Pavla Kovačová

During the war she, her husband and her children stayed in Slovakia in hiding places.

Her parents and sister died in concentration camps.

In March 1939 my father and my brother were arrested. My husband got counterfeit documents for both of them. My brother took the opportunity and escaped, but my father surrendered to his fate. Shortly after that, my mother had to join the transport. When she left we cried as if she had died. She was never to return. When my sister Ana and her children were arrested, I said to my husband, “We won’t let that happen to us”. Since 1938 I had been a member in an illegal organization, which was strongly against fascism. We held our meetings in the small shop of a shoemaker. My baby Eva in a push pram, I distributed hand-painted anti-Hitler-flyers. But I could not stay with the group for long. As a Jew, I had become a risk to them. With a new passport for myself Pavel – my Hungarian husband – and I went to Budapest. On New Year’s Eve I sat in the restaurant of the train station, alone and without money, waiting for Pavel. Much delayed, he finally arrived, carrying Eva in his arms. We escaped to Slovakia, where my brother was waiting for us. pavla-kovacova Again we got new documents and joined the resistance. When the rebellion had been put down, my husband went to the Russian partisans. A shepherd in the mountains offered me to stay in his cabin. We ate food that grew in the forest. One evening someone knocked on the window – my husband had found us. We could only stay briefly in one village at a time. People were afraid to have us for longer, we were Jews and had connections to the partisans.

I did not know what to do. My husband had left us again, and I was pregnant for the second time. Peter was born in a small cabin. My husband was to be executed. He managed to escape from the German prison. When he came to us he was dirty and his clothes were in rags. I do not know how he found us. He was still on the run and stayed in a hideout nearby. The Gestapo had summoned us for an interview. We were able to talk our way out and leave. At the station we took the next train. In our compartment there was a group of noisy SS-men. They took Eva and threw her up in the air. I was frightened. But they were on holiday and just having a good time. At the next station, we left and took a train that went in the opposite direction. Pavel left again. The front was approaching from both sides. In an attack on our village the house where I was staying was hit and completely destroyed. I went looking for my children under the rabble – they were alive. There were shootings until January, then the frontline passed. I found an abandoned house for my children and me. Then a group of Russians came with their girls. Again there were shots and grenades exploded. Everyone fled, but I stayed. The house collapsed on to of us. Sitting on the bed I prayed. My children were quiet. I took them in my arms, trying to protect them and went to the house of my husband’s grandmother. I was expecting my third child. The soldiers were shooting at us, but missed. Then I saw my husband. He was injured, aged and supported by a younger man when I saw him.

Painter, piano player, born July 15, 1913 in Krakow/Poland, widow, 3 children.

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