Lotte Kozová

* 1925  

  • “Shortly after liberation people in Budapest were afraid to go into the street. I wanted to warn a neighbour not to stay at home but to come to us, because there were Romanians with us, not Russians; but when I reached heir home, a Russian was already lying on her… The Russian women looted like crazy. This is how Russians behave in Hungary.”

  • “My father was interned in a labour camp in the airfield, in the suburb of Budapest. It was in the same area that our relatives found and secured a house. My uncle found counterfeit documents for us; it is with these false papers I went to work so that we got food ration coupons.”

  • “My aunt went to the office and she had to prove that she had lived in Teplice before the war; they assigned her a flat. She did not want it as there was still a hot soup on the table. It was a flat seized from the Germans.”

  • “That’s the way my father was employed there…We had a car, and he was thus providing a kind of a taxi service, you could say. The shops and markets were mostly located in Volové, about 30 kilometres from there, over a hill. And one day he brought the people there, and they were standing in a circle, and he claims that it was not true, but he was smoking and some policemen came, and he spat after a military car that was just passing by. And they arrested him, took him to Debrecen to prison. They released him after some four weeks, but afterward he always had to report at a police station. Only because he allegedly spat at them. This was the reason they arrested him. And later, when he had to report at the police station, that was in 1941, when they transported us, that’s the way things were then.”

  • “Along the road there were checkpoints, I still remember it. They were checking what people carried in their cars. And my father, or it was actually some man who was driving with him, had the Red Cross band on his arm and he passed them the documents through the window. And they told my grandfather to lay down on the floor and hide, in case they had peeked in, so that they would not see his beard and hair locks…We hid him on the floor of the car. And we, I mean my mother, father and me, were sitting, so that they would see us, but we were somehow crouched so that they would not know whether we were injured or not, and so on. We passed through three checkpoints this way. And we eventually arrived to the Hungarian side, here in Carpathian Ruthenia.”

  • “One day a Russian soldier came to our place. He had a flask with rum; I remember that, the same type of flask you used for milk. He was bigger than the door, he had to bow his head, was pissed as a newt…Our only luck was that a batman of a Rumanian officer was present there, he pushed him out and got him sent to the front lines. Most of them, in the first stage, were convicts and such. They were looting, destroying things, and killing people.”

  • “On the market square the German groups were gathering, also children, in our age, and they were attacking us, we would be running away and they would catch us, run into us from the other side and start beating us. They would tear our stockings and give us a threshing. And this actually speeded our decision to leave, because it was not possible to live here, even though we were in a Czech environment.”

  • “I entered just at the moment when he was raping the girl. I will never forger that. But there were also Russian female soldiers and it was rumoured that they were after furniture, breaking and pillaging whatever they could find. It was terrible, because there were only small villas. It was a residential suburb. And those villas were being looted. – (And why did you go there? It had to be dangerous for you, you could have been raped as well.) – Nobody knew about it, I knew the girl was inside, and I wanted to offer her to come to our place, you know. – (And it was too late.) – There were corpses lying scattered around. – (They were killing Hungarian civilians, too?) – They were killing civilians there, the civilians were killing Russian soldiers. (They were shooting at each other?) – Both of them were killing the other, there was a clash, but then they came up with a white flag, to negotiate, so they retreated a bit…They had their positions there, it was near that airport. – (And who was the one who came with the white flag?) – The Hungarians.”

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    Teplice, 07.03.2009

    (audio)
    duration: 01:42:06
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
  • 2

    Hroznová ul., Praha , 29.07.2016

    (audio)
    duration: 01:21:13
Full recordings are available only for logged users.

“Everyone should realize that the entire life is a compromise, and you can never force the issue.”

Lotte Kozová - 1941 - detail
Lotte Kozová - 1941 - detail
photo: foto: archiv pamětnice

Lotte Kozová, b. Lebovičová was born on July 19th, 1925 in Teplice in Northern Bohemia. Her mother Gertrude, b. Langhansová also came from Teplice; her father, Max Lebovič, came from the distant Carpathian Ruthenia. Lotte had a brother Bernhard, who was four years younger, who later died during the Shoa. During the German occupation of the Sudetenland in 1938 the Lebovičs had to leave the family villa in Teplice via Prague and Piešťany in Slovakia to move to Sinevir in Carpathian Ruthenia, where her father’s parents were living. In 1941, the whole family had to venture on an eastbound transport; they spent more than 4 months this way. They slept in cars, in railway stations, and in closed areas. In January 1942, they escaped the transport (internment) in an ambulance car with the help of her father’s brother. After their escape, the children along with their mother lived in hiding in Chust; while their father hid in Mukachevo. Someone later exposed them; her mother and brother were then arrested by the Hungarian police and were later murdered in a forest near Sinevir. Lotte managed to escape. She was hiding with various families, mostly in Budapest and in Budapest suburbs. During the last months of the war, she lived with her father and aunt in the Köbanya suburb in Budapest in a rented house. They all used false identities and documents purchased from other persons.  After the arrival of the Soviet army, Lotte Kozová witnessed many atrocious acts committed against Hungarian civilians by the Soviet soldiers. She returned to her native Teplice in August 1945. While her father decided to immigrate to Palestine, Lotte remained in Teplice and in 1947 married Ladislav Koza. A year later their only son Petr was born. After the war, she worked in Narpa for several years, and then in the Kavalír Glassworks for 38 years. After her retirement, she was active for another 15 years as a tour guide, both in the Czech Republic and abroad.