They gave me a family, they gave me love. What could I want more?
The birth certificate of Marie Andělová says she was born on November 4, 1941 in Novostavce in Volhynia. However, the place and date of her birth raise questions. Before 1939, her mother Amálie Sutowská and her father Karel Sutowský had been still living in the Polish capital Warsaw. Her mother was allegedly of Jewish origin, and her family owned a textile shop and several houses in Warsaw. Marie unfortunately does not know her mother’s maiden name. She is not sure about her father’s origin, either, but he probably had some Polish ancestors. Her parents fled eastward during the war and they found asylum in the home of the Vondráček family in the village Novostavce in Volhynia which was five hundred kilometres away. Her father was arrested in Rovno some time at the end of 1942, and Marie’s mother went there to attempt to negotiate her husband’s release, but she has not returned home anymore. Both of Marie’s parents allegedly died in a death march from one of the concentration camps. Marie, who was less than a year old, was then cared for by Mr. and Mrs. Anastázie and Václav Vondráček, who were hiding her in spite of the danger from the Nazi authorities and Bandera’s bands. At the same time they cared for their two young children. Their son Miroslav later died during the bombardment of Rovno in 1944. The couple then adopted Marie as their own child during the re-emigration of Volhynian Czechs to Czechoslovakia in 1947. Marie thus arrived to Czechoslovakia with them. She learnt about her origin only when she turned eighteen, and to this day she is still immensely grateful to Anastázie and Václav Vondráček - to her mom and dad, as she herself calls them - for having saved her life.