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My Great Grandparents - Heroes in World War II Czechoslovakia

Note:  Some of the content of this post was taken from a blog that I wrote in 2010.

Recently I visited my mother and we were discussing the history of her family. I was struck by the real life drama that she described in detail. Let me introduce to you my great grandparents Andrei and Rosalia Budik

The year was 1939 the place, a small peasant village in eastern Czechoslovakia, now present day Slovakia called Kaluza.  In many ways Kaluza was just a plain, unassuming village located near the Western Ukrainian border. But this tiny, simple village would be caught in the middle of the Nazi death machine that just recently finished conquering Poland.

In many ways the war was over before it began, Czechoslovakia's fate was sealed in September of 1938 with the signing of the Munich Pact which guaranteed Hitler no opposition to annexing the Sudetenland.  So after Germany invaded Poland in September of 1939, The Nazi's crossed through Slovakia en route to their next location.  Hitler assured Edvard Benes, then Czechoslovak president that nothing would happen if the Germans were allowed safe passage through the country.  All was well until the Nazi's crossed through Vinne, another small village in Slovakia...

Vinne was the eastern Czechoslovak front for the Communist guerrilla fighters called the Partizan's.  The Partizan's managed to somehow kill some Nazi soldiers while they were marching through.  The Nazi's had a policy that for every German soldier that was killed an entire village would be destroyed.  They also searched each inhabitant to see who was involved in the murders.  According to eyewitness several innocent villagers were taken away and charged for the murders of the Nazi soldiers. The Nazi's then burned down the entire village of Vinne thus forcing the inhabitants of the village to flee and to find refuge in the neighboring forests.  Some of these inhabitants were Jewish families.

Kaluza, which was located near Vinne was the natural location for the refugees.  My great grandparents took in several of these refugees, including a Jewish family.  My great grandparents knew full well the consequences if they were caught, but still they did not hesitate to help their fellow countrymen.  So Andrei, displaying true heroism and christian charity took it upon himself to gut his entire basement wall in order to hide the family in the wine cellar.  While the family were hiding there Andrei also took it upon himself to ask the local parish priest if they would be able to register the family as parishioners.  The Priest agreed and the family was entered into the parish registry. As a result of these two heroic actions the family was able to survive the Nazi's investigation.

Years later, in what must have been a touching reunion, the family came back to thank my great grandparents for helping to save their lives.

I want to also thank Andrei and Rosalia Budik for being true Christian heroes. I am inspired by their heroism, remarkable courage and authentic love for neighbor.

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