Marie Bednaříková

* 1921  

  • “Men and women were kept separated there. The men were living in the upper part of the camp and women in the lower part. There was a road and there was a wooden footbridge across the road. We women would use that footbridge to get coffee and food. It was strictly prohibited for us to set foot on the men’s part of the camp. Anyone who violated this order ended up in the death cell. And the Jews? They took everything they had. They stripped them of all their belongings. In the winter, they were wrapped up in newspaper in order not to freeze to death. They pumped water on them and loaded them up onto carts. Then they loaded timber on them. There was a sculptor, Španiel (Otakar Španiel), who created beautiful statues of Hanačka and Hanák from snow. There also were a lot of insects that would bite us all the time. We were really badly bitten by them.”

  • “It was after the assassination of Heydrich. Whoever was related to somebody who had gone abroad was arrested. We spent at first two weeks in Lipník and then we got transferred to Svatobořice where there were plenty of us.”

  • “I was dating this boy before the war. When they locked me up, he came to visit me in prison. I told him: ‘Look, nobody knows if I’ll ever get out of prison. Don’t wait for me’. But eventually I was released. By then he had already found a new love. He wanted to come back to me later but I wasn’t interested anymore.”

  • “Kozlov was 2 kilometers away. The Germans lived in Kozlov and Ranošov was 2 kilometers away. Kyjanice. Loser was there. He was a German.” Interviewer: “How did the people get along with each other before the war? Were you Czechs meeting the Germans?” “Well, we had a church there and the Germans used to come to our church. Two subsequent ceremonies were held, one in Czech and one in German. The next time, the German service was in the morning and it was followed by a service held in Czech. When the people were leaving the church, the Czech lads would throw stones at the Germans and force them out of the village.”

  • “There were some 2000 people crowded in three buildings. Building Nr. 1 and 2 was inhabited by the Gestapo and the police. Nr. 3, 4 and 5 was for the inmates. I lived in building Nr. 4 and Mrs. Hiemerová lived in Nr. 5. That building was a little lower, closer to the gate. That’s where the citizens of Svatobořice were passing us bread underneath the gate’s doors. We were guarded by the wardens and when they caught somebody, he was arrested as well. The chief of the wardens was called ‘Punťa’(midget), because he was very small. He would check the rooms to make sure everybody was sleeping and if anything was going on. On other days, he would make us carry all the furniture outside the rooms. We had to put it all in the courtyard garden. We had to carry it all outside.”

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    Velká Bystřice, 16.02.2012

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    duration: 02:15:27
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
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Our family sacrificed a lot for our country

Marií Bednaříkovou v hanáckém kroji .JPG (historic)
Marie Bednaříková

  Marie Bednaříková was born in 1921 in Velký Újezd in the district of Olomouc. Her brother, Bohumil Bednařík, and two of his friends fled the country in January 1940. They eventually made it to Britain. One of his friends was Jaroslav Švarc, who was killed together with the plotters of the Heydrich assassination in the vault of the Charles Borromeo Church on June 18, 1942. The Gestapo started the so-called Operation E (Emigranten) with the aim to arrest the relatives of those Czechoslovak men who fled abroad and were suspected of joining the allied armies. On September 17, 1942 the Gestapo came for twenty-year old Marie and her parents. At first, they were imprisoned in Lipník nad Bečvou and then at an internment camp in Svatobořice. In the meantime, her father Josef was imprisoned in the Kounicovo dormitory. They stayed in the Svatobořice internment camp till the summer of 1943. Her brother, Bohumil Bednařík was in England at that time and he joined the special services where he was trained for special operations. He became the commander of the CHALK group tasked with the navigation of allied bombers to their targets in enemy territory, sending intelligence to London and helping with subsequent allied paratrooper landings in the area of southern Bohemia. They were dropped together with other paratroopers nearby Větrov not far from Kamýk nad Vltavou. The members of the group were finally captured by the Gestapo and except for Vladimír Hauptvogel, they all survived. Bedřich Bednařík was liberated in the course of the Prague uprising. However, he was put in prison again in May 1945, this time by the Soviet secret police (the NKVD). Eventually, he was accused of having committed military treason. However, in February 1946 he was acquitted. Still he was dismissed from the Ministry of national defense in June 1946 without any explanation and he subsequently worked in manual professions until his retirement. He died in 1973. Marie Bednaříková stayed in Velký Újezd after the war. She worked for OP Prostějov and then in Morávia in Mariánské Údolí. Today, she lives in the Saint Anne home for the elderly in Velká Bystřice.