Růženka Hušková

* 1936

  • “It was nice there, very nice (in Frélichov). We were three families, sleeping at those people’s house. We slept on the floor or wherever. And for three months, so you know how it goes. In the evening girls and boys would get together, they would sit on those benches and they would sing. So we also learned new songs from them. It was nice.”

  • “And then when we got to Daruvar the police was waiting for us at the train station. And they led us to the police station. I don’t know, my father did nothing, I don’t know, maybe he ran away during the war. I don’t know about that. They were looking for him at our home during the war but I don’t remember him doing anything. And we slept on a bench there overnight and in the morning they led us to where they lock people up, to the prison. Across the street from the church. Recently when I was in Daruvar, I said, yeah, I recognize these windows. And that was where they locked us up. My mother and I were separated from my father and brother, men were locked up separately. We would go there for a walk, we would walk around in circles, and what food we were given – some sort of soup, with no eggs, nothing in it. My mother cried. (And how long were you there?) We didn’t stay long, about three nights. (And what did you think they were going to do with you?) I don’t know, I was just a child, I didn’t ask questions. I don’t know what they thought…”

  • “Suddenly my father remembered that a year earlier some people from Brestov had already left for the Czech country, that was after the war, I didn’t know. It seems it was like now when there are these refugees, we were like that in Bohemia. They promised to give us a house so we went. The train was full of us. There was a train station in Končenice. My father had this huge box, a crate made of wood, blankets, hoes, a scythe, he packed everything just so we had tools to work with when we got there. He was very hard-working. So we rode the train, it was a train for people but at the back it was a goods train. So we got to Bohemia, there was a woman in Jevišovka waiting for us, it used to be called Frélichov. She had already come there a year earlier and she was a widow so we went to her house. Her house was huge. We also went to the local church, I was at the church for the first time and they were singing a Croatian song. I know it from here, from Brestov. And I started to go to a local school as well. We had the school report, or what do you call it, from here. So we were holding it in our hands and the boys around us were laughing at us. Mine had fives written all over it and so did my friend’s report. And they thought they were ones.” (Czech grades go from 1 to 5, five being the worst, Croatian grades are the opposite)

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    Daruvarski Brestovac - Daruvarský Brestov, 08.08.2016

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They sang a song I knew from Brestov

Růženka Hušková, 2016
Růženka Hušková, 2016
photo: Luděk Korbel

Růženka Hušková, née Staňová, was born on 12th March 1936 in the town of Brestov in the Daruvar region in today’s Croatia. This area saw an influx of Czech immigrants since the 1820s, which is why most of the families in Brestov were Czech. Her parents also had German ancestors, at home, however, only the Czech language was spoken. Růženka went to a Croatian school for two years, then to a Czech one in the village. In 1946 her father decided to move to Czechoslovakia, reacting to a repatriation offer for the Czech nationals living in Yugoslavia made by the Czechoslovakian government. They moved to Jevišovka-Frélichov where they met Croatian families (the so-called Kroboty). These families had fled the country from the Turkish threat and were resettled to parts of the republic previously inhabited by deported German families. Czechs from Yugoslavia would usually acquire their houses, which for many was a tough thing to accept. This was the reason why the family decided to return to Brestov. The journey was a difficult one and after arriving to Daruvar they spent several days in prison. When Růženka was 13 years old she became a dressmaker’s apprentice. However, she did not stay very long since she had learnt most of the skills from her aunt. She worked in agriculture her whole life and earned money on the side sewing clothes. She had two sons with her husband, whose mother was also Czech, and they always spoke Czech in their house.