Marta Kučerová

* 1930

  • "A lot of people from the central Bohemia have moved here with the intention to get a job in farming. But it wasn’t probably that good back then, so my grandpa worked as a carpenter instead and they lived in a carpenter’s house among the colony. In 1938, when the Germans occupied everything here, many of the local people who worked as the coal miners or those who could take their job for granted, didn’t leave. They decided to stay here. They’ve been given the opportunity to leave if they wanted to. Or people who didn’t really care about going away were asked to leave. At first, there was a promise of Czech schools here, but once the Germans came, there was no vision of Czech school anymore. I was suffering the scarlet fever and the diphtheria in the mean time, so the German doctor didn’t allow us to go anywhere, to prevent the contamination. Therefore we stayed here until the Germans occupied everything. I’m not sure when it was; in September or in November we walked to Kladno town. We loaded all our belongings up on the wagon and off we went. We, the kids, didn’t know where we were going. I understand how our parents must have felt, they were just miserable. You know, if you have a roof to sleep under, even if it’s only a shed, its home. The first town we got to was Louny. There I ate the hot dog for the first time. From there we continued to Prague then. It was night already when we sat at the train station. We didn’t know which carrier was ours and there was one rail man who offered us to spend the night at his house. After that we never saw him anymore. It was somewhere close to the main train station in Prague. Then we went to Stránčice village, where my father has been transferred. I went to the local school there for about three days. And then there was my grandpa too. He used to have relatives who lived in Kladno town. One day we went there to visit them and after they found out how we live, they invited us to stay with them. We stayed with them for about six weeks before we found something else for us: some people in Kladno had this big garden and they had a laundry house there. So they let us stay there. It was awful there, but then our parents managed to find one separate bedroom for all of us. We stayed there until the end of the war and then we returned back here, even though our parents didn’t really wanted to...Because there (in Kladno) we lived with Czechs, not Germans like here. I remember, in Kladno, on my way to school, I was going through the place from where I could see Slaný town and I could also see the Milešovka hill. I was thinking to myself: That’s where my home is-far away there is my home, over the Milešovka Mountain. I never quite familiarized with Kladno, so I remember walking these paths and I do understand how bad the Germans must have felt-how one can miss his hometown; despite the fact that I lived there with my parents. When your parents are, that’s where your home is. But I can understand if someone feels like that. But they were really mean to us, you know, in 1938 when the Germans took over everything here. They used to do all kinds of bad things. For an example, when the men got out back to the surface at 10 pm, the Germans waited outside for them. They made a narrow corridor and as the men were walking through it they were beating them. Or they would break into the houses where Czech people lived, they broke their windows and then they got in and beat the people inside. My grandma used to live in a house with the porch. My mom’s brother who returned from the mobilization also lived there. The Germans knew there was a young man living in this house so they broke in, but my uncle hid himself up on the roof behind the chimney. Fortunately there used to be very substantial door, so the Germans could get in. My grandma was standing behind that door screaming: ´People, Czech people come and help us, or they will kill us.´ I know it was awful, but they say-it’s the power of the crowd... Now, as I hear what is going on here and there I think to myself: how can something as bead as this happen... I remember one of our neighbors. I won’t mention his name, because his family still lives here. He became an Ordner (the security person) over night. Many of the people we used to meet every day were Germans. I can’t say that we lived in permanent enmity. But there was something like a barrier between us here - you are you, and we are we."

  • "I want to tell you this...the local people never participated on the mean and ugly treatment of the Germans. The revolution guards from Kladno town came here. And they were real trash. You know, the local people knew each other, whether they were Czechs or Germans. It’s different if you go against some strange person than if you go against some Franz Keller, who you talked to just the other day. I would say that it’s the anonymity that makes the person act like a pig. Those were nasty things, but that’s just what the war is like. There used to live some Austrian woman in our house and she was saying: ´We could have lived all together here, there was enough place for all of us. But then the idiot Hitler came and put the people in wrong thoughts.´ there have been so many injustices. I’m talking particularly about the Sudetenland right now. Prague should have cherish us like its children, but we had to fight hard for everything Czech here."

