“My father would observe and help people when taking trains from Bratislava to Pezinok. He found a gentleman on the train who was wearing slippers and pyjamas. We were at home; I went to school at the time as far as I can remember; now I was in bed and then dad brought this man in pyjamas and slippers, and told mum: ‘Give this gentleman some clothes and food. I’ll get in the car and go from Pezinok to Viničné and Senec to Hungarian border.’ He had a good friend in the border guard there, and he helped people get out of the country through his friend. He went to look if the friend was on duty. Then he came back for the man, and the man was really scared because the Nazis made people disappear forever. The Nazis took all his family away and he never saw them again.”
“The Nazis came, sat us on a chair at a table, pointed guns at us and asked where our parents were. We said we did not know, and we really did not know where our parents had gone. They wore these gloves, tight-fitting, wider towards the elbow, made of thick leather, like motorcycle gloves... Dad had such gloves when he drove a motorcycle. They hit us in the face with those gloves, both of us. My sister started bleeding and crying. The man pointed a finger at me; he wanted me to go to the attic. I thought he was going to shoot me because he was following me, a child, with a gun. So I went up and thought, ‘Jesus, he’s going to kill me!’ But he just looked around and then pointed towards the cellar. So I thought, ‘He didn’t kill me in the attic so he’ll kill me in the cellar.’ Well, he didn’t kill me, but when I got married my husband told me the man had used me as a shield, to hide behind me if confronted with someone hiding. I slept well after that; before that I kept waking up at night.”
“She still believed that he [the father] was alive... We all did, we believed he escaped somehow… He was a great person but I cannot imagine – since he got all the family involved – what it must have been like when he realised it was all over... What he felt like, knowing that his beautiful family was involved in it... that the family was suffering... how he felt. When I remember it now… they were two amazing people, a happy family, but the war took that away from me...”
“He had to give them the day and the location where he would light three fires at night, of course so that the Nazis could not see them. It was Bratislava, Pezinok, Viničné, Senec and the Hungarian border. There was a deciduous forest there and my dad knew the area well. He lit three fires in the forest; a Russian airplane came and a paratrooper parachuted with a radio. The radio operator landed, and he was a Slovak named Jozef Maco. They buried his parachute and my dad let the man stay with his brother-in-law and sister-in-law in Viničné. I had a female and a male cousin there, and he stayed with them. My uncle was a shoemaker, and they thought his hammer work would mask the radio sounds in the event that someone came in and the radio transmission was not over yet.”
Ernestina Švorcová, née Pätoprstá, was born in Viničné near Pezinok in Slovakia on 25 February 1934. Her father Michal Pätoprstý owned a farm in the Carpathians where he raised sheep, Angora rabbits, hens and silkworms. He worked in Bratislava at the Ministry of Agriculture as an inspector in charge of poultry farms in Czechoslovakia. With the arrival of the Nazis, the family initially helped people cross the border to Hungary. Later on, her father along with Mr Noskovič, the director of a bank in Bratislava and Mr Rudo Vyskočil, the director of a Trnava liqueur plant supported a group of 185 guerrillas led by Cpt. Jozef Brunovský. Ernestina Švorcová was a connection and helped hiding people in a bunker in the garden. Along with her grandfather, she brought weapons for paratrooper and radio operator Jozef Maco who was hiding with her father’s brother in law. Due to treason, her father was arrested by the Gestapo three days before the end of the war; he never returned and his destiny is unknown. Ernestina Švorcová remembers the end of the war and the liberation by Soviet Army. After the war, she graduated from a correspondence school of business and worked with ČSAD (transport company). She married in 1954 and lived with her husband in Štúrovo for two years, then moved to Hrušovany near Brno where both worked at Baťa. The witness was a member of an amateur theatre and dance group, was a member of the Svaz mládeže youth organisation, and played volleyball until 1978. The family moved to Bechyně in 1986 and Ernestina Švorcová worked at the local JIKA ceramics plant until retirement. She lives in Bechyně and takes part in discussions on World War II in schools.