PhDr. Marie Hrabik Šámalová

* 1940

  • “When we were in France, dad organised political affairs. On September 28, 1948 they restored the Agrarian Party in Paris, because the Party had been actually outlawed here after 1945. They were accused of collaboration with Germans. Beran was the prime minister during the Second Republic era; the Party’s reasoning was that a farmer would not leave his land. The Agrarians never cared too much for international politics. The focus of their work was here, in their homeland. Beran agreed that he would become the prime minister. Parties were disbanded at that time. There was the Labour Party, and the National Unity Party, I think they were called like that. My father was involved in it as well. Beran played it on both sides. He supported the resistance movement and he was assisting the Czech airmen to flee the country so that they would be able to get to England. He was giving money to the resistance movement. He organized supplies for workers so that some reserves would be available, and he was thus playing it on both sides.”

  • “We thus went to Washington. Dad found a job there. He was operating an elevator for servants in one hotel. He was earning twenty dollars at that time. I don’t know if it was a weekly or monthly wage. But it really was not enough for a family of five. Dad learnt that steelworks in Cleveland were hiring workers and so he went there. Dad was about forty-five or forty-six at that time and he started the last stage of his career as a worker in steelworks. He always used to say that he was very lucky that he had been born on a small farm where he always had to work hard since he was a young boy. He always said that this hard work had saved his life twice: at first when he was in the concentration camp and for the second time when he was in America. We thus settled in Cleveland and I started going to school there. Our parents enrolled us in Catholic schools because they thought that the discipline there was better.”

  • “Aunt Mařenka, the sister of my father, found a half-dead Russian man in the field. She took the Russian home and she took care of him. As we were eating supper one evening, we heard knocking on the door and there were two German officers. The officers wanted our radio. They somehow learnt that we had a radio and they wanted it. Aunt sent them to the hay storage room with the radio and as soon as it was possible, she hid the Russian man in the attic. So there was a situation that two German officers were sitting in the room and on one side, a picture of the Trial of Jan Hus was staring at them, and Kozina (Czech folk hero – transl.’s note) was looking at them from the other side, and a Russian soldier was hiding above their heads. At that time it happened that I contracted stomatitis and mom had to get some gasoline so that an ambulance would be able to come for me and take me to Klatovy. When we rode in the ambulance, we had to make a detour several times, because the ambulance driver noticed that there were airplanes and he was afraid that they might drop a bomb on us. The Germans finally learnt where they were supposed to surrender, it was in Všeruby, and so they left. The Russian soldier stayed there with us, but he left soon after. He said that he would like to go home.”

  • “In 1948 on the day of the coup, my father learnt that an arrest warrant had been issued against him. He came home and he told my mom that we were leaving. I had two little brothers at that time, one of them was born in 1946 and the other in 1947. In 1948 the older one was two years old and the younger brother had just one year. Mom said that we could not leave so quickly and dad thus went alone. He crossed the border on the day of the coup d’état. He did it in the Šumava Mountains near Kdyně, because he came from a small village which is located between Klatovy and Domažlice and he thus knew the area well. He pretended that he was going hunting, he carried a rifle and he crossed the border there. Dad was thus one of the first emigrants. The village is called Vílov and it has only twenty-one houses.”

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    v bytě Jiřiny Šiklové, když pamětnice navštívila Evropu, 27.05.2016

    duration: 01:31:24
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
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Maruška after her graduation from university
Maruška after her graduation from university
photo: Osobní majetek pamětnice

Marie Hrabik Šámalová was born June 5, 1940. She was born about a week after the Gestapo had arrested her father Martin Hrabík, the general secretary of Agrarian Youth, which was a youth organization of the Agrarian Party during the First Republic era. Her father spent the rest of the war in a concentration camp where he was sentenced to five years of imprisonment. The whole family was fortunately reunited after the end of the war and Marie’s two little brothers were born during the following two years. On February 25, 1948, on the day of the communist coup d’état, Marie’s father learnt that an arrest warrant was issued against him. He did not wait for anything and on the dame day in the evening he crossed the border and escaped to France. His wife with their three young children followed him soon after. The Hrabik family first settled in Paris and later they moved to the United States of America. Marie studied the first stage of the elementary school in France, and the second stage in the USA, and then she continued at a high school. She majored in history and modern languages at the university, and she defended her doctoral thesis in political science and history. While in the United States, her parents were involved in the Czech expatriate community. Marie Hrabik Šámalová continues in this tradition and she is an editor and reviewer of Kosmas, an American magazine for Czech expatriates.