of the Gulag
Osvald Mayer was born on 14 February 1941. His father, Viktor Mayer, a Spiš (Zipser) German Protestant, was then working as a forester. His mother was a Slovak Catholic. Osvald had a sister and a brother. His sister was baptised a Catholic and he and his brother Protestants. Osvald’s mother tongue was Slovak but he also spoke German. A few days after his fourth birthday in February 1945, his father was taken away by NKVD agents who had come for him on his worksite in the forest, between Ždiar and Tatranská Kotlina. They had come from Javorina, through Ždiar, and were on their way to Spišská Belá. Viktor Mayer was taken from Spišská Belá to Levoča, then to Sanok, and from there by train to the USSR. After his father’s deportation, the family moved into the paternal house in Spišská Belá, where Osvald still lives. The German members of his father’s side of the family were all expelled to Germany. His mother’s family stayed in Slovakia. Osvald stayed with his mother’s family and wrote to his relatives in Germany, who had moved to West Germany when the GDR was founded. Viktor Mayer was tracked down by the U.S. Red Cross in Nuzal camp in North Ossetia in the Caucasus. He was then moved to Zaporizhia camp in Ukraine. His family exchanged letters with him until he died there on 1 May 1948. Osvald Mayer attended a vocational school in Žilina. Then, in the 1960s, he was sent to the Auxiliary Technical Battalions (PTP) of the Czechoslovak army. After 1989 he researched his father’s deportation. He now lives in Spišská Belá.