Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Maria Gulovich: Slovak for the OSS

Maria Gulovich's identity card, 1942.
Museum of The Slovak National Uprising, Banska Bystrica, Slovakia

No one had forced Maria to spend a month of nights sleeping in the grade school classroom where she was a teacher in the town of Hrinova, Slovakia, while two Jews hid in her own tiny room next door. When a leader in the Slovakian Resistance, Captain Milan Polak, discovered what she was doing, he gave Maria an ultimatum: either face Nazi arrest for hiding the Jews or work for him as a courier for the Resistance. She chose to become a courier after Polak promised to help the Jews find other shelter.

But it seemed that Maria had no choice when, abandoned by the Soviets she had been ordered to work for as an interpreter in Banska Bystrica, the town that had been a center of the Slovakian Uprising, she was kindly invited to flee the oncoming German onslaught with the Americans who had been using that town as a base of operations. They were working for the OSS, a U.S. espionage organization . . .

Her direct superior, General Rudolf Viest, a Slovak commander whom Maria respected, gave her a formal release from the disintegrating CFI, telling her, "You stay with the Americans, Maria. You know the mountains, the languages, the people, and the political situation. Help them in any way you can."

Excerpt from "Maria Gulovich: Slovak for the OSS," from Women Heroes of World War II: 26 Stories of Espionage, Sabotage, Resistance, and Rescue.

("You stay . . . " Quote taken from page 75 of Maria Gulovich: OSS Heroine of World War II by Sonya N. Jason).

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