Marie Králová

* 1926  

  • “It was actually sort of romantic. But it wasn’t romantic when we were resting around the camp fire – once I nearly burned my feet. It was in the winter and I was cold, so I got closer to the fire. It wasn’t easy. In particular for women. We always had it more complicated. But the friendship that existed there was amazing. They boys always behaved like gentlemen to me. No one ever did something bad. We all liked each other very much. Each time we got together afterwards, the atmosphere was very cordial. But today, there’s just a few of us.”

  • “My brother, Mirek, joined the partisans before me. He joined them in the spring of 1943 and I followed him in August 1943. I had to leave because I was warned that I was being surveyed and that they were planning to arrest me. So I left. It was at the very moment when the Czech battalion came to Moslavina and I was in a village nearby where they told me that the Czech battalion is in the village next to theirs. So I went there and of course my brother and my cousins were there already. They told me to stay with them in the battalion and I did.”

  • “That’s when we protected the railway line Zagreb – Belgrade. It was used for transporting grain from Slavonia where they had huge surpluses of crops because it’s a fertile region. They shipped it to Bosnia which is much leaner. The task of our brigade was to safeguard the track. We were at the railway track in the reserve in a maize field. I can still remember that it was in the fall. We started the attack and they were shooting at us from the track. It was mostly flatland and Jan Kábíček was hit just next to me. Another three boys from Končenice – the Czech village there – died there during that fight. Their parents then came from Končenice to take them home and bury them. That Kábíček was buried by us on a hill at that place. We were singing our partisan anthem at the burial. It was very pious.”

  • “We loved President Masaryk. He was ‘daddy’ Masaryk for us and when he died, we were mourning for him. I walked home from school and I cried. That’s when I was eleven years old. And some woman on the street asked me: ‘Máňa, what’s the matter? What happened to you?’ ‘Daddy Masaryk died’. Although we didn’t live in Czechoslovakia, we were devout patriots. Regardless where the Czechs live, they love their fatherland.”

  • “In the beginning of 1944, we were transporting paper to Bosnia. It was enormous reels of paper. We were taking the reels to Banja Luka, where the government was seated. They were in great need of paper because they weren’t supplied by it. These reels were originally intended for the Croatian government, but they were confiscated by the partisans in Moslavina. We were transporting it via the railroad, which was strongly guarded. Then, we transferred it to boats on the Sáva. From Slávonia, we were bringing back ammunition which they were in good supply of. A couple of times, we got under attack. Once, when we were on the way back and were accommodated in a little village by the river Sáva, we were attacked by Junkers airplanes. They were dropping bombs on us but they didn’t hit us. When they were sweeping on us, they did a terrible whizzing sound, like a siren. Then, the Ustaša – the Croat fascists – attacked us. We could either fight, or flee across the Sáva. I was lucky because I managed quite early on to flee across the Sáva in a small boat. We even captured a machine gun, but five of our men died there. So we fled across the Sáva River and hid in the forests behind it. It was already freezing by then. When they were bombing the Sáva River, there were these dead fish floating on the surface. So we collected some of them and roasted them on the camp fire. We had no salt so it wasn’t delicious, but you know.”

  • “I joined the youth organization USAOK in 1942. But it was completely illegal. I helped with the distribution of leaflets and we made trips to liberated areas for meetings. Already at this early stage, the partisans had set up national committees in the liberated villages in the mountains.”

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    Lanškroun, 01.11.2010

    duration: 01:24:57
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
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“Our whole family was with the partisans.”

Marie Králová-1945
Marie Králová-1945
photo: archiv pamětníka

Marie Králová, née Bartošová, was born in 1926 in the village of Hercegovac in the Moslavina region, in what used to be the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. Her grandparents came to the Balkans from the region of Litomyšlsko in the promise of land and various reprieves. In 1943 she became a member of the youth resistance organization USAOK and cooperated with the guerilla groups in the region. She faced the real threat of being arrested for her activities and therefore she fled from the village and joined the partisans in the mountains in the summer of 1943, at the age of sixteen. Till the summer of 1944, she fought the Germans in the ranks of the I. Czechoslovak brigade Jan Žižka from Trocnov. Later, she was transferred to the field hospital after she participated in a medical instruction. After the liberation of Yugoslavia, she went to Czechoslovakia and settled in Jiřice in southern Moravia. In 1948, she got married to Jindřich Král and they both moved to Lanškroun. There, she worked till her retirement in the Tesla works.