Jana Hůlková

* 1954

  • "Often when we went there to see my grandfather and grandmother, we would bring some food with us, because it was five of us, including my cousin Rudik. So my mother always wanted to bring some food with us. On the borders they used to cut the bread in half. Or they took some of our food, saying we weren't allowed to take it there. We usually brought sausages. We warmed them up, ate and went to work. It was a quick snack. Once they told us to leave the sausages there because there was a foot-and-mouth disease in Czechoslovakia. But my mother said, 'No way, we are not leaving them here. They will go rotten in two days when we come back. So we kids had to sit down and eat them all. It was a kilo of sausages. I remember sitting there and filling up on these sausages."

  • "In the winter, we used to go over the hill, it was called Bokový forest, and we walked along the line along the border with Žďárky, and many times my mother would say to me, 'See, they're following us.' There was always somebody informing them about people getting close to borders. We were watched even at night, I always say, we were guarded like some criminals. They knew exactly when we were there. When the dog started barking, my grandmother would say, 'They're following us again.' But we didn't mind them. Suddenly they were standing in front of us and they said: 'Dzieň dobry, prosze pana, dowód osobisty,' asking us for an ID card, or passport. They checked our documents there. They saw that everything was fine, so they let us go."

  • "A few families stayed behind. The young ones had to go. And they could take with them only as much as they could carry. Now when I saw those Ukrainians standing with those plastic bags at the customs, at the border, I just remembered my mother when she was fourteen and she was leaving her home. She could only take things she could carry, not more. There was a neighbour, she loved hats, and to make sure she didn't leave them there, she put them on her head and tied them with a scarf. So she had ten hats on her head, just to be able to take them. They could only take the things they liked best. Well, it wasn't easy."

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    Velké Poříčí, 25.06.2022

    duration: 02:41:02
    media recorded in project Příběhy regionu - HRK REG ED
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The deportation divided the Czech family. They shouted across the border when they wanted to talk to each other

Jana Hůlková in Stroužné, 1978
Jana Hůlková in Stroužné, 1978
photo: Archiv pamětníka

Jana Hůlková was born on 5 February 1954 in Broumov. Her mother’s side of the family came from Stroužné in Kladsko, from the so-called Czech Corner, which at that time was part of the German Empire. Her grandfather had to join the Wehrmacht in 1944, he served in Greece as a military policeman. At the end of the war he was captured and spent many months in a prison camp somewhere in the Balkans, where he experienced many hardships. He survived only because he spoke Czech. In 1946, Kladsko became part of Poland. Her mother was just fourteen years old at the time. She had to move with her grandparents to Czechoslovakia. They were allowed to take only things they could carry. Her parents stayed in Kladsko and she did not see them for the next three years. Later she was allowed to visit them. Her daughter Jana was also able to visit her grandparents at first, but then had to overcome many obstructions. Eventually, she was banned from visiting them altogether. She resolved the situation with a letter to Gustáv Husák and the presidential office immediately allowed the whole family to visit. The family belonged to the Evangelic church, but preferred to attend services only in Stroužné. Her mother never joined the Communist Party, even though her husband was an ardent communist. He left the party only after the occupation in August 1968. Jana Hůlková still remembers the everyday reality of life on the Kladsko border and many precious experiences and memories of her parents and grandparents in the Czech Corner. She lived an ordinary life in real socialism. She was a pioneer and trained in the Spartakiada. She trained as a weaver and joined the same company where her mother and many other women from Kladsko worked. In 1968, she visited relatives in West Berlin and it was then that she fully understood the fundamental difference between democratic Western Europe and communist Eastern Europe. When her grandfather died in Kladsko in the late 1980s, her grandmother followed him soon after, and the family sold their house. She welcomed the Velvet Revolution and went on demonstrations and strikes. Jana Hůlková lived in 2022 in Police nad Metují.