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October 30, 1981 - Image 23

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1981-10-30

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

THE- DETROIT !JEWISH, NEWS

Friday, October 10, 1981 23

is building her own defense
for the future and safety of
her people. May God Al-
mighty help and protect
them in their endeavor."

and His ORCHESTRA

Catholic Who Saved Jews to Get Righteous Award.

Peter Vlcko, a former
career officer in the puppet
state of Slovakia during
World Ward!, will be pre-
sented the Righteous Gen-
tile award of the state of Is-
rael in ceremonies Nov. 12
at the offices of the Detroit
Jewish Community Coun-
cil.
The presentation will be
made by Israel Consul Gen-
eral for the Midwest
Emanuel Zippori.
Married to a Jew, Vlcko, a
Roman Catholic, with his
parents and sisters, hid the
woman who is now his wife,
the former Georgina
Reichsfeld, from the Nazis.
In addition, he helped save
20 more Jews from the
throes of the Nazi terror.
During the war, Vlcko,
author of "In the Shadow
of Tyranny," used his
uniform and position in
the .Slovak Ministry of
Defense to help get the
necessary papers to keep
the Jews he saved from
being depoi-ted to the
death camps.
It was Vlcko's wife who
documented her husband's

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TARR

PETER VLCKO
role in saving herself and
the other Jews to the state of
Israel who bestows the
award. —
In a speech prepared for
delivery to the ceremonies,
Vlcko stated in part:
"Since the Jews were
branded by the Nazis as an
inferior race, in this awful
cataclysm they were suffer-
ing the most. Often to many
of them the loss of life was a
salvation from this torment.
Individual gentiles, whose
hearts were filled with pity
and sorrow for the poor
souls, could not comprehend
the acquiescence to such de-
spicable philosophy.
"As a young Slovak
army cavalry officer, I
could not tolerate the
course of these events
either. For me the Jews
Were humans, equal' to
me at least, and I did not
find any guilt in them, be-
cause of their different
religion or their tradi-
tions. As a Christian, I felt
it was my sacred obliga-
tion to help them in their
cruel ordeal.
"Since I was officially
bound to execute my mili-
tary duties, there was no
other way around than to
become a conspirator and
later a revolutionary. In my
resistance, I voluntarily
shared the pain of the perse-
cuted Jews' tragic ordeal. I
have sacrificed all advan-
tages of the obediency to the
tormentors in the prevail-
ing fascist regime.
"The incident, that I fell
in love with a Jewish girl,
Georgina, during this
period, should not
downgrade my intentions;
on the contrary, it affirmed
even more my determina-
tion.
"On the other hand, she
was not the only one I have
-saved. Beside her parents
they were many others. In
fact each Jew was in my
heart worthy of my personal
"Sacrifice. Using my military
position in the general staff
as a material officer at the
Ministry of Defense, I was
arranging things which
helped the Jews the most.
"A certificate of their
military importance to
the Slovak war machine
was issued to those who
were in danger of depor-
tation. The man who dis-
tributed these documents
to his Jewish fellowmen,
expressed his gratitude

Conceit is to nature, what
paint is to beauty; it is not
only needless, but it impairs
what it would improve.
-- 7PoPe.

for my courage to save
their. lives. His name I
cannot recall, but his pro-
fession was upholstering
and sewing blankets. He
was 10 or 15 years older
than I.
"In those instances where
I could not save the poor
souls, I tried to ease the pain
of their agony at least. '
"For my democratic and
humanitarian convictions I
was jailed and- tried in
Budapest, Hungary, in the
fall of 1942. Because of my
active participation in the
war and Slovak -National
Uprising particularly, I be-
came twice captive of the
German army. The first
time I succeeded to escape,-
and the second time I de-
- ceived the Gestapo by say-
ing that I was a shoe re-
pairman instead of a
guerilla fighter. It seemed
to me they would dissect my
body to get the real truth
out of me.
"-When I crossed the
German-Russian front at
the village of Bzova, with
Georgina, her mother and
our infant son Mirko, in
March of 1945, I was ap-
prehended by the Soviets
and put on trial by their
military tribunal in the vil-
lage of Mytna, as a Nazi spy.
"On June 15, 1948, I il-
legally crossed the bor-
ders to West Germany. I
intended to join the
American armed forces,
but I was not so fortunate
as I expected. My offer
was rejected on the
grounds that I was too
old at age 37 ...
"As long as one country is
allowed to attack and con-
quer its neighbor without
retribution, there is no se-
curity for anyone in this
world. If we should ex-
change moral principles for
profit, we cannot expect a

durable peace. History is
teaching us that the best
protection of one's indepen-
dence lays in his military
strength and courage. Israel

FRANK PAUL

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