Lucy Doležalová

* 1922  †︎ 2010

  • „In Slovakia they were in the mountains and he fell ill. His friends therefore moved him to a village, so that he might stay in a warm place, but the Slovaks turned him in. This is how he got to the Mauthausen concentration camp. I did not know about it. Suddenly, the letters stopped arriving; I had no news about him. I did not know whether he was dead, or what had happened. Only after the war did he return to England.”

  • We were both idealists and at first we believed that communism was a good thing. But very soon we began to realize that Russian communism was not what we imagined. Moreover, my husband was used to being outspoken about his opinions, and this was very dangerous. He became unwelcome very quickly. I thought about returning to England, but my husband did not. He said that he had fought for his country, and therefore he would stay and help to rebuild his homeland.”

  • “The worst time for me was when he left and I had no news of him. At first he wrote me that they were going to the front. He was then in France, Italy, they had to take some detours. So he was writing to me, once he even sent some toy for our little Mirek. But then he stopped and I did not know anything about him till the end of the war. The war ended and I did not know whether he was alive or dead. Two months afterwards I received a letter from the Red Cross, saying that he had been interned and that he was still alive.”

  • “Our wedding took place in our village, in our little church. It was not a fancy affair, there were only my relatives as wedding guests. My husband had only one friend there, a lad from Hořice, which was his native town, he was our best man.”

  • “I met one doctor here, an Englishwoman, who lived in Prague. She invited me to her place and told me it was not all right for me, an intelligent woman, just to sit in some forsaken village house and do nothing. She suggested I might work in the Czech Press Office, so I went there to inquire and they employed me. So even though we lived in Rokytnice in the Orlické Mountains, I started to work in the Czech Press Office. I would be in Prague the whole week, and on the weekends I would go home to Rokytnice to take care of the household and children; they were already older. This time was better than what we had experienced before. I did not have to do manual work in the fields as before, but I had this better job.”

  • „We spoke English together, but people would stop us on street and say: ´One speaks Czech here.´ They probably thought we were speaking in German, I don’t know whether they could tell the difference. But they admonished us like this several times.”

  • “The war was over and I did not know whether my husband was alive or dead. Then, about two or three months later, I received a letter from the Red Cross that they found him in an Austrian concentration camp. When the situation became better, he came to England for me. Towards the end of 1945 we arrived to Prague. I did not care where we would live, but he insisted on going home. So we came here. The beginnings were enormously difficult. My husband still suffered from physical complaints caused by his internment in the concentration camp. He had ulcers all over his body, it took him about half a year to get rid of them. He did not wish to remain in the army afterwards, he wanted to lead a civilian life. So he was looking for a suitable job, and the first position he found was a caretaker in a hotel in Špindlerův Mlýn, which was left behind by the Germans who had owned it before. But it did not suit him very much, so he was looking for another job, and we moved again. He was willing to take up any employment, what mattered to him most was that he would at home.”

  • „At first it was not allowed at all. The first time I applied for a passport was when my Dad was seriously ill. But my application was turned down. My having the British passport was of no use. Actually, I was not even allowed to show it here at all.”

  • “My husband promised he would send me to school, but it was not possible. We had children, my husband worked; there was nobody to take care of the kids. So I had to learn Czech just by speaking.”

  • “I lived in a small town. Once a week there was a dance. One time I thought I was not enjoying myself and that I would rather go home. And as I left the room, my husband just entered. I knew him, we used to see each other in the town. He took me inside, we danced, and this is how we met.”

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    Praha, 06.07.2004

    duration: 37:11
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
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My husband and I would speak English, and people would stop us on the street and tell us, one must speak Czech here

Lucy Doležalová
Lucy Doležalová
photo: Pamět národa - Archiv

Mrs. Lucy Doležalová, a Czech citizen of British origin, is the widow of Jan Doležal, a member of Czechoslovak independent armed brigade in Great Britain. She was born in a small town in Worcestershire County. After completing her grammar school studies, she found employment as a post office clerk in a neighbouring county. Here, she first met her future husband. During the war, Lucy gave birth to a son. Mr. Doležal was sent to the eastern front with a group of officers; in 1944 he fought in the Slovak National Uprising. However, he was denounced by Slovak civilians and spent the rest of the war in the Mauthausen concentration camp. After the war he returned to his wife in Britain, but later decided to move the family to Czechoslovakia. Their sons later moved to Australia, only their daughter Tamara stayed in Czechoslovakia. Lucy Doležalová died on October 29th 2010 in Chrudim.