Gajdos: We’ll Never Forget Veterans Who Stood Up against Fascism

War veterans - 95-year-old Stefan Steflovic (left) and 90-year-old Pavel Liska (photo by TASR)

Trencin, October 24 (TASR) – We’ll never forget the deeds of the people who participated in the national struggle for liberation during the Second World War as well as their determination to stand up against fascism, stated Defence Minister Peter Gajdos (a Slovak National Party/SNS nominee) when presenting medals to two war veterans – 95-year-old Stefan Steflovic and 90-year-old Pavel Liska in Trencin on Tuesday.

“The war veterans, Liska and Steflovic, couldn’t attend the ceremonial gathering marking the anniversary of the Dukla operation on October 6, so I decided to give them the medals here in Trencin. I appreciate enormously what they did for freedom and democracy in the former Czechoslovakia,” said the minister, adding that this year he’s awarded Second Class Commemorative Medals to six war veterans.

Born in Adamovce near Trencin, Steflovic took part in the national struggle for liberation between March 15, 1939-May 5, 1945. His character helped him to overcome the misery of wartime. “I was of a nature that didn’t bother much about anything. And I felt better than those who worried their heads over it. When the time came, of course, I did worry,” said the war veteran, adding that the most difficult moment during the fighting at the Dukla Pass through the Carpathian Mountains was during a bombardment by German aircraft when a bullet ended up only some 20 centimetres away from his head.

Born in Dobra Voda in Trnava region, Liska was involved in the Slovak National Uprising (SNP) between August 29, 1944-November 1, 1944. He said that he would never forget the euphoria that the partisans felt when they learnt that the Red Army along with the First Czechoslovak Army Corps had begun military operations at the Dukla Pass and were set to help partisans in their fight.

“Those who didn’t experience the Second World War can’t imagine what fascism caused. Millions of dead soldiers, millions of mothers waited for their sons, millions of wives waited for husbands, millions of children waited, but no one came back. We shouldn’t forget that freedom came from the east. It hurts us to see that fascist roots that survived the war have been on the rise. Fascism is the worst and most dangerous thing not only for Slovakia, but for the whole of Europe, and perhaps also for the whole world,” said Liska.