Slovak woman Alžbeta Vargová was living at the Jewish cemetery in Sereď. When they started bringing victims from the nearby Nazi labour and concentration camp she and her father decided to write down the names of the victims, thanks to which they could place small headstones after the war. Moreover, when she was 14, she and her brother helped a Jewish prisoner escape from the nearby camp.
She was one of five people from Slovakia and the Czech Republic who received the Memory of the Nation Awards this year. Granted since 2010 by the Post Bellum organisation, the awards are given out on November 17 to people who showed that honour, freedom and human dignity are not only empty words.
The award-winning ceremony took place in the National Theatre in Prague, but without any guests and laureates. It was broadcast live by the Czech and Slovak public-service broadcasters.
The stories of laureates
Apart from Vargová, the award went to Jarmila Weinbergerová, a doctor from Prague-based Jewish family, who was placed in four Nazi concentration camps during WWII. In Terezín concentration camp, she helped save the lives of the prisoners as a nurse in a sickroom, and took care of small children while in Auschwitz. She was then transported to the concentration camp near Christianstadt, and then to Bergen-Belsen.
Another laureate, Leonid “Levko” Dohovič, was 14 when the Soviet judiciary sentenced him to 10 years in prison, after he had stood up against the communist totalitarianism. He continued fighting the regime also in prison. After his plans were revealed, he was sentenced to 10 more years, and left prison only in 1956. He continued his fight, due to which he faced several difficulties.
Hana Truncová spent the 1950s in communist prison, after she cooperated with smugglers and helped people cross the border after the 1948 communist coup.
The award in memoriam went to Květoslava Bartoňová, who together with her classmate saved 45 children from the Slovak Death Valley, the devastated Slovak villages where the harshest fight during the Battle of the Dukla Pass took place.
18. Nov 2020 at 11:40 | Compiled by Spectator staff