“In thirty-eight, when the border regions were full of Czech soldiers with horses, those were rough times. They had six horses in the corridor, in the barn and the corridor, there was a trough with water in the middle, and we had to navigate our way through that all the time. It was ugly. One soldier guarded the entrance, and others had patrol duty around the house. Dvoračka [the neighbouring lodge – trans.] had a horse, which grazed in the meadow, secured. There didn’t have any staff there at the time, everyone had legged it because they were afraid what would happen, war was to break out. The horse had to be fed, Dad would take him into the pasture, where it was tied up the whole day, and the evening he’d go bring it back into the barn, where he’d give it clean water. And one time when he went to bring it in one afternoon, the soldiers were drinking, they were drunk, and they were shooting into the air, playing. I was five years old. Dad said he’d go to the meadow the get the horse, and I said: ‘I’ll go with you.’ Dad said: ‘No, you can’t. Look, the soldiers are shooting there, something might happen to you.’ And I replied: ‘Well if they can shoot you, they can shoot me too.’”
“They wanted to move us out of the border region, so they sent us to the Javorek State Farm, beyond Jilemnice. Three families from Rokytnice. They moved us into a little house by the pond: stone walls, cold and wet, literally, so our furniture and everything caught a mould. No matter how much we ventilated, heated, it was no use, we had drops forming on wires. So we stayed there for three years. I attended my last year of school in Jilemnice, so did my sister. Dad kept applying [to return to Dvoračky - ed.] because we weren’t happy. Two Bulgarians moved into our house in Dvoračky, and they did such a bad job of everything that the cattle died and they abandoned it a year later. Then there was another taker, who kept it a bit better, but he killed himself on a motorbike, so it was abandoned again. Back then it was owned by Interhotels, they took it over, and the staff had to look after both the cattle and the building. They had to milk the cows, churn butter, all those jobs were hard work, so they got the staff from Dvoračka to do it. Dad knew there were strangers employed there, so we could be employed there too, and he kept requesting that. We came home in fifty-one. Dad was employed as a coachman because there were horses there too, and Mum was a chambermaid. They tended to the meadows down below in the summer, they had their work cut out for them.”
“The staff kept changing in Štumpovka; they lived there, one manager after another they took turns, no one lasted for long because it wasn’t an easy living, and in that year ninety it was to be taken over by a new tenant again. They taking stock, and they threw the bedclothes on to the hot storage heater. They went off next door to Dvoračka, had some drinks, came back at midnight thinking they’d go to bed; they opened the door, flames burst out, and the whole thirty-metre house burnt to ashes within an hour. It was topped by the metal roof, and smoke came out the chimney. Then they phoned us, we drove all the way up there in our car, it was dreadful. The police was watching it. The staff that had been staying there made lots of claims, said they had jewellery there and all kinds of things that had burned, so the insurance company didn’t give us much for the things in the inventory, just a small sum.”
Krista Bartoníčková was born in Dvoračky in the hills above Rokytnice nad Jizerou on 17 September 1933 as the first-born daughter of Mr and Mrs Stumpe. Her parents had a farm high up in the Krkonoše Mountains. Mr Stumpe always moved to the New Silesian Cabin for the winter, where he improved his income by tending to the skis of tourists while Krista stayed at home with her mother, who had to make the four-kilometre trek down to Rokytnice for supplies. The money her father saved up allowed him to finish building their own estate, which they expanded to include a small guesthouse in 1936. It took several years for the family to acquire permission to operate the guesthouse because the neighbouring Dvoračka Lodge did not want to allow any competition. Little Krista experienced the burden of war as she was staying with relatives to be nearer to her school and grieved with them for the loss of their sons in battle. The family was afflicted by both the war and the post-war deportation of Sudeten Germans, which directly affected many of their relatives and friends. As proven anti-Fascists, the Stumpes were allowed to stay, but their guesthouse was confiscated together with their Czechoslovak citizenship, and they were forced to move into a damp-ridden house in the Javorek State Farm near Jilemnice. Krista was a good learner and wanted to study at a business academy, but she was only allowed to work in agriculture. After some time she found employment in a kitchen and trained as a cook. In the end she received her apprenticeship certificate in her native Dvoračky, where the family was allowed to return in 1951 after their citizenship had been returned to them. However, they were denied ownership of their house, and when the estate was returned to them in restitution after 1989, it burnt to the ground. The family received scarce compensation from their insurance, and so they sold the land where the new Štumpovka stands today. Krista raised two children with her husband, a daughter Jana and a son Josef. In 2013 she was widowed after 56 years of marriage; she lives in Vysoká nad Jizerou.