Klak/Ostry Grun, January 20 (TASR) – Despite the fact that, 74 years since the end of WW2, only a few witnesses are still alive in Slovakia who experienced the atrocities of fascists in numerous Slovak villages, commemorations of these historical events are attended by hundreds of people, as was the case in the villages of Klak and Ostry Grun (Banska Bystrica region) on Sunday.
“Unfortunately, even after such a long time that passed since the end of WW2, the world is still full of conflicts. In order to prevent similar tragedies from the past from recurring, we need to make sure our children understand the meaning of the word ‘freedom’ and the value of life in peace. This is the main importance I see in similar commemorative events,” Defence Minister Peter Gajdos (Slovak National Party/SNS) said in his speech in Klak.
Among the participants was also Gizela Bencova, 88, who is the only living witness to the tragic WW2 events. On the fateful January 21, 1945, she was supposed to be one of the victims as well. The moment SS soldiers entered her village, they rounded up dozens of people into selected houses and gunned them down. Within a short moment, 84 inhabitants of Klak were murdered.
“Us and other people from the upper part of the village were flushed out of our houses and made to stand by a chapel, where they planned to mass execute us. They had already set up machine guns,” Bencova recalled for TASR. During the final prayer by a priest, however, a motorcycle despatch rider arrived conveying orders from command that mass killings are to be discontinued and the village evacuated and burned down.
Together with their Slovak abettors, Nazi SS troops gunned down 148 people in both villages on January 21, 1945, in revenge for the Banska Bystrica region helping resistance fighters.