“We hid in the forest. Sometimes, we were even afraid of talking to the Slovak civilians because we didn’t know what they were like. We didn’t have anything to eat at all. That’s when we boiled and ate the bark of birch trees just to survive.”
Michal Skiba was born in 1919 in Carpathian Ruthenia. On August 1, 1941, he was drafted to the Hungarian army and assigned to the sappers‘ company. Since November 1941, he was in the Soviet Union in the Voronezh Oblast (Buddonyj territory), where he cut trees used for the construction of trenches. In the beginning of January 1942, he crossed the frozen river Don to the Soviet side. The Soviet authorities, however, sent him to the Gulag. Later he was able to join the Czechoslovak army corps. He fought at Dukla and in the Slovak national uprising. After the war Mr. Skiba did his school-leaving exam and joined the „Sbor národní obrany“, the SNB (the National Defense Corps - the de facto police in Communist Czechoslovakia. He was engaged in the activities of the Union of Freedom Fighters and is the chair of the organization in Ústí nad Labem. He lives in Lovosice.