Mária Šidová, rod. Almássyová

* 1937

  • „Everyone already knows that and everyone who hears about Ruzyně knows what it is about. Because they were huge corridors that only resonated when the guards' boots were walking and, God forbid, when mess tin were still worn, it resonated until the door opened. Mess tin flew in with food, or food if you could call it that. Then the guards looked at those peepholes, and especially at night because people had to sleep on that straw, on the boards. Hands on the blanket and this one was lit by a two hundred light bulb. This is what I can neither see nor feel (light), which has destroyed my sight. And you have to keep your eyes closed, but it burns your brain. And when the guard saw that you didn't have your hands like that, but you were covering yourself to the side, he kicked the metal door with those boots, which resonated and the whole corridor, the whole prison heard it. And this was heard all those nights. One hundred and fifty cells, two hundred and fifty, three hundred. The clatter of boots: "Hands on the blankets! Turn on your back." Those were the nights.“

  • „So they put me in the field, where they drove us in draisine to Esterházy's properties, which were thirty kilometers long. And we had to do three things, whether it was hoeing something or picking corn or tobacco. And the endless heat there. That was devastating. We were not in control, we were thirsty, I'm not even talking about hunger. The sun was burning. That was the hardest slave labor that exists in our territory. - "And you were still working there with that strip in such conditions?" - Yes, the lane was such that I no longer had to lift up the hills with shovels. to throw manure on those huge hills, but this was suffering. And then they drove us in the same way manure was sometimes exported to the cooperative. Such a tank. And in that, it was as if they brought us water, because women were dropping out on those lines. Endless plains. Well, water. But the water was hot in that cistern. And they let it be carried in a bucket, a dirty Roma woman picked it up and used to pester our beds. You couldn't even drink that.“

  • „I was arrested. Because in the meantime it happened that someone delivered the letters to the nurses. Correspondence, as it was done for those five years. Pater had contact with them, they gave him. But the nurses forgot the suitcase somewhere, whether it's the bus or I don't know where. They simply forgot the suitcase with the correspondence and the correspondence was lying there unclaimed. Then they searched to see who the letter or the envelope belonged to. And they discovered that it was the handwriting of Father Hutyra, whom they thought had emigrated. And he was hiding for five years. But how to find out where? That's how they found out“

  • „It was very difficult all these experiences and fear even in the village. Murders were also found in the village, some citizens were burned, there were accidents. We celebrated end of the war with grandfather. When we couldn't feed the farm, we went to our meadows to graze it. So we were cows grazing on the mountain. That was one such hill. And then the plane went and my grandfather and I were there, but that was a beautiful experience. And suddenly the plane went and there was a headline saying that the war is over. Well, grandfather and I were happy, we gathered the herd and came home nicely. And there was joy and peace and contentment. Because it was difficult. He survived his. Uncle then sons and everything. It was such a very strange and difficult time. And tragic for many people.“

  • “I was telling them only what I had to. What I didn’t have to, I didn’t say. I can’t say they would have been physically attacking me or hurting me. But investigations at night were really tough, because the sleep was afflicted. Besides that, we didn’t sleep at all. I was on an iron plank-bed that was dropped from the ceiling. On this I had only a thin sheet and a blanket. I had to sleep on my back and there was a 100W bulb glowing above my head. Of course I wanted to turn around during the sleep, but as soon as I tried, the guard began banging on the iron-bar door with his boot. The halls there were huge. Ruzyně was a huge building. It was resounding everywhere. As they banged with boots on one side of the hall, it was quite loud on the other end, too. Thus the waking up was really painful, we were very tired. The light was even worse. If you try to narrow your eyes and look directly to the sun, it’s just about to burn your eyes. I was half-blind and lacking sleep. I consider this to be the most difficult era.”

  • “All of these women were criminals. Sole catastrophe. We lived in old reconstructed sheep barns; they placed there 17 double beds and these ‘vermin’, the women.” “Did you have any incidents with them?” “Well, I was like a little mouse, but they tried to seek after me. One of them threatened me. Some of them became mad, mainly the murderers. They knew everything about everyone. They called me ‘a nun’. This one murderer used to come to me every night; she would just stand above me while I was sleeping. As soon as I woke up, she would ask me, where I had hidden her child. She killed her own child and I was supposed to tell her, where she buried him. I was terrified and with great fear I used to wake up because of what was going on there. What an awful company!”

  • “Well, the sisters [nuns, Ed.] forgot contents of the suitcase with the letter somewhere. They were afraid to pick it up. After certain time it was revealed that Father Hutyra didn’t emigrate, but was hiding in Czechoslovakia. However, they didn’t know where. Thus they arrested his brother in law and forced him to disclose some facts. He was interrogated for three days and he died afterwards. There were three orphans left behind. They gave us echo of what had happened and that he informed the ŠtB about Fr. Ján being hidden in Ružomberok. In the meantime, we found him a new place to stay. Unfortunately, we were monitored and he got arrested. Our family was being detained in turns. My dad, mom, me. One was released, another one was taken and this took some time. One day they came to me to the post office, where I worked, and told me to go with them for some interview. I didn’t know, what was it supposed to be about. However, they drove me directly to Prague – Ruzyně through Banská Bystrica in Tatraplan [vehicle Tatra 600, Ed.].”

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It was just the matter of time of catching him

Mária Šidová - before arrest (50´s)
Mária Šidová - before arrest (50´s)
zdroj: z archívu pamätníčky

Mária Šidová, née Almássyová, comes from the village of Liptovská Štiavnica. She is the eldest of four children, two of them died in their early age. The Almássy family actively helped and was hiding people in times of the Slovak National Uprising, as well helped those later persecuted by the communist regime. In years 1952 - 1958 they were hiding Ján Hutyra, a persecuted priest of the Congregation of the Mission of St. Vincent de Paul. Mária actively took part on passing secret messages to religious sisters in Bohemia. After Ján Hutyra was traced and arrested, she was finally in April 1958 also arrested and interrogated in Prague - Ruzyně prison. In September 1958 she was sentenced for assistance in anti-state activity to one and a half-year imprisonment, which she served in Ruzyně, later in a women‘s penal labor camp in Želiezovce. In the fall of 1959 she was released. In 1960 she got married to a former political prisoner Leopold Šido and they had five children together. During the whole period of communist regime she was persecuted and dismissed from her jobs based on negative cadre evaluations. After 1989 she became a member of organizations involved in commemorating crimes of communism and was honored by various awards. Nowadays she lives retired in Ružomberok.