Remembering General Jan Babinec
A great patriot, a man with courage who never stopped to fight for the freedom of his homeland. He was born on July 17.1917 in Zricovo, near Perecin in Ruthenia, as the youngest of 5 children. He entered military service in 1937 and eventually joined the 12th Division in Uzhorod. After Czechoslo-vakia was occupied, he left illegally for Poland where he joined another military unit. At the beginning of WWII he escaped to the USSR, was apprehended in 1940 by the NKVD, and sentenced to spend 3 long years in the Soviet labor camps (GULAG) under horrible conditions. Finally, in 1943, he is allowed to join another Czechoslovak military unit founded in the Soviet Union near Bazuluk. He spent some time in Moscow with the Czechoslovak Military Mis-sion under general Heliodor Pika and later , in Sept. 1944, is parachuted to Eastern Slo-vakia and given the task to get to Banska Bystrica and eventually takes part in the lib-eration of Czechoslovakia in 1945. He re-ceives several honors and war medals, but the end of the war does bring many tragedies- his brother Jiri is killed near Kromeriz, and finally Jan learns that Ruthe-nia- where he was born- is cut off from Czechoslovakia and becomes part of the Ukraine. The political situation in his home-land is worsening and the communists are gaining ground. He speaks very openly against the many changes that are taking place and soon gets into a conflict with Rudolf Slansky and others. He is discharged from the army, followed by Reicin's agents and harassed. It becomes necessary to leave his home again- this time to West Germany and eventually to England and to the USA. Here he decides to study the law, and is active in various organizations of his compatriots and helps with the Czechoslo-vak refugees. He is employed by Pan Amer-ican and helps with transporting the wound-ed and dead soldiers during the Vietnam war. After the Velvet Revolution in 1989, general Babinec returns to Czechoslovakia and resides there until his death. An officer and gentleman- he remained true to the ideals of his country in spite of all hardships and persecutions.Translated by Marie Dolansky
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