  • "And because the Germanisation was in charge in here, and not only here, they told to my grandma to send her kids to German school too. She refused to though, so she was forced to leave the Ervěnice village. This is a defunct village already. It was complete hell there. So they have moved here. They were the Chodové people (Chodové (Walkers) were a group of people in Bohemia, mainly in the surroundings of Domažlice, Tachov and Přimda). My grandma always emphasized that we are the Chodove, the right Czechs. I have to say that the Czechs lived here before as well. But there was many of the Germans too...the Germans used to perform the mining works and the craft works, while the Czechs worked strictly in farming professions."

  • "There were really many of Germans here. And because of that it paid off for them to build German school too. And there were Czechs too. I was going to school as well. I started attending school in 1936. There was a big pot-house, which belonged to some Mr. Kovanda. So in the morning the pot-house was available for children and then in the afternoon men used to come there for beer. So there was teaching in the morning and drinking in the afternoon. What a place for school...And now imagine this: there was some girl’s school in the monastery, then there was the German school - this big building here on the village square, and our school was all the way down by the end of Osek town. What a location! Their school was right in the middle of the village, because this property belonged to the monastery. Of course they gave it to them. And our school down there belonged in fact to the monastery too, because it was former cemetery. But the very first school, it used to be some very old house, where I was going to kindergarten. It was the very last house in Osek village. There was nothing else behind that. We were not allowed to even open the windows, otherwise they would fall out. It was a typical village school. I was born in 1930, so I attended the kindergarten sometime around 1935. It was such injustice, I don’t know, maybe there were other things too. Maybe because there were Germans among the municipal board, nobody was interesting in Czech school. There were also better teachers in Germans schools. German schools had better reputation and also the kids, who attended German schools found better use for them later. They had better opportunities. Therefore many of the parents forgot about the ´national patriotism´ and sent their children to German school too. I use to go to family school. It was a trade school for girls, the so-called ´dumpling house´. There were girls who spent the whole war there. Of course we used to have Czech language and other main subjects there too, just like in other schools. Some teacher from Gymnasium taught us the Czech language. She used to tell us that we are so impoverished. The language of some of the girls was very poor in deed. It was a problem for them to express themselves. I’m sure this professor Havlínová tried as hard as she could to teach these girls as much as possible. She used to say: ´I can’t believe they’re not able to express themselves.´ it’s always embarrassing if Czech person doesn’t know Czech language."

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    Osek, byt Paní Kučerové, 21.03.2006

    duration: 01:51:40
    media recorded in project Sudetenland destinies
Full recordings are available only for logged users.

They were mean to us...

Marta Kučerová
Marta Kučerová
photo: Pamět národa - Archiv

Marta Kučerová was born on July 1st 1930 to a poor Czech family living in the town of Osek in North Bohemia. After the separation of the Sudetenland region in 1938 they moved to central Bohemia. Mr. Kučerová spent the war period Kladno. After the war, in 1945, she returned back to Osek town, where she lives to this day. Parents of Mrs. Marta Kučerová were never involved in any political party, but they stepped out of the Church, which might describe their way of thinking. Marta’s uncle was member of the communist party and was executed by the Nazis. It was most likely her origin in the socially weaker and  nationalist minority Czech environment near the German border that  led  Mrs. Kučerová sympathy to communist ideals. She later confirmed these by joining the Communist Party in 1954. She worked as a social worker in Litvínov for almost twenty years. During the 70’s she was employed at the city hall in Osek. In 1980 she became an employee in the Charity House of Nuns. She worked at the Osek monastery where she was a sister of several Churches, kept under communist regime supervision. Mrs. Kučerová represents the Czech minority -- residing in Sudetenland long before the war came -- in times when most of the inhabitants were Germans. While most of the Czech citizens stayed in Sudetenland even during the war, about one third of them escaped or were forced to leave to Central Bohemia (like Marta’s family among others). Her point of view is therefore essential, in addition to the stories of people of German or mixed families. The Czechs, apart from the Germans and Jews, also belonged to “Old Sudetenland”. They were often members of the lower social classes. These people, had a fundamentally terrorizing experience during the Munich crisis, (and its consequential separation of the Sudetenland) and see social issues differently than the former Germans.