Imrich Gallik was born to a family of Spiš (Zipser) Germans in Spišská Belá-Strážky on 16 August 1926. His father, who had fought in the Austro-Hungarian army in Russia, was a farmer. His mother was born in 1902 to a German family who had emigrated to the United States and returned to Slovakia in 1904. Imrich’s mother tongue was German and he attended a German school. He trained as a carpenter and from 1944 worked in a carpenter’s workshop. He was marched away on 10 March 1945 by two NKVD agents and a member of the People’s Militia, who told him he was leaving to work for three months in the USSR. He was then 18. He was taken to Levoča, Slovakia, and then to a transit camp in Sonok, Poland. Three months later he arrived at Nuzal camp in North Ossetia, where he worked as a carpenter in the camp workshop. Having a trade prevented him from having to work in the mines. Imrich Gallik has fond memories of the people he worked with. He stayed in the camp for three and a half years and was then released. He was taken to Frankfurt an der Oder in Germany, with no permission to return to Czechoslovakia. He crossed the Czech border illegally and returned to where he had been deported from, Spišská Belá-Strážky. After his return on 20 December 1948, Gallik took up his old job again. He married on 26 May 1951. He had no problems re-integrating after his return and concludes that “the socialist period did me no harm”. Today he lives with his family in the family house in Spišská Belá-Strážky, Slovakia.
The interview with Imrich Gallik was conducted in 2012 by Lubomira Valcheva and Alain Blum.