Danuška Jírová

* 1922

  • “He was an agricultural engineer and had an older brother, so it was obvious that the brother would take over the property. But he didn't marry and the administrator, who was an ardent Communist, in that large yard, he rode in a carriage and horses had run away and he felt down and got killed, this brother of his, you know. And my husband was afraid that they would lock him up, as he was a kulak, so he committed suicide... didn't tell anyone, he hung himself... But I had little children, my daughter was eight and my son was four years old so I raised them myself for my whole life and I didn't marry again before I got old. In Ústí, as I was old. And that was how my husband ended up. We led quite nice and happy life and before he died, there was this man, he was a doctor, who visited us to play chess, so they would play chess long in the evening. And he had to think about that they would lock him up. As this chairman from Mšeno used to tell him that, I can't remember his name now, he even told me that they would lock him up, as he was... in the field, that he did such a mess there, that he had been throwing stones and so on. That he had been boyscoting the Communists. So he just had to think about that and as the game was over and the doctor from Mělník left, Miloš was still in his baby bed, and I remember him telling me: 'Remember that I loved you, as well as the kids.' And in the morning, mother found him hanging in the attic.”

  • “Once there were Gestapo men ringing our doorbell, but they had been mistaken. As there was a cemetery next to our house where a gravedigger had been living. I can't remember his name now. And he was an informer who used to denounce people. So they went to see him but they had been mistaken. They were ringing our doorbell. A my mother looked from the window and said: 'Children, run to the garden and climb the fence there!' we had compost in the corner of our garden and next to it there were just fields, forests, and as people had fields they had also those... like artificial caves where they used to keep their tools so we would hide there. But later, Mr Švihálek, an architect, came, he found us and he told us that we could go back, that they were mistaken, that they didn't come to arrest us but to visit the informer.”

  • “And he was first of the Sokol members to die, so they said, Ančerl told me, that they all rose, like to honor my father. After that, they just kept on dying, right? They tortured him to death by hunger and hardship, it was so hard that it was freezing inside. They slept on plank beds next to each other, crammed with people, and those poor fellows had been gathering potato peels the Gestapo men would throw away, and it was frozen but they were so hungry that they would just eat it. My father got this horrible diarhea and all I knew was what that Mr Doctor told me, that he was the first of the Sokol members, that they honored him... That's all I know. And this confectioner from Mšeno, Mr Měšťák, had been imprisoned with him, and Ketner who had been selling sewing machines, Mr Kabrna who had a store. But they would release the people from Boleslav, from the prison. And I would go there every week, on Thursday, to bring him clothes, a my father would write on a closet paper with a pin: 'Why haven't you sent me anything? Like everyone else? As I am hungry, hungry.' And he stated what he wanted, you know, like bread or something... But my mother was afraid that the Gestapo men would beat him, abuse him, if they would find anything like that.”

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    Ústí nad Labem, 02.07.2020

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There was no one I could tell

Danuška Jírová, a portrait
Danuška Jírová, a portrait
photo: archív pamětnice

Danuška Jírová, née Procházková, was born on April 21st 1922 in Mšeno near the town of Mělník. She grew up in an intellectual, patriotic and harmonious family. Her father, František Procházka, was a local school director and a Sokol Organisation functionary. He also founded a male choir, Vyšehrad, and had become its musical director. During the WWI he had joined the resistance movement striving to establish the independent Czechoslovak state and as a Sokol member he participated on the anti-Nazi resistance during the Protectorate. On October 8th 1941 he had been arrested with many other Sokol Organisation representatives. He had been interrogated in Mladá Boleslav, after that he was transferred to the Gestapo prison in Theresienstadt Small Fortress and later to Auschwitz concentration camp where he died in January of the following year due to conditions of him imprisonment. Danuška Jírová was an ardent Sokol Organisation member like her father and after completing her studies she followed in his footsteps once again, becoming a teacher. After the war, she married Josef Jíra, who inherited an estate near Mšeno with his older brother. During the so-called collectivisation, their property had been taken away from them, they were labeled kulaks and had to bear all the consequences this derogatory term brought with it. Josef Jíra couldn’t stand the pressure and after being constantly threatened by imprisonment he committed suicide. His older brother died crushed by his own horses driven by the administrator appointed to his estate by the state. With two small children, Danuška Jírová left her hometown and moved to Ústí nad Labem so she and her children could escape harassment and find a better future somewhere no one knew them. Apart from teaching, she had been also involved in physical education, being a Sokol group leader and attending Spartakiads during the socialist regime. She played the violin and the piano and she was also singing. She also wrote poetry for which she won the Ústí nad Labem county representative’s prize. She has been living in Ústí nad Labem, surrounded by her family, still active and pursuing variety of hobbies, enjoying her life to the full. As her stubborn nature and positive outlook helped her to overcome all the pain she encountered.