“Once such a horrible thing happened and scared us so much that I remembered it for the rest of my life. Suddenly the train stopped in the fields, the door slid open. And this Polish officer entered with about four soldiers. And he started yelling. He yelled so loud that we, all the kids there started screaming too. We got so scared that we just started wailing. Our parents were white as a ghost, they all stood there and looked at them and he was shouting something like… Well, we children obviously understood nothing but then my father said he shouted something like, if somebody has any sort of weapon with them they’ll be led outside and shot at the spot. And if anyone knows about a weapon they must say so immediately. And we were all just wide-eyed, nobody had any weapons. And it calmed down, he said we’ve forgiven you for now, we won’t search you at the moment, but the next stop, if someone has a weapon on them, just remember what the rules were.”
“The so-called Revolution Guard came there. Those were some bastards, I have nothing good to say about them. We’re just standing there, everyone’s celebrating on the street, and these show up, I don’t know how many they were or how they could've known about it, these bastards, and they dragged the poor deaf mute German woman out by the hair. Next to her was her screaming child, they beat her with batons and were dragging her away: “You German scum!” And so many horrible curses, and the poor kid, oh my God, it was screaming so loud, clinging onto the mother. And they dragged the mother away and she wailed! I saw it with my own eyes it was such a scene that we were all just frozen. Unfortunately. Instead of going to them and asking them how they could torture this poor handicapped creature, especially since she had been a widow for a long time, her husband died in war somewhere, so what else could they want from her. No, they dragged her away and we have no idea where. We were such chickens, all of us. Well, I was a small girl, not even fifteen years old, so I don’t know if I could have thrown myself at them and try beating them with my fists, they were armed. But the adults did nothing, not a single thing…”
“We were all at our place, we had a little campfire, we made some sausages, everything was great and suddenly this noise started. Jirka and I woke up and we heard this noisy rumbling, we were wondering if they were combine harvesters because the harvesting season was on. So Jirka went outside, crossed the road and got up to the crossroads and the Germans were standing there, imagine that. We were probably the only witnesses who saw Germans. Jirka came up to them and started speaking Russian to them and they went: “Wir verstehen nicht!” and tried to give him cigarettes but he didn’t smoke so he didn’t want any so they at least gave him candy. He said: “I was afraid not to take the candy so I just grabbed it, turned around, and ran straight back.””
We often found ourselves on the edge but it always ended wells
Natálie Laštovičková, née Kuftinová, was born on 17th May 1930 in Uzhhorod, Carpathian Ruthenia. Both her parents came from Russia and met in Prague. Her father came to Prague as a refugee and a former Imperial Russian Navy officer, her mother got there with her acting group called MCHAT. They both assumed Czechoslovakian citizenship and during the 1920s they moved to Uzhhorod. Natasha had two half-siblings from her parents’ former marriages. In 1938 the family was evacuated to Khust, then transported in cattle wagons to Prague, losing most of their property. They reached Prague after the March 1939 occupation. Natálie witnessed the Prague Uprising, friendships with Red Army members, and even torturing of Germans by the Red Guards. The family was very pro-Russian. In 1946 they all received Soviet citizenship. Natálie’s admiration for the Soviet Union faded in 1950. In 1953 her brother Rafael lost a lot during the monetary reform and was also subject to persecution of some of the undesirable Soviet citizens so he emigrated to Canada. In 1958 Natálie visited the Soviet Union for the first time and met her relatives. In 1968 she and her husband witnessed the invasion of the East Germany armies and participated in demonstrations. In 1969 she regained her Czechoslovakian citizenship.