Anna Havranová

* 1922

  • “We were felling a forest. For half a year. And we had to fell the tress, cut them to pieces two metres by seven metres, and to pile up this wood. But none of us was able to meet the required norm, for it was too much for women.”

  • “I completed a course and into the combat at Kiev and Bílá Cerkev I already came as a nurse. There, I provided first aid to forty-two wounded soldiers and I took them out of the combat zone. This is recorded in the book ´From Buzuluk to Prague,´ you can read it there, my name then was Ťuchová.”

  • “And they were Russians and our soldiers as well. The Russian soldiers wore those typical high felt boots, and when they suffered a wound in their leg, or their leg got torn off or something, it all flowed down into those boots, all this blood. It was a terribly, terribly hard work, and it was freezing, it was in November, or ... no, actually it was in January, Bílá Cerkev was then liberated on January 3rd. It was very hard and ... We had to cut those boots and they were frozen, frozen blood, everything. That was horrible.”

  • “We arrived to Siberia, there was a camp, but no accommodation, there was nothing yet! So we had to build a barrack for ourselves. And we were all women and there was one man, who was distributing tools, you know, saws, and stuff like that.”

  • “There were 630 of those camps there and ours was the last one, and we had to build it by ourselves, The building, and everything... So we went on a hunger strike. We did not eat for three days and we wanted to speak to the ´načálnik´ (commander) of those camps. We did not want to eat, so this ´načálnik´ eventually came, after a long time. ´You got to eat, you go to eat,´ everybody was telling us. And we argued that we wanted to be sent to the seventh camp, we wanted to be moved there. He says: ´And who told you that?!´ We did not want to betray the warden, because the wardens watched there and we were forbidden to speak to them, so we did not turn him in. We said we knew it, but we did not tell him from whom. ´All right, begin eating then, we will transfer you to that seventh camp.´ In about three weeks they really transferred us and in that seventh camp prisoners were working on manufacturing wooden beads and bags, and so on, for England.”

  • Full recordings
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    Teplice, 21.06.2007

    duration: 47:02
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
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“They were transporting us in a cattle train for three weeks in terrible conditions! In prison there were forty of us sleeping in one room. We were even sleeping on the floor. The windows were built-in, there was only a small opening for ventilation up there. For food, they were giving us green tomatoes and a sloppy soup.”

Anna Havranová_1943_detail.jpg (historic)
Anna Havranová
photo: archiv autorky

Anna Havranová (born Ťuchová) was born April 7th 1922 in Sinevirská Poljana. Her childhood was affected by an early death of her father Andrej. After the Hungarian occupation of the region in 1939, Anna Havranová decided to escape to Poland, where she wanted to join the forming Czechoslovak legion. She crossed the border at the end of August 1939 with her sister Maria, cousin Vasilina, and another forty young people. The refugees lost their way and wandered in Polish forests for three nights. Then they came across Soviet soldiers who apprehended them. After nearly a year spent in detention in various prisons, on July 2nd 1940 she was sentenced to five years in a labour camp for illegal crossing of the border. The sentence was even harsher compared to a regular three-year sentence, due to the crossing in a large group. After nearly four years spent in Soviet prisons and labour camps, on June 21st 1943 she was finally drafted to the army. After training in Buzuluk she was assigned to anti-aircraft artillery. Following the advice of one doctor, she completed a nursing course and she entered into combat in Kiev and Bílá Cerkev as a nurse. Her remarkable experiences are also captured in the book “From Buzuluk to Prague.” On page 167, readers experience how Anna Ťurchová pulled 42 wounded soldiers out of the combat zone and treated them at Bílá Cerkev. At the beginning of her activity in the army she also met her husband-to-be, Fedor Havran, whom she later married in Krosno. Anna Havranová served as a nurse in all fights of the Dukla operation, she also took part in the liberation on Czechoslovakia. Today, one cannot even count the hundreds of Czech and Soviet soldiers whom she has helped or saved their lives. After the war she settled in Žatec, where she and her husband were running Hotel Praha. In 1947 their son Jiří was born. In a few years, their hotel was nationalized, and the whole family moved to Ústí nad Labem, where her husband found employment as a waiter in Café London. Later, they moved again, to Teplice. Their two daughters, Anna and Marie were born there.