I was awfully sorry for those children, that’s why I did it
Květoslava Bartoňová, née Axmanová, was born on 7 March 1928 in Olomouc. She experienced dramatic fighting in the city district of Neředín at the end of World War II. Her family was the only one in the street to refuse evacuation. While the Germans held a defensive position in trenches right in their garden, the Soviet soldiers attacked from the windows of the neighbouring house. The four-member Axman family survived these dramatic moments barricaded up in the cellar. Shortly after the war, as a student at the Teacher’s Institute in Olomouc, the witness was sent with a collection of clothes and other necessary items to the Valley of Death in Slovakia, where the toughest tank battles of the Carpatho-Dukla Operation took place in 1944. She found extreme poverty and a utterly destroyed landscape, and although she was only eighteen years old, she decided to help. Under the patronage of the Czechoslovak Society, she arranged for the transportation and one-year residence of forty-five children in Olomouc, together with the adoption of twelve orphans. The witness and those close to her were sorely affected by the period of Communist rule. For her opinions of the regime, Květoslava Bartoňová was often transferred from one small village school to another. The Communists nationalised the cotton weaving mill in Jedlí that belonged to the family of her husband Miloslav, and her aunt, Sister Anna Axmanová, was sentenced to six years in prison at a show trial with Witková and co. In the late 1980s, Květoslava Bartoňová’s only son Miloslav died of cancer at the age of thirty-six. To this day the witness is convinced that this was related to the explosion of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant because at the time her son happened to be working as a skiing instructor on the slopes of the High Ash Mountains, the area most strongly affected by the radioactive fallout in Czechoslovakia.