Margit Bartošová

* 1939

  • "Actually, immediately after the 1990s, the former people who lived here, who were born and raised here, started coming here, and of course the first trip was to the museum, because before the revolution they didn't have the opportunity to go to the archive or anywhere, so only then did the way open up for them. Many of them wrote very beautiful books about the history of the cities and towns here. The first stop was Špindlerův Mlýn. The gentleman, unfortunately, died last year, Mr. Richter, the first book he wrote here about those cities, there are always a lot of photos in those books. And they were lucky that a lot of people were still alive, that they could still contact those people and that they could get some family photos, some interesting things from them. So I have to say that we had a lot of acquaintances among these people. For example, a beautiful book is about Lánov, Lower and Middle Lánov. I then used it, because I actually started accompanying German tourists after I retired."

  • "But he had problems in that museum with Flégl, and he just... One story as an example: Everyone certainly remembers that there were so-called Swedish shirts, it was a shirt with those buttons. My husband had one and he came to work in it and he said, 'What are you wearing?' And he says, 'Well, that's the fashion now, it's called a Swedish shirt.' And he says, 'Well, if it was Russian, no one would wear it.'' He really was such a zealot. Also, when we back then, but that's later. When we beat Russia in hockey, as it was the great glory, there was a band set up in the car factory - that was actually after 68, in 69, right? And there was a parade through the city, I have never seen a bigger parade in my life, and all the museum workers were at the house where Mr. Flégl, the former director of the museum, lived, and they wanted to break his windows there. And we had to restrain them a lot so that they wouldn't do it.''

  • "At that time there at the factory there were... well, it was such a concentration camp. It was such a long building with several rooms, and Jewish women lived there during the war, we called them Jewish women, because the Gross Rosen concentration camp was actually not far across the border. There were a lot of them in Žacléř and also in Bernartice. They worked in the textile factory and I, so I have the feeling that no one cared about them much, because they were walking outside, that my mother and I went on a walk with them. And my mother talked to them. Well, and now to that: the war ended, they didn't have employees for the textile factory, and somehow in the 1950s, when the monasteries were dissolved, in the same camp where the nuns were during the war, excuse me, the Jewish women, there the nuns lived, who worked in that factory. And we were friends with them, because they were so young, cheerful. They always waited for us when we left school, they came to see us off, because I had to walk half an hour to school there and another half hour back. They rode bikes there, went to play football with us, but they were so cheerful. I don't know where they disappeared. One of the nuns even smuggled us into their dormitory, because they had such a chapel built there and wanted to show us how beautiful it was there. The Mother Superior was not allowed to know that. They had a wonderful choir, which made a lot of people go to church because they always sang in church there."

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    Vrchlabí, 08.07.2021

    duration: 01:16:18
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
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So that there is no hatred between Czechs and Germans

Margit Bartošová in 1975
Margit Bartošová in 1975
photo: archive of the witness

Margit Bartošová, née Kirchschlagerová, was born on October 24, 1939 in Vrchová, a settlement that is today part of Bernartice u Trutnova, close to the border with Germany (today with Poland). She comes from a mixed family, her father Friedrich was German, her mother Vilemína Czech. Margit did not see her father for the first six years of her life, as he had to enlist in the Wehrmacht. He lived through the war as a driver for German officers in various countries occupied by the Nazis. The family was not deported after the war, because the father worked as a miner in the Žaclér mines and Czechoslovakia needed miners. Margit graduated from the Higher School of Economics in Trutnov, after graduation she worked in administration and after her wedding she lived and still lives in Vrchlabí. There she met her husband, museum worker and historian Miloslav Bartoš, who is the author of a number of books and articles on the history of the Krkonoše Mountains. Both of them devoted their entire lives to the complicated Czech-German relations in the Krkonoše region and the history of the Krkonoše Mountains. Bartoš, a museum curator, wrote a number of books on this topic, contributed to the local press and professional publications for years, and worked at KRNAP throughout his professional life, including as director. Margit Bartošová still maintains numerous contacts with the original German inhabitants of the Giant Mountains, accompanies them on visits to Bohemia and helps them identify the places where their families once lived. She is an active member of the Center for Czech-German Understanding in Trutnov.