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Gerik, Viliam

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28.12.1920 Slovenský Meder /
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30.04.1947 Praha /
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(maximálně tři)
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parašutista skupiny ZINC
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popraven za vlastizradu
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Viliam Gerik

* 28.12.1920, Slovenský Meder
+ 30.04.1947, Prague (executed)

He was born on 28 December 1920 in the village of Slovenský Meder, now Palárikovo, in southern Slovakia. His father Peter was a wheelwright on the estate of Count Károly, his mother helped with farm work. Viliam had 4 siblings, František, Jan - he was killed in the SNP at Štírovo, Mária and Štefánia. After the municipal school he completed 4 more years of burgher school.

His native village was occupied by the Horthy Hungary in 1938 and Viliam decided to move to Slovakia, to Bratislava, where he found a job in the Luxor department store. After the declaration of the Slovak state he decided to go abroad and fight against fascism, in February 1940 he went to his uncle in Šurana and from there via Hungary, where he had no problems due to his excellent knowledge, to Belgrade, Yugoslavia. From there he was sent via Greece, Turkey to French Syria. From Beirut he sailed on a ship to Marseilles, France. Through the fortress of the Foreign Legion, he then arrived at the Czechoslovak army, in April 1940 he was presented to the Czechoslovak army in Agde, was assigned to the 8th company of the 1st Infantry Regiment, underwent basic training and from 9 June 1940 took part in the fighting of Czechoslovak troops against the advancing Wehrmacht.

After the French defeat, the regiments withdrew back to Agde and from there moved to evacuate to the Gulf of Lion, to the port of Séte, where they boarded the Egyptian cargo ship Rod El Farag and sailed with her on 27 June 1940 via Gibraltar to England. They landed in Liverpool harbour on 12 July 1940, from where they were transported by train to a military tent camp at Cheshire-Cholmondeley, near Chester. Here he was officially presented to the Czechoslovak Foreign Army in England in August at the rank of private and assigned to the 2nd Battalion Signal Platoon. After his posting, he underwent training in radio telegraphy and volunteered for special intelligence duties in his homeland. On 27.10.1941 he was sent to the basic sabotage and strike course STS -26 at Cammus Darah Scottish Farm, on completion of which from 24.11.1941 he underwent steam training on STS-51 at Ringway. 08.12.1941 he was sent to the Czechoslovak station STS-2 in Bellasis, commanded by Sgt. J. Šustr and there he was further trained e.g. in shooting, but his training was mainly focused on his specialty - radiotelegraphy. On 27.01.1942 he was assigned to the Military Radio Headquarters Woldingham near Redhill in Surrey, here his radio practice took place directly in operation, according to the records he received 54 and sent 20 dispatches to Czechoslovakia. On 01.02.1942 he was promoted to Lance Corporal.

He was characterized by his superiors as attentive, perceptive and intelligent with exemplary behavior. Because of his excellent results he was assigned to the ZINC para-group. He himself felt a certain handicap in his Slovakian language when deployed in the Bohemian area and requested to be sent with intelligence tasks on the territory of Slovakia, however, the request was refused, the situation in Slovakia was not yet suitable for a landing from Britain according to the commanding officers. During his time in the British Isles he was well liked by the other soldiers, but suffered from a complex about his small stature and was one of the few who had no acquaintance among the English girls. The ZINC group, along with Out Distance, was dropped from a British base on the night of 27-28 March 1942 in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia. The commander of the landing party was npor. Oldřich Pechal, then rtn. Arnošt Mikš and Viliam Gerik held the position of telegraphist in the group, he was equipped with a fake ID in the name of Vilém Gertík.

The task of the group was to establish communication with the VRU, intelligence activities in the area of the Buchlov forests and Uherské Hradiště, organization and management of sabotage actions in the area. They were provided with 3 intercept addresses. Due to a navigational error, the group was dropped off, instead of at the foot of the Moravian Chřiby Mountains, on the Moravian-Slovak border near the Slovak village of Gbely. They stored their parachutes and radios (3 LÍPA radio sets) in an abandoned hayloft and headed west to Moravia. The group carried with them in their suitcases only financial means - 3 million in occupation crowns and marks and the agency station MARK 5. During the crossing, the advantage of his nationality was shown and with his help the group duly reached the guarded border. At Skalice, therefore, they split up and the commander advanced behind them. Just at the border the group failed to meet and Gerik and Mikš crossed alone at Rohatec and reached Buchlovice by train, where they eventually managed to meet the commander, who had great difficulty in crossing the border. From Buchlovice they tried to make contact, but found that the station was damaged. In this situation, the commander decided to send Mikš and Gerik to Prague, where they would try to contact the resistance at contact addresses. Gerik went to Prague first and he and Mikš were to meet at the agreed place.

