“The Czechs disappointed me terribly after the war. My [female] friends could sleep over whenever they needed to, but when I needed their parents to sign that I hadn’t done anything, they refused and kicked me out.”
“[I came out after the bombing] and there was a dead horse, and a burnt-out tram by the red church... it was bad. It happened that... The cuckoo sang out each time to say the planes were overhead, that the bombers were coming to Czechoslovakia. Back then the tram still went via Kobližná to the old town hall. I know that one time I got into the tram from the other side, and one man stood next to me, and we held on from the outside because the door had closed. The tram set off, I held on with my hands, but I felt that I couldn’t hold on any longer, I let go and fell off... But I got up and walked, and there were people rushing by me from the city, and I looked and my knee was broken and there was blood all over the place.”
“There in the Kauničky, I saw so much evil. One time they called me down to the cellar, where they were beating boys with lashes, demanding that they tell them where so and so is, or I don’t know what... but they didn’t know anything, they just cried. Or another time I came into one room, and there were lots of Germans lying on planks and moaning and crying and wailing. One of them had some pincers, and he was pulling skin from inside his throat. I guess he must have drunk some acid. Or, they grabbed me and pulled me under a gallows where Czechs were hanged, and they threatened me: ‘You’ll hand here as well!’ Such were the times, you endured everything.”
Edita Bártlová, née Tluková, was born 9 March 1926 into a working-class family; she grew up in Brno. Her mother, Marie née Legnerová, was Czech, her father, Johann Tluk, was of German ethnicity. She had a brother, Tomáš. Practically from the time of her birth, the witness was raised by her German grandmother. She did not return to her mother until the beginning of the war, when her grandmother moved to her daughter’s house in the German-occupied town of Zábřeh, and Edita’s parents definitively split up. By then, Edita was already working as a shop assistant at a haberdashery. The greatest impact of the war came after the liberation, in May 1945, when she personally experienced the hatred aimed at Germans. As a half-German she was interned with other Brno citizens of German descent in Kounice Students’ Hall. She was raped and forced into slave labour. She was released after three months. Her German relatives were deported from Zábřeh in 1946, she never saw her beloved grandparents again. Her father remained in Ostrava, but she did not meet him until the 1960s.