Mike Judikovic

"Never forget what happened to the Jewish people.  Bring children to visit the Holocaust Memorial Center.  Never again."

Name at birth
Mikulas Judikovic
Date of birth
Where did you grow up?
Cecehov, Czechoslovakia (today Slovakia)
Name of father, occupation
Mark, Bought cattle from local farmers and then sold them in Prague.
Maiden name of mother, occupation
Malvina, Homemaker
Immediate family (names, birth order)
Parents, Clara, Lili, me, brother Dezider, Hedy and Lola
How many in entire extended family?
A number of aunts and uncles, one with 11 children.
Who survived the Holocaust?
Hedy, Lola and I were the only survivors.
I was sent to a labor camp when Germany took over in March, 1940 with about eight others from my town as well. We thought we were unlucky but those not sent ended up at Auschwitz. This was the Sixth Labor Battalion.  There is a book about it.  In 1982 we had a reunion in Israel.  There were survivors from twelve different countries. 

Some of the German labor camp supervisors were former German prisoners who had been let out. We built railroad tracks toward the Eastern front. We got up at 5 AM, had very little breakfast, worked until 6 PM, and had no dinner. We lived in a military barracks.  It had a leaky roof and had thirty people crowded in the room. 

In March, 1942 we were taken back to our town.  I worked with my father.  He was replaced by a Christian as owner though my father really had to run the business, as the Christian knew nothing.  My father was taken away in 1944 to Auschwitz.  There was a 6 AM to 6 PM curfew for Jews in our town.  I was hidden in an attic by a Christian friend of my father's.  Others also would hide me. 

In August, 1944, Russians were parachuted into the area to organize Partisans and I joined them in fighting.  We lived in the woods. One day I was in a square and saw my sister Hedy who had gotten Christian papers but we could not talk with each other.  I also had Christian papers but was halted and interrogated by a German officer.  I told him I did not speak German even though I did. He asked me what I did and I said I worked for a man named Martin Knap. They then opened the door and brought in Martin Knap.  I thought I was dead.  He said that I did work for him.  Another person was brought in and said my papers were authentic.  They both lied for me even though it would have meant their lives.  At the end I had to raise my hand in the Nazi salute of "Heil Hitler."  The partisans’ military commander was the brilliant Major Kunetzov.  The Russians were kind and even though we had little to eat we always had vodka. 

My parents perished in Auschwitz, my sister Clara, her husband and their two small children too. 
Name of Concentration / Labor Camp(s)
Where were you in hiding?
With Partisans, in the forest, had false papers.
Where did you go after being liberated?
After the war I returned to my town in May, 1945. Of the 3,100 Jews in the city before the war only 287 returned. My two surviving sisters also returned there. Our house had been greatly damaged. My sisters later immigrated to Detroit. I stayed in Czechoslovakia after the war when it came under Communist rule.
When did you come to the United States?
1972, In 1968 Czechoslovakia thought it had gained its freedom but the Russians invaded and sealed its borders. My wife who I met in Prague and married bribed a policeman so we could get a one week visa to Hungary for "a vacation”. We went there and then Yugoslavia. We got permission to go to Austria for one day. We then fled to Italy. The Czechs sentenced us to two years in prison in absentia. In Italy I worked for HIAS because I could speak so many languages. I was in Rome for 15 months. In 1972, I went to Canada and then the U.S. after a month.
Where did you settle?
Detroit, MI.
How is it that you came to Michigan?
Both my sisters had settled in Detroit and this is where I came.
Occupation after the war
A childhood friend, Herman Boehm, had come to America in 1946. He owned a dry cleaning place in Warren, Northpointe Cleaners, where I worked until I retired.
When and where were you married?
I married in 1947 in Prague.
Betty, Facialist for Kitty Wagner.
What do you think helped you to survive?
I was lucky.
What message would you like to leave for future generations?
Never forget what happened to the Jewish people.  Bring children to visit the Holocaust Memorial Center.  Never again.
Charles Silow
Interview date:
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