Blanka Andělová

* 1941  †︎ 2021

  • “Granddad made us a wonderful puppet theatre. He was an incredibly talented story-teller, and he came up with amazing fairy tales. He would play us fairy tales there, and we would sit transfixed. Me, the pathmasters Škrábals’ daughter Liduška, my cousin Karlík, another cousin Eda, and cousin Ola. He would always think up a fairy tale and tell us that we’d play it as a game the next day. So for example Liduška and I and my twelve-year-older cousin were each given a basket to carry. We had food in the basket, and our task was to take it down somewhere to the stream and leave it there. We did as we were told - so that the wolf wouldn’t eat Red Riding Hood, for example. It wasn’t until later that I found out we’d been taking food to the partisans, who picked it up later on in the evening. As children we knew nothing about it. We just played fairy-tale games. You don’t realise things like that until you grow up.”

  • “Another memory of something that I witnessed and that I can still see in front of me: It was perhaps October because I know that the day’s were getting short and the leaves had fallen. We were up on Dušná, and always when the uncles, as we called them - they were men in ‘hubertuses’, long trench coats, and usually with satchels - when they came there, we had to go outside. Grandma looked after us there. As she was playing with us outside, she noticed a unit of schutzpolizei on bikes with dogs coming up the long winding road to our cottage. Grandma knew that meant trouble, so she whistled. The men, I think there were three or four of them, rushed into the bunker that is still dug into a slope there. There was a tube which brought air in from the top. There was no door, just a hatch. So they rushed inside and Grandma closed the hatch behind them. The schutzpolizei and the Germans, with typical precision, stacked all their bikes up on the hatch. The dogs were getting frantic, but by that time Auntie had come outside, Mr Škrábal, Mrs Škrábalová, Grandma - simply, a lot of people. They asked if we had seen someone. Of course we hadn’t. So they left the bikes with us and set off to search the surrounding area. They searched everything with the dogs and came back in the evening. I still remember how awful I felt when one of the Germans took me into his arms and told me he had a little girl just like me. He said it in German and Grandma translated it. Then he took a box of chocolates out of his pocket. That was the first time ever I saw chocolate. Then they took their bikes and left. We could’ve all been dead on the spot.”

  • "You know, nowadays, it's hard to say anything about it. It was just like during the war for us during those years. People had to live. People had to work and they needed to take a break from time to time, they just needed to find the strength to live somehow. And in such a time of uncertainty, a lot of people would close up, so there were just those groups of people who trusted each other, who would mostly go hiking together, or they would just meet somewhere far away from pubs or some festivals and such."

  • "You know it's very... very hard. Parents always tried to protect us all, as children, from all of these stresses, anyway, we didn't understand it and we... as children, we were taught to say, 'Our daddy doesn't care about politics.' So it was more or less not talked about at home. Only when someone in the family or someone close to the family was arrested, then, of course, they would discuss it."

  • "We couldn't think about emigrating because my husband's parents were already quite old at that time and I only had my mother. And that feeling..., we just couldn't leave them here..., it was impossible. And besides, I had a two-month-old boy in my arms, right. Moreover, there was this credo, like when something happens to your homeland, you just wouldn't run away."

  • "I was alone. I lived with my mother. And suddenly my mom had to take care of me and my grandmother because my grandmother didn't have any pension, my grandmother had six children and she was at home all her life. And my grandfather was an invalid and they gave him 150 crowns a month. And my mother, actually, when she tried to look for my father until 1948, she became sick. She was seriously ill, no wonder, right. And we basically had nothing to eat. Because she didn't qualify for an orphan's pension, I didn't have an orphan's pension, she didn't have a widow's pension, because my dad was no longer there."

  • "Well... Here, people would easily take pitchforks into their hands, yeah, it was very difficult. It took quite a long time. Again, on the other side, the first fields that were taken were those down around the Bečva river where the land was flat. No one really wanted to go farm those clearings, they couldn't get in there with a tractor, so nobody was interested in that. So the old people, they would just spend the rest of their lives there, even though they were supposed to meet some harsh quotas and I don't know what. But what happened at that time was that those kids started running away from those farms."

  • "... and my grandmother was outside watching us. Then my grandma looked down, and the house has been standing till now, it's still there, where the road bends sharply, and down below the curve there's quite a long road that climbs quite steeply. And standing at that road we saw a group of Germans on bicycles with dogs coming our way. And my grandmother just whistled, and I noticed that about three or four people ran out of that house, I was just a child..., but I know there weren't many of them, and they disappeared into that bunker. It was actually dug into this kind of spur, hidden in the trees. Well, it didn't even have a door. Grandma followed them, there were just these boards that covered the entrance. My grandmother covered it up, and when the Germans came, as the disciplined German troops they were, they rested their bicycles against this hatch."

  • “I can see him, and that was just before his arrest, when he knew it was coming. During Christmas 1944, we were sledging together from the bank of the Bečva [River] down into the Bečva. It was a very cold winter with lots of snow. Dad was standing there, he had a hat on his head and a long leather coat and black shoes. Whenever I slid down, I would see the shoes. He seemed awfully tall to me. I was still a small child. I can’t remember him ever shouting at me, and I remember him always laughing with me, taking me piggyback, or on the motorbike with Mum.”

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    Vsetín, 03.02.2015

    duration: 03:18:29
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
  • 2

    Prlov, 04.07.2019

    duration: 01:57:01
    media recorded in project Stories of the region - Central Moravia
  • 3

    Prlov, 05.07.2019

    duration: 51:14
    media recorded in project Stories of the region - Central Moravia
Full recordings are available only for logged users.

The day when everyone was celebrating, her father died in a concentration camp

Blanka Andělová
Blanka Andělová
photo: archiv pamětnice

Blanka Andělová, née Prokešová, was born 19 December 1941 in Vsetín. Her father Ladislav Prokeš, a pathmaster, joined the resistance. He organised fugitives’ escapes over the border and closely cooperated with local resistance groups. Among other things he was responsible for securing a weapons air drop in the vicinity of Vsácký Cáb. On 5 January 1945 her father was arrested by the Gestapo, and in the night from 3 to 4 May 1945 he died in the concentration camp in Plattling. But his family did receive his death certificate until in 1968. This was because her father had worked with resistance groups that the Communist regime decided to blacklist, and for many years it was not possible to inquire about his fate. The family could not visit the place of his death until after the fall of the Communist regime. Blanka Andělová remembers her father only vaguely, nonetheless, his bravery greatly influenced the way she sees the world. As she herself says, she always tried to tell the truth, and she never joined the Communist Party. She says this caused her many a problem in her life. Blanka Andělová died on January 4th, 2021.