"It was real horror when we were on the platform. On the left side of the harbor there were ships with oil which came from Baku and they were all on fire because the whole harbor was bombed. On the right side there were ships that took away the wounded from the hospital. It was horrible situation and in the Germans kept on bombing. My mother would always throw me on the floor and lay over me and when it ended she got up and said: 'Thank God we are alive.' We waited for the Pushkin steamboat for three days and three nights. The ship then took us to Kuybyshev where we could finally feel safe. On the way we always sailed only during the day. In the nights we all had to get off the ship and stay at the riverbank and the ship was camouflaged so that the lights could not have been spotted."
"When my father served the compulsory service in the army, he sent a postcard to his brother that after the service, they would both go to Russia for work. But it was only my father who left. First he went to Poland, where was the youngest brother Karel from Nové Město and then he continued all the way down to Rostov-on-Don. There was a huge shoe manufacturing factory, an artel, and he started working there. He go to the foreman position and then he left to Stalingrad to a subsidiary of the artel. He never told me why he left or what exactly happened. And in Stalingrad he met my mother who worked at the leather manufacturing as a cutter."
"We were sitting by the church, there was a spa building and a white church, and my father was looking at it and then he says: 'Look, there was a woman walking into the church.' So he took his binoculars and observed the woman in the church. Finally he went to the Slovak police forces and they went there to check it. They found a transmitter in the tower. She was sending information to the Germans hiding in the surrounding area. The Slovaks took her away and I don't know what happened to her."
There was nothing left from our house in Stalingrad
Josef Andres was born on 11th March 1935 in Stalingrad into a mixed Czech-Russian family. His father came originally from Třebechovice pod Orebem near Hradec Králové and in 1920 he had left to work in the Soviet Union. He worked in a shoe factory in Rostov-on-Don and later also in a subsidiary factory of the same manufacturer in Stalingrad where he met his later wife Pelagia. The family built a house in Stalingrad. In 1940 Josef’s father was drafted to the Red Army and Josef stayed in Stalingrad with his mother. In August 1942 when the front line moved closer to the city they left on a steamboat on the Volga river to Kuybyshev (today’s Samara) and to Buzuluk where his father served in the Czechoslovak unit. His mother worked in the barracks and his father was the head of the army boots manufacturing workshop. In summer 1943 the whole family moved to Jefremov where Josef attended school classes but also learned to shoot, helped to nurse wounded soldiers and to gather wood. Josef Andres later got through Černovice, Humenné, Poprad and Kroměříž to do Prague where he took part in the parade march at the end of the war. His father got a shoe manufacturing workshop in Broumov which was nationalized by the Communist government in 1949. Josef Andres became an electrician. In 1950s he served the compulsory army service in Pardubice. He passed away on May, 20th, 2013.