At the time of Gerik's training, the intelligence department of the Czechoslovak army in England had absolutely minimal information about the real situation in the Protectorate; no one knew about the disclosure of many addresses to which the paratroopers were referred. They did not even know about the actual liquidation of all the main resistance groups. Intelligence officers could not estimate the extent of the collaboration and fear that Germany had managed to unleash in the Protectorate during the three years of occupation. The widespread executions of entire families of resistance collaborators reliably succeeded in discouraging many people from any intentions to help. The Czech gendarmerie was actively involved in the fight against the so-called agents, and the number of denunciations and various notices sent by citizens loyal to the Reich against their neighbours is said to have surprised even Haydrich himself. The German army was advancing successfully on all fronts, and in Bohemia itself many positive measures were introduced for the workers to improve their standard of living under the carrot and stick method. Many accepted the situation and began to benefit from it.

In this atmosphere, on 2 April 1942, Viliam Gerik arrived in Prague, tried to intercept at the contact addresses, but was firmly refused by everyone, with the recommendation that he should rather apply himself and thus save other people from misfortune. The young Slovak was negatively received even by honest-minded people, for he was a member of the nation that had betrayed Czechoslovakia in 1939 and was now successfully fighting alongside the Wehrmacht on the Soviet front, so they rightly feared provocation by the Gestapo. They were told in London that they would be enthusiastically received everywhere, and yet he was thrown out everywhere, even when he begged for food. Gerik wandered around Prague the next day with his pockets full of money, but he could not even buy bread without food stamps; he was hungry, disappointed and desperate. Once again Mikš failed to show up for the appointment and Gerik had to sleep under the bridge. On April 4, 1942, Gerik, completely exhausted and hungry, turned himself in at the Police Headquarters in Prague, demanding to be transported to Slovakia as a Slovak national, but was immediately handed over to the Gestapo office in Prague. At the Gestapo, he was put in charge of Gestapo interrogator Oskar Fleischer, who was able to judge the young, inexperienced Gerik perfectly, and although he was renowned for his rudeness, he was able to break him down with his kindness, which he did not get much from the members of the nation he had come from England to help. The broken young man had divulged to him not only the details of his training in England, but also the composition of another group that had been dropped OUT DISTANCE on the same night, and especially the details of the hiding place of their radios in Slovakia and the details of the remaining two members of ZINC.

The Gestapo attempted to use Gerik in the role of provocateur in a similar way to Churda, but he proved to be totally unsuitable for this activity. After the successful liquidation of the assassins in the Church of Sts. Cyril and Methodius, Fleischer managed to get half of the 5 million crowns reward paid into Gerik's account at the Kreditanstalt der Deutschen, and at the same time arranged for him to be sublet to Milada Lebdušáková at 7 Templová Street, Prague 1. He was deployed on the trail of the BIVOUAC and BIOSCOP groups, but he was very reluctant to carry out the tasks assigned to him and avoided them in every possible way; he also tried to help the resistance fighters in their tasks. At that time he began to plan intensively his escape to Hungary or Switzerland, from where he wanted to get back to London. The Gestapo stopped trusting him and put a well-known agent, Augustin Preucil, posing as a resistance worker, whom the naive Gerik, hoping for his help, confided in. He was arrested by the Gestapo on 6 April 1943, imprisoned under the name of Václav Novák in Prague at Pankrác until July, then transferred to Terezín and from there to the concentration camp at Dachau on 28 October 1943. In Dachau he was assigned to the radio receiver repair department. There is no information about his work in the KT, but it can be assumed that he accepted the situation and thus lived to the end of the war.On 23 May 1945, Gerik returned to Prague as part of the repatriation of prisoners from Dachau. The bank where he had his account had already been closed and his sublet with Mrs. Lebdusakova had been occupied.

On May 24, 1945, he turned himself in at the Intelligence Department of Colonel Palecek and was arrested.

On June 11, 1945 he managed to escape from the custody of the Military Court in Prague Uršulinki and tried to get to his friends in the liaison company of the 1st Czechoslovak Armored Brigade, from whom he hoped that they would believe in his innocence and good efforts and help him in the situation, well aware that in the post-war era it would be difficult to defend himself and he would face the maximum penalty. Not long after his escape he was apprehended in Nasavrky. He was tried for military treason, collaboration and other crimes and sentenced to death.

On 30 April 1947 at 11.45 a.m. he was executed by hanging (12 minutes before the traitor Dick)

SHOLC, J.: There were few men[/i]

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