Zdeněk Bíza

* 1936  

  • “Well, we tried various means for heating… The windows were broken, and so the municipal office in cooperation with the chocolate factory, which restarted operation some two or three days after the liberation, were trying to deliver some things. Only as temporary measures, because people were repairing the windows. They managed to obtain some wooden boards and they installed them into the windows instead of glass. It remained there until the end of the year (1945 – ed,’s note). Only after the New Year they replaced it with glass, because everybody needed to have their windows repaired since so many of them had been smashed. People were installing glass in the windows and repairing and constructing new roofs. I thing that there was some funding for that, partially, that there was a committee from the municipal office that was visiting the places and deciding: ‘Such and such an amount of money will be needed here.’ But mostly people had to finance the repairs from their own money. Most people paid for the repairs by themselves. It was very bad. The delivery of supplies was bad, because there was only one shop for the whole colony. There were two shops here, and Rohatec was significantly smaller, so people were supplying the things just as they could. Well, there were farmers, and so the supplies from them were immediately used and distributed, whatever was available. People were helping each other as much as they could.”

  • “I remember that one day an inspector came for an inspection to the colony and the teacher that I had mentioned – who was a member of Vlajka – was teaching there at that time and we were all ordered to stand up and raise our arms in the Nazi greeting. It was at the time when I was a pupil in the first grade. I came home and I told daddy about it and dad was very angry and he and mom warned me with a raised finger: ‘Be quiet, do not tell anything in front of that teacher.’ But I know that it was very hard for my dad to bear it, and he even tried to admonish that teacher, but there were no consequences. It was dealt away with in a quiet and calm manner.”

  • “Our family house was the first one at the edge of the village, and the war was thus very difficult to survive there. Dad and mom therefore moved me to the basement of another family and we were surviving the war there. We moved mattresses and straw there and we were sleeping on those mattresses. There were eleven of us there. Well, certainly it was no fun, because up there in that very house there were German soldiers above that basement. They were shooting from a machine gun in the direction from which the Russian army was approaching and so it was surely no fun. We had the door closed and we were afraid. Alcohol stoves were used at that time, and so we cooked on the alcohol or kerosene stove. There were some supplies and we spent about four or five days there. Well, there was light, we had a kerosene lamp, but we were scared a lot because there was straw everywhere, you know.” Question: “And where did you go to the toilet, for instance?” – “There was a chamber-pot and we used it instead of a toilet. There was no other way, right. Some families moved to those bunkers in the forests. They dug out a hole and somehow strengthened it with wooden supports and on top they built a roof over some beams and covered it. And they were surviving there, so that was not an easy life for them, either. Fortunately it did not last long and we thus managed.” Question: “And how did you ventilate the basement?” – “Well, we would open the door and… there was one dad with us there, and they would open the door and air the room quickly or he would call to us: ‘Come quickly and breathe some fresh air!’ And then they would close it again, so that… there was a small window on the side and they would take it out and use the opening to let in some air, but otherwise they were covering it from the outside with some wood in order to keep it closed. I don’t remember that somebody would cry there, but you know, we were scared for sure. There was such anxiety among the people, and it could be felt. There was one guy and he would always open the door and we would go out in the evening, because in the evening, when it got dark, it was calm. The bombardment then started again from the morning onwards.”

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    Rohatec, 24.01.2018

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    duration: 02:32:37
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Be careful, intelligentsia is treacherous!

1952 - portrait photo
1952 - portrait photo
photo: archiv pamětníka

Zdeněk Bíza was born on May 8, 1936 in Rohatec near Hodonín. His father and mother were teachers and their profession had an impact on Zdeněk’s entire life. In 1942 Zdeněk began attending the elementary school in the colony Rohatec. He remembers the events of WWII through the narrative of his father; he witnessed the deportation of Jewish children and he met a teacher who was a supporter of the collaborationist group Vlajka. In April 1945 he survived the fierce fighting near Rohatec while hidden in the basement and he observed the restoration of ordinary life after the war. After elementary school he continued with his studies at the Boys’ Secondary School in Hodonín and in 1955 he completed the secondary technical school of electrical engineering in Břeclav. He worked in Hodonín, Bzenec and Moravský Písek. In 1962 Zdeněk married Marie Nováková. He has always been interested in the life of the village and since 2004 he has been writing the chronicle of Rohatec.