Květuše Thekla Bartoníčková
"My early memories are from the time of the second world war, when the life of our family changed. My father was mayor during the Protectorate, and in March 1939 he was named District Head of the National Trust [a formal grouping of all political parties during the Protectorate - transl.] for Slaný. I remember how my father found out that we would be searched, for the first time. He came home from Slaný (the car spent the whole war on logs - petrol was for military purposes) and started telling Mum something in an angry whisper. Mum gave the serving girl who helped out with the housework the afternoon off. She brought a large egg basket from the hen coop and started picking out books from the library. Her eyes were full of tears. I couldn't understand, why she's throwing out books, I mean she herself told me to respect books. I was afraid to ask her, myself caught with an uneasy dread. I watched her in silence. After a while Mum looked at me thoughtfully, she came up to me and said, slowly and emphatically: 'You mustn't tell anyone about what I'm doing now. It'll be our big secret.' For three night she and Dad burnt books in the central heating boiler. I heard them return from the boiler room. They completed these night activities in time, because soon after they started with the profound searches of the whole estate, checking for weapons, captives in hiding or paratroopers, or forbidden literature in the library. These searches went on until the end of the war, same as the inspection of grain supply and cattle. Such inspections took place on almost every farm. When I later compared the Gestapo searches with those of the Communists, I must say that our people were much worse than them in their ruthlessness and disregard."
"In the autumn of 1942 when the Germans were locking up and executing many innocent people as revenge for the assassination of the protector, an anonymous allegation appeared claiming my mum, Jarmila Hořejší, was of Jewish descent. In November of that year members of the Kladno Gestapo arrived, arrested her and took her to Kladno. I remember the horror and despair that took hold of me as a seven-year-old girl. I knew from hearsay about the suffering and the executions. I ran straight into my parents' room and began praying ever so fast to the holy picture above the bed, that my mum come home safely. I then continued with the prayer 'Angel of God, my guardian dear...' In the meantime, Dad and Grandma didn't wait to react and drove off to Kladno. Dad later told of how after arriving at the Gestapo station, Grandma resolutely demanded to see the commander. She refused to speak with any one else. When talking to the commander, she made mince-meat of the anonymous allegations and expressed wonderment that they did not investigate the matter ahead of time. Dad got a somewhat ambivalent impression from the exchange, as he did not know good German, and at times he feared he would be returning home alone. Especially when the commander raised his voice at Grandma and Grandma answered with even greater force. But when the commander gave Grandma a salute at the end, Dad saw it was all going well. And so our Grandma managed to save Mum thanks to her knowledge of German and most of all thanks to her courage to do what was needed at the right moment. (We then had to produce our family tree to show Mum didn't have any Jewish ancestors.)"
"Sometime in the beginning of June 1942 a truck with armed soldiers arrived at house number 1 in Otruby. It stopped in the middle of the yard. An officer got out of the front - I don't know his rank - and gave a terse question to my father who was mayor at the time. After a few minutes of muffled speech, Dad sent for his mother-in-law, my grandma Božena Durasová, who had studied in Germany for some years back in the 19th century, and so she explained to them in good German that there is no Horák estate in place they arrived at, and that Lidice near Otruby are not the Lidice near Kladno that they were aiming for. But the officer still went to the village hall with my dad and Mr. František Husák - who kept a register of the local inhabitants - and the officer had them show him the list of inhabitants and went through it very carefully. When the officer assured himself that there is no one with the name of Horák on the list, he thanked them, got into the front of the truck and drove off. No one had a clue that these soldiers would play a part in the horrors that took place in Lidice near Buštěhrad."
Vlastivědné muzeum ve Slaném, 17.02.2010
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One day you’ll be cursing us for liberating you.
Květuše Thekla Bartoníčková, née Hořejší, was born on the 14th of February 1935 in Vinařice near Kladno. The second of three children of František and Jarmila Hořejší, she spent her childhood on the family farm in Otruby near Slaný. She graduated from the nursing school in Kladno. She worked as a nurse in Louny and in Prague. In 1990 she took to farming on her estate in Otruby.