Zofia Faiglová

* 1923

  • “We received some, but too little. I don't remember if it was a fortnight or a month, but they paid us 10-15 marks. For stamps and small goods. They paid too little to the Poles. But the Czechs received as much as the Germans. The Czechs were like Germans, but the Poles didn't ... That was interesting - we wanted to go to the theater. I was for the first time in a real theater in Altenburg. There was a beautiful theatre. We were looking at the posters to find out what was on. And we figured out how to dress. We had white blouses and skirts, everyone had it, so we went. And you know what we attended? First we thought - no, that's German - but do you know what it was? The Bartered Bride! That was my first theatre I saw. The theatre commuted in Pleševo, but there was no theatre. It was only in Poznan.”

  • “The Americans came in about five days. They moved out of the concentration camp and the 'auzir' - they were the ones who guarded the concentration camp, they lived in wooden barracks - so they moved us into the wooden barracks instead. Then we were moved from the factory to the barracks and the barracks were transported to Gera and thence to Frankfurt, Darmstadt and beyond. We were civilians. There was a Polish army, they didn't want to accept us because they were fighting, and we didn't. In November I went to the Czech Republic. The transport was cattle wagons and led to Poland - whoever wanted, of course. I got out in Prague, I told them I had my aunt here, so I got out in Smíchov. Then I came to the platform. I had no money, nothing, not even a tram. There was a gentleman around thirty years old and I offered him if he wanted the American cigarettes I had obtained before...”

  • “When the Germans came there, the first thing they did was to pick and fill up all the concentration camps. Or transported them to Germany for work. There were three transports in Pleševo. The young people had to go to Germany for a total deployment. The transport consisted of two or three wagons. There were no jobs in Pleševo. Students and schools were over. Schools were closed for five years. Poles should learn to read, write and nothing else. There was a large grammar school, professors - they all went to concentration camps. Thirty young people, two of our cousins among them, were shot. In the year 1939 they were at a demonstration against the Germans, the Germans recognized them, and so they were shot. Cousins.”

  • “You worked for eight hours a day, Sunday was off. There were about a hundred girls in the gym, sleeping on bunk beds. We could go to the city. We got 'P' as Poland. We had to wear it on the right side.” - “How did the Germans - the civilian population treat you?” - “Quite well, they were in the factory and didn't hurt us.” - “And when you went out, what was the civilian population?" - "Normal. We wanted to buy lipstick, said it wasn't for us, and they didn't sell it to us. We took those 'P' off and hid it in our pocket. We went to the movies. But I don't know if they would let us out with 'P'. Otherwise, we could not go to restaurants.” - “And what was your relationship with your family, did you have a vacation to visit them?” - “No vacation in three years, we didn't get any clothes, only what we had from Poland. Nothing else. We had no rights.”

  • “I wrote down Poles, everybody said where he wanted to go if he wanted to go home and all. Everyone could say what they wanted. If I wanted to go to America, it was possible. My friend is in Australia. We could go anywhere. We were not political; we were only totally committed. The Americans did not force us. If relatives were in England, America, Australia, one could visit anytime. And when you had no relatives, you just waited for the transport.”

  • "You were sixteen years old and you went to a college school, right?" - "I didn't. Everything was canceled. Neither did the children. The Germans have already occupied everything. ”-“ And how do you remember their arrival specifically? ”-“ I was in Gdynia. They came with motorbikes. Gdansk was still fighting. There was no war in Gdynia in the city. They arrived there on motorbikes, and immediately there began decrees, and all men were supposed to report in schools, churches, everywhere, they needed founders [hostages]. That means they took 160 men who were in position, and if they shot a German or something happened, the 160 people took it. It was horrible. I have books about it. It was in Leszno, where the founders were shot. ”

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    Praha, Eye Direct, 21.01.2019

    duration: 02:02:24
    media recorded in project Stories of the 20th Century TV
Full recordings are available only for logged users.

On the first date he told me he would marry me

witness in 1945
witness in 1945
photo: Pamětník

Biography Zofia Faiglová, née Jankovjac, was born on March 30, 1923 in Poland, in the Poznań region, in the town of Plešev (Pleszew). She was the eighth child of the Jankovjacs who had a farm and ran a cart business. Zofia experienced the outbreak of war in Gdynia on 1 September, 1939, near the epicenter of the first battles of World War II. She was supposed to attend secondary business school, but in Poland the schools closed and she could never complete her education. In 1942 she was totally deployed to Germany in the town of Altenburg in the arms factory Hugo and Alfred Schneider. In August 1944 she met her future husband, Antonín Faigl, a totally deployed Czech student. In March 1945 he and his Czech friends fled to the Protectorate. They could not take the witness because, as a Polish national, she would risk much more than the Czechs. After the liberation in May 1945, Zofia worked for half a year in Germany in the UNRRA (United Nations Administration for Assistance and Reconstruction) and in November 1945 set out to transport to Kladno to see Antonín. They married in the spring of 1946. Zofia acquired Czechoslovak citizenship, but never had enough time to complete her education. In 1948 she gave birth to a baby girl who died of pneumonia after 14 days; then three sons were born. The Faigl lived in Kladno, Chomutov and Prague. Throughout her life, the witness worked in the hospitality industry as a waitress and restaurant manager. She was not interested in politics.