Magdalena Czehowska

* 1931  

  • “Well, it was... lot of tears. We received the decree, mother kept saying that the crates for the geese were not ready yet. We were allowed to take everything with us. There was one train for us, some thirty wagons. Soldiers moved us to Huzová. Mother didn’t want to go anywhere else, because her parents had already been displaced to Huzová. At that time she was alone, just with us four children. Franta was fifteen, I was eighteen, and my sister seventeen.”

  • “The Jožkas were doing some kind of an inspection everywhere. We had a nice buggy a harness to go with it, and they came for it. They said: ´Where is it?´ Mother replied: ´I don’t have it at home, but in the cellar and in the attic.´ He said: ´That’s what I wanted to hear, to know where you keep it!´ Mother went to the cellar with him and he took it and they were then riding in that buggy. After some time mother told him to return it. And he beat her for it, she was all beaten up. Now imagine that this Jožka later lived in Rýmařov and he wanted my brother František to come there to work with him, he was a bricklayer. But mother opposed it, she said she would never allow him to work for such man. They were some partisans who came to Frélichov after the war. We called them Jožkas.”

  • “In November, on the All Souls’ Day, we would go for stručice. Stručice is a kind of a bun which we baked, everyone had them ready. We would give apples, nuts, and this bun. When we came, we greeted them: ´Praise be to the Lord Jesus Christ!´ We were only visiting our relatives, not everybody. At home they would tie a bundle for us with four knots and put it in. It was good, but I don’t know how to make it, I’ve never baked it.”

  • “We were not allowed to go home then, permission was necessary. But my mother’s husband was buried there, and therefore she got the permission every year. One day she told me: ´You know what? Come with me.´ I was afraid to go, because I didn’t have the permission. But mother persuaded me because my Joza was doing his military service there. So I went. My cousin Tomáš Kuzmič just had a wedding. After that, however, every time somebody knocked on my window, it always scared me, I thought that they came for me. We went to the railway station, a patrol was waiting there, nobody could get to Frélichov. We then walked along the Dyje to Novosedly, there I got on a train and went to Mikulov. Mother returned to Frélichov through Drnholec. Well, that’s the way it was.”

  • “During the carnival there was dancing on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday till midnight. Then there was the Ash Wednesday, there was no dancing anymore. There was no music for the subsequent six weeks. Then Easter came, there was still no music on the first day, but music began to play on Monday. Sunday was a high holiday, there was no dancing. It was a Christian custom.”

  • “When there was a wedding, we would carry a feather. A girl, who was married and didn’t have children, was carrying a feather, similar to the one that bridesmaids had. The feather was made of rosemary, with a large white ribbon, and that’s what you wore. Only girls had it, not boys.”

  • “Father died in May 1947. The same year Joza Šuljera came to me, asking if I wanted to go with him as the first stárka. But our mother told him that she couldn’t promise it because father died. Not many people had wine that year. There was hail and it damaged the vine. But we had enough because nobody was drinking it. Grandma told me to go to sell the wine, but meanwhile Joza came and asked if I could go with him as the stárka. Mother told him to ask grandma, saying that she couldn’t promise anything. Grandma allegedly said: ´Let her go, there will be mourning, but there will be joy as well.´ We were eight couples. Each of us had to receive one litre of wine, some of it was drunk in front of the house, some was offered to people outside, there was enough of it.”

  • “We head to do a thorough cleaning at home. And also to sweep, because when we were moving, there was hay and straw in the yard. We had to clean it up, in case somebody came in. One man came, he had lived on the Křížek’s farm. They didn’t want to allot our house to him, and thus he set Křížek’s house on fire in order to be given our house to move in. He then had ploughs, ploughshares and corn in the rooms. My mother didn’t feel well about it when she saw it. He was not Bulgarian, he was Czech.”

  • “The first stárka had to feed the billy-goat for three weeks at least. Then they put a blanket over it and uncle Jan Marx was parading it through the village. After the feast they made goulash from this billy-goat. I didn’t want to eat it and so I went to bed. But Josef Šuljera, Slunský, came to me and said: ´You cannot sleep now, you have to go there! They can’t do without you!´ So I got up and we went to the feast together. Goulash was eaten and we offered it to others who were there as well. Nine girls and nine boys were there as stáreks and stárkas that year. It was nice.”

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    Lipina, 15.10.2009

    (audio)
    duration: 01:33:30
    media recorded in project History and language of Moravian Croats
  • 2

    Šternberk, 20.06.2016

    (audio)
    duration: 55:37
Full recordings are available only for logged users.

Even when they were moving us, everything at home had to be clean and tidy

Magdalena Czehowska in national costume of Moravian Croats
Magdalena Czehowska in national costume of Moravian Croats

  Magdalena Czehowská, née Hubená, was born in 1931 in a Croatian village Frélichov. The family had a large farm and after the father had to join the army during the war, Magdalena, her mother, and younger siblings had to takeover the responsibility for running the entire farm. The father did return from the war, but he died already in 1947. The last Croatian kiritof was held in Frélichov in the same year, and on this occasion Magdalena had the role of the first stárka. In 1949 the family was displaced to Huzová in north Moravia. Magdalena Hubená’s husband, Josef Czechowský, was a Croat from Frélichov as well. They had three daughters with whom they spoke Croatian. Magdalena Czechowská now lives in Lipina and she is still able to speak Croatian very well.