Libuše Hiemerová

* 1925  

  • “It was more of a tomb than a room. There was a toilet, the window on top, and lots of bed bugs. When I got up in the morning I was so badly bitten by the bugs that my hands were all swollen. Back then I still had my pajamas. We were allowed to take something with us from our home so I took my pajamas. Then my parents learned that we’d be taken away. There was one prison warden – I don’t really remember his name anymore. He was probably related to somebody from the family. He told my sister that we’d be deported. So they brought us a suitcase with some food – there was some bread, sugar, biscuits. We went on a bus that was crammed with other inmates. When we arrived, they put me, my mom and Drahuška in one room. Later I was told that I cried like crazy because I was terrified that they’d separate us from our mom. Luckily, they didn’t. They put the three of us in one room. We had to make our beds and fill them with straw. Then we’d just lay there. There were an awful lot of people in that room. All we had there were the straw beds and a blanket. There was a stove but no fire wood to feed it with. They’d push me through a little window to the cellar to get some wood and I’d pass them through a couple of logs. Once, there was an inmate there and he told me that they’d take me away if they found me in the cellar stealing wood. So I crawled out of the cellar and told the others I wouldn't go there anymore. We’d say that we were burning paper. We cut the wood into little pieces and sometime in the night they burned it.”

  • “Then they arrested all of us – me, my sister Drahuška, my dad and my mom. I remember that when I was getting inside the car I saw my dad, mom and sister standing there, and I suddenly broke out in tears. But my dad told me: ‘don’t cry, this will only encourage them’. So I stopped. It was because I was really scared of the Gestapo and their methods. I heard about their patrol wagon, the so-called ‘anton’ that they used for taking away people; simply kidnapping them from the street. It was a German car and I think the police still call it ‘anton’ today.”

  • “We kept on hoping throughout the war that František would come back to us, that we’d see him again. After the war, when we learned that he had died, his wife got in touch with us and she came to Czechoslovakia together with their daughter. I think the girl was about five years old. They spent a couple of months here and the child learned to speak Czech pretty decently. But Olivia, her mother, who was about my age, never learned the language. Anyway, they only stayed here for a couple of months because, after the Communists came to power in February, František’s friend – also a pilot and who brought them here and stayed with his parents in Czechoslovakia-- came to our place and told her that she had to leave immediately, that it was no longer safe here for them.” Interviewer: “So your brother had a daughter?” L. H.: “Yes, he had a daughter and his wife kept writing about her in the letters she sent us. In the last letter we got from her, she wrote that she had married an American and that they were moving to the United States. Then she stopped sending letters. I think that she might have been afraid to write to us because she was in the USA. You know, it was in the times of the Iron Curtain. We don’t really know what happened. Since then, we’ve had no news about her.”

  • “My dad came without his teeth. They knocked all of his teeth out – he didn’t have a single tooth left. He said he had to crawl on the floor with his hands tied behind his back on that corridor. They did some terrible things to him. Before they took him to Brno, and us to Svatobořice, we saw him in Olomouc. We stood there with the other prisoners and they brought him. We weren’t allowed to speak to them. We all entered the office – me, my dad, Drahuška and my mom. But we couldn’t talk to them. But my dad, when he saw us, he at least took off his hat and smiled in our direction greeting us. He had this sort of Panama hat and when he took it off his head we saw his coal-black and curly hair which he prided himself on. That was the last time I saw him.”

  • “Me, for sitting down when they came in that night with a flashlight. That Punťa or how we used to call him. So I sat down and I had to go to the morgue. It was in the lower part of the camp. The morgue was there. There was an iron table and two coffins on the floor. So I spent the whole night standing in one of the coffins. I was too afraid to sit down on that sheet metal so I stood on the wood. Early in the morning the cooks who were making the tea – the ones who were supposed to cook only what they had – gave me a brick. But then, somebody came for me.”

  • “At school, when the Germans occupied Czechoslovakia, the whole staff, everybody…[and] I went to the Müllerka in Olomouc. It was in the administrative quarter; only a short walk home for me. They called everybody to the gym. Well, what were they supposed to tell us? But we sang songs, ‘We are the children of the Czechoslovak Republic’. I don’t even remember that song. We sang all the Czech songs we knew and the teachers were crying.”

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    Velký Újezd, 21.02.2012

    (audio)
    duration: 02:08:21
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
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My brother died in England, my father in Auschwitz and the rest of the family was held in an internment camp in Svatobořice.

 Libuše Hiemerová
Libuše Hiemerová
photo: archiv pamětníka

Libuše Hiemerová, née Dostálová, was born in 1925 in Olomouc. Her brother, František Dostál, fled after the occupation by the Nazis to England. He became a pilot of the 311th Czechoslovak bomber squadron but was killed during a training flight on April 24, 1943. After the assassination of Heydrich, his parents and sisters, Drahoslava and Libuše, were arrested and imprisoned in the course of, so-called, Operation E (Emigranten). Mrs. Hiemerová, her sister Drahoslava, and her mother Josefa were held captive in the internment camp Svatobořice, while her father Alois was taken to Brno and subsequently sent to Auschwitz where he died on February 25, 1943. Libuše Hiemerová stayed in Svatobořice till January 1943 when she was released because of pleurisy. Her mother and sister stayed in the camp till the end of the war. They found out about the death of František after the end of the war. They also learned that he had married an English woman and had a daughter in England. They united with his family after the war. Unfortunately, after the Communist takeover of power, František’s wife and daughter quickly left Czechoslovakia, and all contact between them and František’s family was thereafter interrupted. Today, the family has no news of their whereabouts. Mrs. Libuše married Josef Hiemer shortly after the war and, because her husband worked as a wood ranger, the family moved frequently. Finally, they settled in Velký Újezd, where they still live today.