Anna Marie Čechová - Syslová

* 1925  

  • "They had a big house in Borisovka village. And they wanted to dispossess it all when the collective farm period of time came. But the people started to shout no, no. When we all suffered the starvation, our cows couldn’t stay hungry. And my grandpa used to have plenty of hay and grains and he always said, "You can be starving, but not the cows! Take as much hay as you need. And when you’ll have the calf, you’ll pay me back." So people were standing up for him, because he helped them all. When the wheel on the wagon broke he repaired it, but didn’t want any money for that. Only grains. He always said "When you’ll have the babies, you’ll pay me back." So they didn’t dispossess him after all."

  • "My husband told them I was Czech, but I have said I ´m Russian. That´s why I had to stay in the command service camp while the other Czechs left by train to get ready for the army. I asked myself, what am I going to do? I guess I will go to Russia by myself. And just then Cestmir (my husband) showed up and took me back to the camp."

  • "I was Marie Cechova, while I was married, and now my last name is Syslova. When I got back from Czechoslovakia I didn’t have the marriage certificate from my wedding in Germany. Therefore my marriage here is void. That’s why I started to sign by my maiden name - Marie Syslova. That was my ancestor’s name and I’ve got it from my dad."

  • "I was working in Molot in 1968, when they sent the tanks over there. I thought the war will probably begin. Our people will not step back and the war will begin. They sent tanks over there and the Czechs will not put up with it. I remember being there in 1945. All the people were calling Hitler bad names and all of them would welcome and love the Soviet army. But now, when they sent the tanks there, no, no, they won’t like us. Just like they didn’t like Hitler back then. And that’s exactly what happened."

  • "My mom always tried to find out where they took my dad, but she never found out. We all were still kids in 1937. We didn’t go anywhere, but our mom went everywhere. She kept asking where he was. ´He is not here. Period. He is not in prison, he is not in the NKVD (People's Commissariat Internal Affairs), and he is not here. The way they took him away they took out again and shot him. Because he used to say: ´Why they took me there, why, why, why did they take me there...?´Because of his language, because he just wanted to know why."

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    Kirillovka, 23.09.2008

    (audio)
    duration: 01:20:28
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
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“I remember my life spent in Czechoslovakia as something very faraway, like it all happened in another life.”

Anna Marie Čechová - Syslová
Anna Marie Čechová - Syslová
photo: Ze soukromého archivu Marie Čechové-Syslové.

Mrs. Anna Marie Čechová-Syslová is a member of a Czech community in USSR; she was born in 1925 in Novorossiysk. She grew up during Stalin’s repressive rule, which took her father away. During WWII, she worked in Konigsberg in German where she met her husband, František Čech, who came from Brno. She left with him to Czechoslovakia. She left with him to go to Czechoslovakia. She spent several years there, but in 1952 she was forced to move back to the USSR, where she continued to raise her three children, who were all born in Czechoslovakia. Her husband tried to follow them, but he died before he could get there.