Emílie Jarmarová

* 1923  

  • “What I really hated was when the dead were lying there, it was in a forest, a clearing in a forest, and the ravens were flying over them and pecking their eyes out. Jesus Christ, I felt so sick. I imagined, what if he was only wounded, seriously wounded, and he was unable to move, and the ravens would peck his eyes. Whenever I could, I would go and take the wrappings for feet which they carried in their pockets, and I would cover their eyes, to stop those bastards of ravens from flying at them.”

  • (Retelling a story of a fourteen-year-old soldier from Český Malín:) “We had a huge lime tree in our yard. Nearly all people in Volhynia had them. They used to say lime was Czech tree. We had three lime trees. Spreading, huge trees. They heard tanks coming, and his mom was telling him: ´Go and look where they are going.´ And since he could not see over the fence, he climbed on that lime tree. And as soon as he was up on the tree, his father opened the door. Perhaps he woke up later, or something, and he was outside with the mother. He opened the door, the gate opened, and he was shot immediately. And the boy’s five-year-old sister, a little girl, was carrying a cat in her arms. And as the cat got scared, it wanted to climb on the tree. But they shot the little girl and the cat as well. They shot them right under that tree. The boy did not climb down anymore. ´I was trembling so much.´ He undid his belt, at that time they were wearing leather belts instead of braces, he took the belt and fastened himself to a thick branch so that he would not fall down, and he remained sitting in the tree. And at the same time they were pushing all the women to their barn, pouring petrol over it, and setting it on fire. Their grandmother was living with the family as well. She was hundred and one, so he said, I think. And she could not walk nor speak anymore, she was only lying in bed, and the mother was taking care of her. But now the mother was already in the barn. And there was so much crying and weeping. And now they were carrying this grandmother, they brought her to the barn which was already burning, and they threw her in, too.”

  • “And he heard some people moaning in Czech. So he asked the nurse who was taking care of him: ´Tell me, what do they do here? Are there any Czechs here? And why are they crying so much?´ She told him: ´I will tell you, but promise me that you will marry me.´ He says: ´I can’t marry you, I have a daughter and a wife at home.´ And she replied: ´All right, but do as if I never told you, promise that you will forget I had told you. I know about it, I hear the rumours. They are allegedly doing experiments on people. Like they take an eye from one man, and they try to transplant it to another one, testing it on another person. Or they amputate a leg from a healthy guy, and do these experiments.´ That was what he said, that they would do it. He then left, so he did not even know what happened with this nurse.”

  • “The Jews were running away, that’s true. And the Baran family, our neighbours, had no children. And they laid a baby in front of their house. I don’t know whether it was a boy or a girl. It was crying out there on the street. They were closing the gate. And Mrs. Baran asked to bring the baby in. They had no feeding bottle or anything. But she nursed the baby somehow. The baby was little, but somehow she managed to feed it with milk. And so she placed the baby there and said: ´If it starts crying, let baby’s mom come for it.´ But the baby’s mother ran away. It was most probably a Jewish baby. They escaped to the forest. And the Bandera´s bands were passing through, and they picked the child by its legs and smashed its head, and it was dead.”

  • “I was standing by a tree and I heard some rustling sound. I thought, you are just imagining something, everything is quiet on the front now. So I raised my head and turned around and had I not done it, I would have perhaps been hit into my face, I don’t know. There was a paper bag, driven by the wind, rolling on the snow. And in that moment I got hit. I gave a cry. It hurt a bit. But then it did not hurt too much, it was just under my skin.”

  • “And some Polish woman came into the shop. A small child was holding her hand, and she says: ´Please, give me at least a quarter of butter, I have nothing at all to give to this child.´ That she had begged for bread, but she had nothing else. So he gave her a quarter of butter. And there were two Russians there. One was standing in the door, and the other was about to leave. As my father used to say, there are great people and small people. And when they left the shop and followed the Polish woman, my dad tells him: ´Toník, you know, they used to sell suits here, good drapery suits.´ And he says: ´Take one of these suits, go home and get some patches from some old rags, and sew it onto this suit. Because they will arrest you and they would take such a suit from you right away, and you wouldn’t have anything else.´ In order to make them think it was and old one. He did exactly as he was told, and the day after they really came to arrest him, and he got sentenced for five years, for having given something to that Pole with the child.”

  • “When I was enlisting to the army, there was a boy standing in front of me. About fifteen, but I think he was rather fourteen years old. And he claimed he was fifteen. They told him they could not enlist him, that the minimum age was eighteen. They decided to call Svoboda. And Svoboda told him: ´Sonny, go home to your mom, we really cannot take you, because we only enlist people who are eighteen and older.´ And the boy started crying and he says: ´I have no mommy and I have no home, either. I am from Český Malín.´ Svoboda stood there as if thunderstruck. ´My God, what shall we do with you then?´ And there was one man, a reconnoitrer, his name was Arnošt Steiner, I remember him. And this Steiner says: ´General, I beg you, take him on. He sure has something to revenge for. And he is skinny and tiny, he can get anywhere and he’ll do a fine scout.´ And so Svoboda accepted him.”

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    Mohelnice, 12.08.2009

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I have seen so many innocent people dying

Emilie Jarmarová
Emilie Jarmarová
photo: archiv pamětníka

Emílie Jarmarová was born January 17th 1923 in Bakovce in the Polish part of Volhynia. She was attending a local school where classes were taught in Polish and Czech. When she was nine, her mother died, and she as the eldest daughter had to take care of the household. During the German occupation she joined the resistance - using a radio transmitter, she was informing a local Russian partisan about the situation in the village. After the liberation of Volhynia by the Soviet army she joined the Czechoslovak corps, and she was assigned to anti-aircraft artillery as a signaller. With the Czechoslovak army she eventually got to Slovakia, where she was wounded by a grenade splinter. After treatment she returned to the army. She spent the end of the war in sanatorium Lučina in Slovakia. She was very emaciated, and the stay in the sanatorium was to help her gain strength. After she was released from there, she went to Prague, where she began working at the Ministry of National Defence as a signaller. Later she left Prague and moved to her father’s in Mohelnice. She was working there as a waitress. Her husband, a Czechoslovakian army officer, was imprisoned in the 1950s. At present Emílie Jarmanová lives in a retirement home in Mohelnice.