Demeter Senický

* 1917  †︎ 2016

  • Col. Demeter Senický describes the sudden and dramatic retreat during the fighting at Bila Crkva in January 1944.

  • Col. Demeter Senický describes the fighting at Kiev in November 1943, where he destroyed several German anti-tank positions and machine gun emplacements of his own initiative, and thus broke the enemy resistance in that section.

  • "And now they were dragging me on quickly to headquarters, and I turned round and no one anywhere. And there was this wall there, and I managed to jump over the wall and run for it. They [the friends - ed.] already knew it was bad. They were waiting for me and I didn't come. So they draped an army coat over me and off we went. And that's how we got to the Czechoslovak army, I wouldn't have been there otherwise."

  • "So we placed the cannon and went to sit down, lie down. Suddenly a Russian runs up and says: 'The Germans are here!' So we rushed up, and we saw German tanks at the top of this one hillock. The Russian driver heard 'Germans', he started the car and drove off, leaving us the cannon. So all I could do was to throw a grenade under it and then we were legging it to the forest. We kept on through the forest. But they [the Germans - ed.] didn't move up. The tanks stayed where they were."

  • "There weren't many ordinary rifles or SMGs. When the war broke out, we received a weapon. But they didn't have enough weapons. I had a few friends there, Czechs and Poles they were. They stood behind me. When it came to it, I pulled back so that I wouldn't get a weapon. Because I knew that they didn't have any. Then they said: 'Enough, we have no more weapons.' They said we'd get them at the spot, when we needed them. So we left without weapons. (Q: "And you didn't want a weapon, so that you wouldn't have to carry it?") "So that I wouldn't have to carry it, wouldn't have it."

  • "The German had overslept [and fallen into our hands]. What to do? The commander said: 'Shoot him!' Well, shoot a man when he's begging for his life. It took an age before they found someone willing to do the job. Not half an hour went by and another German - they shot him too. Because to take him behind lines, that would require two or three boys to fall back. That¨s stupid, you can't do that. So we shot two Germans like that, even though they had begged for their lives, but we just couldn't..." (Q: "Who shot them in the end, the Germans?") "One of ours, our soldier shot him. Some people don't care."

  • "He was Russian and he didn't like Czechs. When they allowed us to join up in Buzuluk, to join our Czech army, he said: 'Oh no you won't, not by any means, you Czechs. My father died because of you Czechs.' When our boys [WWI legionnaires - ed.] were falling back, they fought with them [Bolsheviks - ed.], and his father died, so he remembered it. So straight away, however many, three or four were gone by morning."

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    Teplice, 27.04.2010

    (audio)
    délka: 01:23:12
    nahrávka pořízena v rámci projektu Stories of 20th Century
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My wife pulled out my uniform and started beating the policemen with it. That‘s how they found out I wasn‘t a ‚Westerner‘, but an ‚Easterner‘

Demeter Senický, Levoča 1945
Demeter Senický, Levoča 1945
zdroj: archiv pamětníka

Demeter Senický was born on the 27th of November 1917 into one of two Czech families in the mostly Polish village of Edvardovka in Volhynia. He had three siblings. His parents worked their own land. Demeter married Věra Žačková in 1940, but he was forced to join the Soviet army already in April of the following year. After the German invasion in June 1941, his unit was constantly on the retreat. He was later expelled from the Soviet army together with other foreigners and sent the gulag in Chkalov. He managed to escape from there in October 1942 with the help of friends, and flee to Buzuluk. As a member of the 1st Czechoslovak Army Corps in the USSR, he went experienced the whole journey from Sokolovo to Dukla, where he was injured heavily, so that he did not return into combat. For the most part he was an anti-tank artillery gunner. His most notable moment in the history of the Czechoslovak units in the USSR was during the Battle of Kiev. Even the Soviet papers wrote about his spectacular feat, how he had destroyed several of the enemy‘s anti-tank positions and machine gun emplacements. In 1944, Demeter Senický acted shortly as an athlete in the Soviet army‘s sports team. He moved to Teplice in Northern Bohemia in 1949. Died on August, the 1st, 2016 in the age of 99.