We were not anti-fascist after the war – we were just “Germans”
Erika Bednářová, née Rotterová, was born in the village of Pekařov in 1930. Both of her parents had German nationality. Her mother, Sophie, was a fierce anti-fascist and when the border regions of Czechoslovakia were occupied in 1938, she was immediately arrested by the Gestapo. She helped several people of various nationalities during the war. She was arrested again in 1940 and her children were taken away from her - Anna was sent to a children’s home in Čelákovice, Erich went to work for a farmer in Waltersdorf (today Žleb) and little Erika went to her aunt and uncle, the Engelberts, to Svitavy. Her mother was then arrested, interrogated and even tortured a few times. Nevertheless, she was still helping people nearby. For example, in May, 1945 she saved a German soldier by taking him to the border during the night; a border which was several hundred kilometers away. After the war, however, she was persecuted as a German because of “collective guilt”. Erika was sent to an internment camp in Olomouc-Hodolany where she had to spend three months in appalling conditions. In spring 1948 she and her mother were sent to the region of Uničov where they worked for no salary, only for food and accommodation. At that time Erika had just married and had a new-born baby. Her husband, Oldřich, had been drafted for military service and did not know about it. She was able to leave Uničov with help from Oldřich’s parents. However, her mother had to work there for three years until anti-fascists from Rapotín managed to help her. Erika and her husband then lived in Loučná nad Desnou where she could not find a good job. She ended up working in the forest and, since 1968, in the factory for Velamos. She experienced the great floods in 1997 - standing in the kitchen she watched the water demolishing her house - finally, her son, Oldřich, saved her. Today she lives in her rebuilt house in Loučná nad Desnou-Rejhotice.