, they immediately fired flares and attacked our positions. The number of dead and wounded increased at our front, so only God knows how bad it was. In the morning we didn't know whether we would survive until the evening and in the evening we were unsure of waiting to see the morning. Only at night we could obtain munition, water and food. It was impossible during the day, since we were still being surrounded. I was wounded in the afternoon of October 14, when the Germans started the attack. They began with mortal shell fire towards our trenches. In front of our trench a shell blew up and killed two of our gunmen and four were severely wounded. I was saved by Krnáč brothers, who dragged me under fire through the line to the field dressing. The cabin still stands there, where our field hospital was. We were lucky, because right then there was an ambulance, which took us to Banská Bystrica and head of the dept. Dr. Petelen took out all of the fragments from my body. The operating rooms were run in four shifts; the halls were full of screaming wounded men. Behind the window of operating room there was a pile of hands and legs in blood puddle that they had to amputate to soldiers brought from the trenches.”

  • “I was drafted on September 12, 1942 and something wonderful had welcomed me. The Radvaň fair took place on that day and an air raid was being announced. Many units went to bomb the eastern front; however, one of the machines was broken. A flare was fired from the parachute, which went down slowly, and the bombs fell on railway behind the Urpín hill. The whole load was reduced by app. thirteen bombs. It was a huge luck that the terrain configuration was like that. You know, that the pressure wave shot out to stratosphere and didn't fly straight, because it would have ended up in a great catastrophe. But you should have seen the panic! Oh boy! The fair in Radvaň was over, the carneys ran away, people were jumping away from the funfair; hands and legs broken… It was terrible screaming and panic everywhere. We were just staring out of our windows, since the twelve of us had just been drafted. We were looking at each other with astonishment, not knowing what was going to happen next, whether also the military barracks would end up under bombing or not. We didn't know any context yet.”

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    Farná, Banská Bystrica, 27.09.2014

    duration: 01:02:29
    media recorded in project Soutěž Příběhy 20. století
  • 2

    Detva, 08.02.2016

    duration: 01:11:01
    media recorded in project Soutěž Příběhy 20. století
  • 3

    Banská Bystrica, 04.11.2017

    duration: 02:31:48
    media recorded in project Stories of the 20th century
Full recordings are available only for logged users.

Never look back, just ahead

Student of army band (1943)
Student of army band (1943)
photo: archív pamätníka

  Vladimír Strmeň was born on August 26, 1928 in a mining settlement near the village Staré Hory. His father worked in Harmanec paper mill; however, as a consequence of severe chill he suffered from meningitis and died when Vladimír was only three and a half years old. Mother Františka wasn’t able to financially take care of her son, and so she gave him to an institute ran by Vincentian sisters in Radvaň. Vladimír spent 7 years in this orphanage and when he was 14, he enrolled at the Military School, in Banská Bystrica to become a part of the army band. After the outbreak of the Slovak National Uprising, he had to interrupt his study and he joined the partisans shortly after. He fought in the vicinity of his native village, nor far from the settlements of Staré Hory and happened to be severely wounded. After passing to the partisan way of combat, he moved with the front through the ridge of Low Tatras to Vernár, where he joined the army of General Ludvík Svoboda. After the war he got employed in Podbrezová Ironworks, married Mária, née Borovicová, and together they had two children. In his job he significantly contributed to restoring of the company orchestra. In 1970 due to the family reasons he moved to Banská Bystrica and worked in Tesla, latter Computer Technology Company, where he founded and led a successful company music band. After his retirement in 1988 he still lives active life of a musician as well as he leads various talks and discussions about his participation in the Slovak National Uprising.