"They counted us and then there was the commander-in-chief, the woman commander and one aide. He counted us. We stood there and there was a fence in front of us. When he finished counting, he said: 'Face left.' So we faced left and he continued: 'Forward march.' The girls stood still because they saw they would hit the fence. But I went, because he had said: 'Forward march.' They were laughing, the commanders both. And later he was looking for me in the dormitory. And he kept say: 'Václavová.' I wasn't no Václavová, so I didn't react. They others were telling me that he probably meant me. I told him that I'm Václová. 'So there you are. You were making a fool of me.' I said: 'No I wasn't. I was the only one who obeyed your order.' Well, what could he do. I had obeyed him and that was that. So that was another experience."
"I got two and a half years, and my parents: mum got five, dad got eight. And dad got fined 100 000 Kč, mum 50 000 and I had to pay 20 000. But because we didn't have anything, because they took it all from us, then we had to sit that out too. The crime they convicted us of, paragraph 134 I think, excessive stocking of supplies or something like that. Because they couldn't make me into a spy. I was supposed to be a spy to begin with. They got their appetite up for me, but then they didn't know how to get me to own up. That's what I found out later. So all they could do was make us accomplices, although accomplices in what, I don't know."
"Seeing as I didn't have such a hard sentence, I could help the others. They would come to check on us from Pankrác. 'How come you have your clothes ironed like this?' I say: 'Commander, sir, we read Rudé právo (Red Law, Communist newspaper - ed.) and we read there that today's prisoners, they're different from what they were during the First Republic. We have a duty to look good when visitors come, so they can see how well we're looked after.' He maybe knew that I was making a fool of him, but he couldn't let that show, so he just snorted and left."
"First they took me to Zbraslav, but I was there only overnight. The next day the sent me off to Pankrác. There they placed me in a cell underground and left the lights on the whole night. I could keep my own clothes, but they gave me torn socks with holes in them, why, I don't know. Well and then they started interrogating me, some two weeks. First he asked me: 'How did you sleep with the lights on?' They were on the whole night. I say: 'Well, I slept very well, I love sleeping in the light.' At home I always had trouble because of that, they said: 'You didn't switch the lights off, what a waste of electricity.' 'And what about your torn socks?' I say: 'That's no shame of mine, that's your shame.' I was impudent and they didn't know what to think. Then another of them came, he looked really unpleasant, and he said: 'Would you marry a worker?' And I told him: 'I'd rather marry two workers than one of you.'"
"Mrs. Vejdovská, like I told you, was a Supercommunist at heart, she signed up for all the extra work they offered. She was so impudent, that when we were assembled and our chief asked who woul go, then she said that everyone would go. And I say: 'That's not true, I'm not going.' And then others said the same. There was one hugely brave eighteen-year-old girl there, Eva Čížková. Her parents were Evangelicals and she was brought up in such a way that you could put your trust in her. She also said no, that she just won't go. She didn't elaborate or anything, just 'I won't go'. They didn't dare try anything then, seeing as the foreman was content with our work. She was so brazen that she spoke for any of us, whether one had a toothache or was too weak to stand, it was all the same. You see it was also important not to give in. Really. One mustn't give in, that's bad too."
“Another important thing was not to give in. One mustn’t give in, that’s bad too.”
Jarmila Cvrčková was born on the 11th of January in Prague, the third child of František and Marie Václ. Her elder brothers Josef and Miloslav were born in Klatovy, the hometown of both her parents. Before the family moved to Prague-Letná, her father worked in Klatovy at the governor’s office. In Prague he worked in the supply department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Her mother looked after the household, but she also started a tailor’s, successfully supplying choice goods also to the ministry. Jarmila started elementary school in Prague, but when her father became the proprietor of a brush factory, the family moved back to Klatovy. There Jarmila finished elementary school and also completed grammar school. After graduating, Jarmila put her focus on learning foreign languages and the piano. In the following years she successfully completed her university studies of German and later English. The family spent the war in Klatovy. Towards the end of the war, her father fell seriously ill and decided to sell the brush factory. From the money the family bought a villa at Mníšek-below-Brdy. In that Jarmila was finishing her course of piano instructing, and she started to make a living as a music teacher. She had some twenty pupils in Mníšek. Her family lived a rather quiet life until 1950, when the oldest brother, Josef, was sentenced to half a year in a forced labour camp (TNP) for attempting to illegaly cross the state borders. What didn’t work out the first time, worked out a few months later. Josef Václ escaped from the camp and succeeded in crossing the state borders with his wife and two children. His escape triggered the persecution of the rest of the family. On the 10th of April, a house inspection resulted in Cvrčková being arrested and taken through Zbraslav to a holding cell in Pankrác. All-out interrogation followed, during which the interrogators attempted to prove Cvrčková was spying for a foreign power. When they did not succeed in proving that, they decided to accuse her together with her parents of stocking up with excessive supplies, which was to show they were preparing for a war. Even though Cvrčková’s father tried his best to explain how they came to having large supplies of unneccessary and unsellable goods, mostly brushed and slippers, from the sale of the factory, no one was interested. The Václs and their daughter were accused and convicted. The trial took place on the 29th of June 1951 in Mníšek-under-Brdy. Jarmila Cvrčková (then still Jarmila Václová) was sentenced to two and a half years of prison and fine. Her father was sentenced to eight years of prison and a fine, and her mother received five years and a fine. Cvrčková spent another two months in Pankrác, before being sent to Rakovník, where she worked a presser for clay tiles. Her father ended up in Bory, Pilsen, and her mother in Bohosudov. Cvrčkvá befriended many of her fellow women prisoners, thanks to her dauntless personality, and because of her temperament and the relative shortness of her stay, she was often part of minor revolts against the caprice of the jailors. In 1954, a year after he release, she married Karel Cvrček, and together they raised up three boys: Karel, Honza and Martin. Her husband, whose family came from Jíloviště, saw to their accommodation, and friends helped found a reasonable job in an office. The family lived a normal life that the Cvrček’s sweetened with occassional visits to the theatre and concerts. In 1990, Cvrčková was, together with her parents, fully rehabilitated and her family got back their villa and part of their property. Jarmila Cvrčková became a member of the Confederation of Political Prisoners and of the JUDr. Milada Horáková Club. Years of prison taught Jarmila Cvrčková to never fall in spirit and to never give in when overcoming great difficulties.