Daruše Burdová roz. Kolářová

* 1923  

  • "My father would go to the office at 8 am, so we all had our breakfast together and then went our ways; I went to one school and my brother to another. And we always had to listen to the news. The breakfasts were quiet so the father could hear the news. The Vltava jingle sounded again and again. Prague... 'And please remain calm. The German army has crossed our border and is headed so and so. Please remain calm.' And the jingle again. I know my mother was crying. I didn't fully grasp it then, and my brother didn't at all. The father was very sad and said:'Oh, what horrible things await us now.' He went to his office before I left for school. When I went, there were German flags adorning the way. They had those long flags, hanging from the fifth floor all the way to the first with a Hakenkreuz in the middle. I came to the school and mathematics was the first lesson. Mrs Janáčková, our teacher, was born in Prague and she was a Sokol, and she opened the lesson by asking us to stand up and pray for our country, if we could."

  • “The first big air raid was in November 1944. It was carpet bombing of Brno and it was horrible. Wait – there was one big air raid in 1944 and another one before that. I experienced one air raid in Brno in a public shelter and that I think that was when Obilný trh and Údolní were bombed. It was very unpleasant in the shelter, but the autumn raid in 44 was much worse for me. It caught me on my way uphill to Černá Pole and I saw the bombs falling for the first time in my life. It was as if pencils fell. It was an unimaginable horror. You heard the explosions and more and more airplanes, the flying squadrons. Then, during the fourteen days of the battle of Brno, the third house from the house where we were living received a full hit. We were in the cellar and we were thrown up almost to the ceiling. And then the battle of Brno. The frontline would move north and south. Those were difficult days, the fourteen days when they fought for Brno, for those who lived in Brno.”

  • “I witnessed them evicting Germans, down Kotlářská street to Planýrka. That’s where the big Boby centre is today. I know I went there and I had to promise to my parents that I would get back in fifteen minutes. I just wanted to remember something. So I went down Kotlářská to Nová Street, some hundred and fifty metres down and then a hundred and fifty metres up, and that’s all I saw. But my brother guarded them in the camp one night, perhaps of 30 and 31 May, and he told us how the guards treated the Germans. He saw my mum’s German cousin and her father, and they broke his head with a gun stock. My brother could not stand it and the boys told him: ‘Come on, Ivo, you must stay here, because if you start talking, they will shoot you too for advocating the Germans.’ My brother said: ‘I just wanted to maintain justice. But there was no way.’”

  • “Her school desk was behind mine. We sat there in threes and she told me: “Darča, come to our place at two, and bring Jarka and Líba as well.’ So I said I would come but I didn’t know exactly where she lived. She described it to me. I ate my lunch quickly at home and told my mum where I was going, I always had to tell them what I was doing. Jarka Brodská was waiting for me in the street and Líba came by tram. We walked the street uphill slowly and kept looking. There was one villa, another one, then yet another one, and then we found this amazing villa. I had never been to such a house in my life. Edita was expecting us. I saw a cake and ice cream with whipped cream. I said: ‘Edita, is it your birthday today? We have no presents for you.’ She said: ‘No, it’s not my birthday.’ And then Mrs Linkeová came. Edita told us that her mum and she were leaving in an hour. So I could not even enjoy the ice cream. The whipped cream, which I had not seen in two years, I could not eat either because we were saying our goodbyes in tears and Edita gave each of us a small golden ring with a ruby in remembrance. I never heard of her again in my life.”

  • “My parents were deeply religious. So it was Christian upbringing and they put that deep in my heart and I had problems with that for a long time. My husband and I knew the times we were living in. I could not make life more difficult for my children, so I learned how to ‘dance’. You asked about what I regretted most. Let me add this. My husband and I used to say, after the Velvet Revolution when we relaxed in our cottage’s garden: Not everyone is Havel. Havel had no children. He had no obligations. He could walk in a straight line. Some walked a straight line into emigration. And those who stayed – and this is an ugly way of putting it – either collaborated or danced around. I loved my job and I would have quit immediately had I insisted on my internal convictions regarding many things. It’s too late to say ‘I would’, says an old Czech proverb. I have no regrets. Such was life, such was the era, and life did not walk a straight line. It was like waves. And this is the reason why I wanted to relate my memories of the times as they changed – rather than people – to my grandchildren. Because textbooks will never teach the young what the times were like.”

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    Olomouc, 24.06.2013

    (audio)
    duration: 02:28:23
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
  • 2

    Olomouc, 28.03.2017

    (audio)
    duration: 02:21:12
    media recorded in project Soutěž Příběhy 20. století
Full recordings are available only for logged users.

Suddenly, the sky as if darkened and the flag fell down from half-mast.

Daruše Burdová in 1943
Daruše Burdová in 1943
photo: archiv pamětnice

Daruše Burdová, née Kolářová, was born in 1923 in Brno where she spent wartime. This was where she witnessed the arrival of the Wehrmacht forces on 15 March 1939, the Heydrichiade, martial law, bombing and liberation of the city, and the wild eviction of Germans shortly after the war. When universities reopened, she graduated from the Faculty of Science of the Masaryk University. Having graduated, she started working as a secondary school teacher and worked as such until retirement. She remembers often having to teach matters related to the communist ideology rather than her subject matter. Daruše Burdová lives in Olomouc now and she recently published a book entitled Everything Changes, Memories Remain.