Jitka Bubeníková

* 1938  

  • "So, we really had nothing to eat at that time, not during the war, but at that time. There was no money and I know that my mother always ran to the second floor to Mrs. Chocholová, it was Kratochvíl's daughter-in-law, they also lived there together, always borrowing a hundred crowns, so that we could at least have bread. And we always had ... we usually had, not always, but mostly we had potatoes for dinner, roasted. We had an aluminum baking pan, as they say now, what a carcinogen it is. And there we had one sausage to make it smell of it. And the best ones were the potato skin bits roasted in the pot. And I know, back then, it was fashionable to sew skirts from two scarves. The scarf cost five crowns, so the scarf, I never had the skirt, because we did not have the spare ten crowns."

  • "They were people who had nothing to do with the war. They lived throughout all war and lived quite poorly, just making money by repairing the jewelry. And Dad said, 'Leave these people there. They know how to do it, they know what's wrong with that jewelry. Because it was the world jewelry, right. So, they said he was a collaborator, slowly. He had problems because of that. He said, 'Expel the factory workers then, but leave the factories, leave the people who worked there. They didn't do anything, they didn't fight."

  • "Russian officers were in our apartment, and I know I saw them wiping the floor or something, they poured a bucket of water into a toilet, but everything went out of the toilet. And then my mom told me, almost before she died, that there were two, I think there were two, that one of them tried to abuse my mom. My dad went to report it and he was immediately... I don't know whether they even shot him or not. However, they stole the wheels. Dad had 195, so he had a special bike, higher, I know the bike was yellow, and it was stolen also from my mother, so the wheels disappeared."

  • “Mr Balcar says, ‘Come to the bunker’. And my dad retorts, ‘Nothing will come out of it again.’ We looked up into the sky, it was beautiful, blue, but three bombs were already falling down. They were silver, a beautiful picture it was. We didn’t even manage to run across the street. So we went directly home, into our cellar. I knelt on the ground, had my head covered by a sack, I prayed… and I was terribly afraid. And then the bomb went off at the station, the pressure wave blew out the chimney door and we were like chimney sweepers. The soot was everywhere.”

  • “We went in cattle wagons for the convention. These were wagons for cattle, they had a bar and a sliding door. We sat in a row, held onto the bars and kicked our legs in the rhythm of the drive. We slept in a gym, there were pallets, no beds, but pallets. Then we did the exercise with hoops. We ran with them but the day before it rained heavily so we kept falling into poodles. And that was it.”

  • “Then, when the war was over, prisoners went from wall to wall. It was a dreadful sight, they walked on crutches, some had just one leg, heads bandaged, dirty. I ran into our garden and hid behind the currant. I was looking at them and saw the Balcars, our friends, giving them water from a window. And I thought, ‘Well, the Balcars, they give something to drink to those hideous Germans.’”

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    Poděbrady, 23.10.2018

    (audio)
    duration: 01:46:15
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
  • 2

    Hradec Králové, 09.07.2020

    (audio)
    duration: 02:36:40
    media recorded in project Příběhy regionu - HRK REG ED
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Not to harm others, so that we all have a nice life

Jitka Bubeníková, 1956.
Jitka Bubeníková, 1956.
photo: archive of Jitka Bubeníková

Jitka Bubeníková, born on May 16, 1938, comes from Jablonec nad Nisou. She spent her childhood in Pardubice where she experienced several air raids and bombings. As he mother, Vlasta Holečková, was a famous Czechoslovakian tennis player she was, from early childhood, raised to be a sportswoman. First she played tennis, then became an athlete. Shortly after the communist coup she took part, in June 1948, the Sokol Convention in the Strahov stadium, the last for dozens years to come. In the 1950s, when her mother and her father were sacked from their jobs, the family encountered existential problems. After passing the secondary school leaving exam she went to study the Higher School of Education in Ústí nad Labem and made her living as a primary school teacher. She met with further problems when her brother emigrated unexpectedly in 1972. With her husband Josef Bubeník, whom she met through athletics, she had three sons. One of them, Jan Bubeník, later became the leading figure of the Velvet Revolution. After 1968, her husband was sacked from his position of university teacher. After 2000, she and her husband moved to Poděbrady, where they still live.