Survivor, Slovak Partisan
Judikovic is the son of Malvina and Mark Judikovic, a former cattle broker, of Michalovce, Czechoslovakia. Located in the southeast section of Slovakia, approximately 30 miles from Kosice, Michalovce had a population of about 15,000 of which about 3,000 were Jewish. He had four sisters and one brother, and received both a secular and an Orthodox Jewish education.
Following the creation of Slovakia as a separate country, after Germany's occupation of Czechoslovakia, strict anti-Jewish laws were enacted. Judikovic displayed an article from a Slovak newspaper taking pride in the fact that Slovakia had enacted anti-Jewish measures even more severe than those in Germany.
After the invasion of Poland in 1939, he was inducted into a labor battalion, which in effect was a labor camp where he served for two years. When the deportation of Jews started, Judikovic went into hiding in the forests and in neighbors' homes and barns, including those of some Christian neighbors. Once he was caught but managed to avoid being deported through the help of a physician who had been bribed by Judikovic's father.
Judikovic stated that the Slovakian government, which was headed by a Roman Catholic priest, actually paid to the Germans a specific amount of money for each Jew who was deported to either labor or extermination camps.
As Russian troops were nearing eastern Slovakia, the area was evacuated and Judikovic, his father, and one sister fled to Bratislava in western Slovakia. There false papers were obtained giving them Christian identities. Using these false papers, he joined the Partisans and was involved in the Slovak uprising against the Germans. Twice he was arrested by German forces but in each case he was able to talk his way out of confinement or execution. His ability to speak German, Russian, Slovak, Czech, and Hungarian as well as Yiddish and Hebrew was a great asset.
His father, mother, brother, and two sisters perished in the Holocaust. Only he and two sisters survived. Most of his extended family also perished.
After the war, Judikovic stayed in Czechoslovakia, moving to the northern city of Liberec (formerly known as Reichenberg). When the country fell under Communist control, life became increasingly more difficult in general but specifically also for him and his new wife. Since both sisters had fled the country and were living in the United States, he was kept under surveillance and accused of being untrustworthy. While on an authorized vacation trip to Yugoslavia, he and his wife fled to Austria and defected, leaving all of their possessions behind. From there, via Italy, where he worked for a short time for HIAS, the Judikovics came to the United States in 1971. He says life for Jews in Czechoslovakia under the Communist regime was not much better than under the Nazis.
Various family photos and documents are displayed during the interview.
Interviewer: Hans Weinmann
Date: January 27, 2000
Length: l hour 54 minutes
Format: Video recording