* 1924 †︎ 2017
“I was waiting in a queue for clothes with my older sister. That was in Šumperk – in the Arbeithaus. And she warned me not to look back, but I looked over my shoulder. A car came and Gestapo officers came out and dragged a man. He had a face of Christ and was half naked. His body looked as if he was treaded by horses. He had bruises all over his body and he was tied with chains so that he could barely walk. My sister didn’t want me to see that. He was probably caught in the woods and beaten.”
“The prisoners used to be given food through a small window. The window was later boarded up and the door to the room was really solid. After the bombing they could use the chairs with iron legs, so they started beating at the window and finally managed to make a small hole. My husband was quite tiny so they pushed him through the hole and he later told me that outside people were calling for help in all possible languages and dialects. The first thing he saw was a man who was pressed and squashed against the wall as if he was standing. When he got to the street there were literally heaps of dead bodies. So he ran past the heaps of bodies that were black and burnt. They weren’t completely burnt only when they had some clothes left.”
“They came - two Russian soldiers. One of them was sober and the other was drunk. They came to the cellar where my mother and us three young women were. I was really scared. And Franta, my husband, he was just sitting there. He was a real wreck. I could not ask him for any support. He had a watch on his hand. The drunk one wanted one of us or my mother. The other soldier just asked for the watch. So Franta gave him the watch and he dragged the drunk one away. So we were saved. That was my first encounter with the Russians.”
“They were taken to Theresienstadt, where they stayed until Christmas. I was waiting for a parcel and then it came. I realized that it wasn’t his writing on the parcel. It was wrapped in paper and tied with a string. But it wasn’t his writing. And when I opened it there was the photograph of our son, some saccharine, other pretty things, and his clothes. One of the other parcels was labeled “Beware the fleas and chinches.” My mother would open it in the yard and she would wash it with sodium. Often we just burnt it and sent him new clothes.”
Full recordings are available only for logged users.
He came home and he didn’t want to talk about at all. I thought that he would jump out of the window.
Josefa Gruntová was born as Večeřová on July 28th, 1924, in Svébohov, Moravia. During the war, she was supposed to take part in forced labor but she became pregnant and married František Grunt. Her husband took part in the resistance movement. He was arrested and imprisoned in Theresienstadt, Breslau, and Dresden, where he survived the great bombing of the Allied forces. He managed to escape and Josefa Gruntová could not recognize him when he came back home. After the war, they moved to Malá Morava and ran a small shop that had belonged to Germans. After 1948, they were forced to join a collective company. In the 1960s, they moved to Mohelnice where her husband died of tuberculosis, which he had suffered since Theresienstadt. Today, Josefa Gruntová lives in Mohelnice.