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Helen Rodak-Izso

The Last Chance to Remember

 

 

Chapter 22. TRYING TO COPE WITH OUR NEW FOUND FREEDOM



The situation had changed but now there were new complications and problems. We went back to the farm and found an abandoned two story furnished home. Some of the girls stayed downstairs. My sister Clara and me and four friends with their young daughters, who were about 13-14 years old at the time, occupied the second floor. In the room was only a double bed and an iron stove. Our room mates were from our town, and lived through everything together.

My sister is and always was a very able and adventurous girl so here she didn't wait too long either, but volunteered to look around for some food, with another girl. Very shortly she was back with a bag of sugar in her hands, but unfortunately two soldiers had followed them and they were not exactly sober. The wooden stairs creaked under their heavy and strong steps and heavy boots. The doors opened, there they stood with a machine gun. They didn't use their hands, only those ugly guns which were really frightening. They looked under the bed where we had hidden one of the very young girls. When they reached for her she gave out a shriek full of fear and somehow they let her go. The other young girls disappeared under their mothers in the double bed. I didn't see my sister but was hoping that she was hiding with the other girls. I found out only much later, that unfortunately she had a similar experience as mine, but miraculously she was saved.

Nobody was concerned about me and I was left lying on the floor. In the shape I was in I never dreamed that I could have this kind of problems. Since nobody else was there, one of the soldiers came to me and called me out. I answered in Slovak that I am old. I really felt like a very old and aged person. He checked my face with his flashlight and said in Russian, that this was not true and started to pull me. I was sure that he would leave me alone, but he gave me two minutes to change my mind. We became very excited in the room and tried to find some safe alternatives, but everything seemed just too dangerous, because they were so strong and would just be angered. I really wondered then and even today that they were not more arrogant and aggressive.

Sure enough, very shortly they both came back straight to me, the only one left on the floor, and started to pull me. I tried with all my might to cling to the leg of the iron-stove with one hand, with my other free arm was hugging his boots and begging him to leave me alone. He was kneeling beside me, he looked so strong like a giant. Of course I was already very frightened.

First, I tried to talk to him; for how long we were waiting for them, dreaming of this day, day and night, and all the time and after so much struggle he wants to finish me? He wants nothing just to go out with me for a while. The other soldier lost his patience and talked to him in Russian (which we understood) what are you asking her so much, take her out and after throw her out through the window. Under the window was a big lake where big ships were visible. It was navigable.

Now he grabbed me with force, I became agitated, crying and gasping for air, I was terrified! I begged him to leave me alone, please, please! In my excitement I felt like suffocating, because I started to cough too, so with my sobbing, desperate crying for help I suddenly blurted out please, I am sick, I am sick! I didn't exaggerate, I don't know where I found those words and suddenly some strength pushed me. Unfortunately it was the truth, I really felt very sick, more than sick.

When he heard the magic word, sick, he became panicky and let me go in one minute. He shouted at me angrily, why didn't I tell him before? By sickness of course he meant something else, but who cared? For the time being I was saved and this was a good lesson for us. Because this type of danger escorted us all the way. It also helped a bit that Clara mentioned the word Commandatura; if I die there after the liberation because of him this would be reported. This sobered him. They were terrified of their superiors.

I was hoping that my sister was safe, but the poor girl she had a similar experience, thank God, she escaped also. It was a very frightening experience for both of us, which we cannot forget. The girls downstairs unfortunately were not so lucky and had a very unpleasant experience.

Next morning everything was quiet. The Russians disappeared and we tried to rest and believe that the road going home was opened up for us.


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