World War II

Category: History

First contacts with the war came very soon. Already in the autumn in 1939, the region was crossed by Polish refugees. The economic situation severely deteriorated in the first years of new Slovak State.

First victims of the new regimes were Jews. In 1942 three poor families of Pavol Meller, Baruch Meller and Berko Berkovič were forcibly taken from the village. Only 1 out of 16 afflicted persons survived the war. The property of Ehrenberg, Rosenbluth and Gross Company was put under state administration.

Events started moving rapidly in the summer of 1944. In the beginning of July a part of partisan brigade Alexander Nevskij commanded by Lt.Col. V.A.Karasjov – Stepanov stopped in the village for a short rest, en route from Poland to Čerhovské mountains via Dukla pass. According to Slovak State Secret Service, the brigade consisted of 700 men and 400 horses.

Shortly after the Battle of the Dukla Pass started, the village region became part of the combat area. On 21st September it was taken by units of 1st Guards Corps of Major General V.K.Baranov. However, they were encircled by Germans and managed to fight their way back to 38th Army. After their retreat, the village was entered by the German Army units. This development was followed by Red Army’s air strike, which left the village damaged by incendiary and explosive bombs.

The inhabitants were ordered to evacuate the village. Most of them went to villages in the vicinity of Giraltovce and some of them as far as Prešov. Approximately 10 persons were hiding in the local forests and after the arrival of Red Army, they were evacuated to Poland.

Attempting a breakthrough, Red Army penetrated woody terrain in area Baranie – Vyšná Pisaná and finally on 5th October 1944, units of 241st Rifle Division of Col. T.A.Andrijenko and 242nd Tank Brigade of Col. M.E.Timofejev liberated Vyšná Pisaná. German soldiers took up a new, fortified line south of the village and the front line was stabilized.

Following unsuccessful attempts to penetrate a pass above Krajna Poľaná, the Soviet Command decided to divert the direction of main attack. Newly-built road for tanks enabled them to move tanks to Vyšná Pisaná via wooded ridge. The ensuing attack became the biggest tank battle on Slovakian territory. German artillery, firing on the launching area of Soviet offensive, transformed Vyšná Pisaná to ruins. 1st Brigade of Czechoslovakian Army Corps in ZSSR also took part in the attack, advancing to point 536 Javira, south of the village. Due to heavy loss of life, the whole valley from Kapišova northwards was dubbed “Death Valley” by the Red Army soldiers.

481 fallen Soviet soldiers were exhumed in the village in 1945, out of which only 18 could be identified. They are buried on the site of Red Army Memorial in Svidník. To commemorate those events a T-34 tank was placed in the village in 1970.

Tragic mementos of those events are names of native villagers who lost their lives during the war. They were Peter Rodák, Ján Dubivský, Vasil Chovanec, Ján Hvozda, Anna Slivinská, Júlia Chovancová, Demeter Vanat, Vasil Kuchta, Mária Vanatová, Michal Vanat, Jozef Krajkovič, Vasil Kalin, Jozef Bernatský, Anna Kostiková, Zuzana Hvozdová.

The war left 6 widows and 19 orphans in the village, while Michal Kuchta, Anna Kuchtová and Jozef Rodák survived as invalids. A large amount of unused or unexploded ammunition was a source of grave danger after the war. 7-year Ján Rodák and 10-year Andrej Kuchta died in 1950 after explosion of a mortar shell. After another explosion in 1956, Michal Hvozda lost his arm. Even as late as 12th May 1983, explosion of an artillery shell in Nižná Pisaná caused death of 17-year old Vladimír Vančišin from Vyšná Pisaná.

A memorial for those who died during the war was unveiled in Vyšná Pisaná on 5th October 1988.

For citizens´ contribution to the Liberation, Dukla Commemorative Medal was awarded to Vyšná Pisaná by President Antonín Novotný in 1959, followed by Order of Red Star in 1969, awarded by new President Ludvík Svoboda.

Even today, occasional findings of active ammunition prevent citizens from forgetting the horrors of World War II.