14 July 1928|
Vysoka nad Uhom, Michalovce District
|Died||22 November 1944(aged 16)|
|Venerated in||Roman Catholic Church|
|Major shrine||Pavlovce nad Uhom|
|Patronage||Young people, family relations|
Anna was born on 14 July 1928 in the village of Vysoka nad Uhom, outside the city of Michalovce, in the eastern Slovak region of Zemplin, in what was then a part of the newly formed Czechoslovakia. She was born to father Ján Kolesár, known to friends as "Hruška", and mother Anna (née Kušnírová). They had Anna baptized the day after her birth. The family was described as a pious farming family that attended church regularly and lived out their faith in their daily lives.
When Anna was ten years old, her mother died, and it fell on Anna to look after the household, as well as her older brother Michal. Her life was described as modest and simple, going regularly to church. After completing her household chores, she would often go to mass with her friends.
During the autumn of 1944, the Second World War was approaching its final and bloodiest phase, the Eastern front was passing through the eastern Slovak district of Michalovce, which was then apart of Hungary. During this violent transition period, the inhabitants of Vysoká and the surrounding villages would hide in their cellars, waiting for the shelling and fighting to end.
On 22 November, the village was occupied by the Soviet Red Army troops. Jan Kolesár sheltered with his family and their neighbors in the cellar under the kitchen. During a tour of the house, a drunken Soviet soldier discovered the hideout and peered inside. At first, at her fathers insistence, Anna emerged from the hideout, walked up to the kitchen served the soldier with food and water.
Due to the uncertainty of the war, she and the other women of the village wore black dresses in order not to attract unwanted attention to themselves, and to discourage improper behavior from the soldiers. Despite this however, the soldier later started to make sexual advances towards her. When she refused him, he ordered her, either to sleep with him or be killed. She, however, despite his threats to shoot her, again refused. She pulled herself out of his grip and ran back to the basement. The soldier pursued her, then allowed her to say goodbye to her father before he pointed his PPSh-41 automatic rifle at her and killed her on the spot.
Despite the massive fighting that was ongoing around the village, Anna was buried the next day in the evening. Because of the uneasy situation, the funeral was conducted in secret, even without a priest present. Proper funeral rites were performed one week later by Father Anton Lukac on 29 November.
Lucac, who was the parish priest in the nearby village of Pavlovce nad Uhom later himself investigated Anna's death. He interviewed the villagers and obtained signed statements from five witnesses. He then recorded the incident into the parish chronicles of Pavlovce. Another native of the village, the Jesuit priest Fr. Michal Potocky, also gave testimony about Anna's life and the circumstances surrounding her death. Despite this, after the war, the new socialist government of Czechoslovakia banned mention of the incident, and strictly enforced a ban on any open gatherings at the grave site.
The house where Anna Kolesárova once lived still remains in the village of Vysoka. It is today used by a Catholic youth organization which was founded and dedicated to Anna's memory. That organization; Domcek, is organizing in volunteer work, prayer, workshops, sports games and social events. There are also frequent pilgrimages to Anna's grave, and three times a year in February, April and August, at nearby Pavlovce there is a large Catholic youth gathering, dedicated to Anna's legacy and this is increasingly popular among young Catholics of the region.
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