Vlasta Macháčková

* 1922  †︎ 2020

  • “You know, Sokol was something that was really uplifting for everyone. The feeling that you’ve got some kind of responsibility, that you have to be honest, fair, and yet humble. That was our upbringing, Tyrš and Masaryk, truth, truth, truth... and to be responsible not just for yourself, but also for others. The fact that we called each other sister and brother was very uplifting for us little ones. The others took it as a matter of course. I must make special mention of that 10th All-Sokol Rally. That was something spectacular! It was the year thirty-eight. Things were at boiling point. All over Europe. A raging Hitler was making fools of his nation. Until he completely fooled... stupefied... fanaticised them. Everything was hanging by a string, and we didn’t know whether it would take place until the very last moment. Even when we were already gathered at Strahov. It was really beautiful, but I can tell you we had goose bumps all through it. But that was an experience never to be repeated. We wanted to show we weren’t afraid, that we’d give them a fight, that we wouldn’t just let someone hurt us, our country. We were great patriots, that feeling of loving your country, loving your own country, your president, loving even your representatives, and respect everyone, honouring them, that was something amazing, and there and then we felt it the most, it was within us, we were charged, dynamic, I would say, all of us... all of us.”

  • “Two Gestapos came to me, one was a Czech, I call [that type] distorted... the other was a German... So I showed them into my room. And I say to myself, Vlasta, get a grip, keep your head, calm... just be calm. They said how come, if you got the application form, you got it three times, how come you didn’t join, you didn’t sign it. I said I hadn’t. That was this Czech... I called it a Czech Hitlerjugend. I said, well no, I didn’t join, I’m a Czech girl, I don’t understand it. Well, you were also active in Sokol. I said I had been. That was a normal organisation of ours, so why shouldn’t I have been. Yes but you were very active. I said, well, I was, like everyone else. Yes but you also organised things. I said, well, I organised training sessions. They were getting angry. Of course, they didn’t have any results yet. Yes but you also have a family. Well, I do, but we’re not in touch. Siblings? I said yeah, I had a sister, she died. And no brother? I said no. They looked at each other. But I was strong. Really, I was trying as hard as I could. They started all over again, all kinds of questions. As he turned the pages, there was a summary there, I saw it, and he had ‘politically dangerous’ written there in German. Well, and so the gentlemen took their leave. Poor Mum, she came running up, caught hold of me, we sat down side by side, we hugged and shivered, and I cried, and cried, and cried, and I couldn’t do anything at all. I broke down, you see.”

  • “Originally, I judged people for giving into it, for being spineless, so to say. But most of them did it to protect - the parents to protect the children, so they could study, and [the parents] themselves to keep their jobs. Because as soon as you diverged just a bit, they either locked you up, or they suspended you from places such as that of university teacher, and they forced you into the working class. And the interesting thing was that it was the same as during the Protectorate, even this second state of things, excuse me for calling it so, I hope no will mind... we were the Protectorate of the Soviet Union. And you could feel that everywhere, in every culture, in the political transformation. There were also people who [collaborated] for their own benefit. Both under Hitler and under Socialism. They were servile. I think those people lost their spines in some way one day and never found them again.”

  • Full recordings
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    Domov pro seniory, Brno-Bystrc, 31.08.2015

    duration: 12:04:55
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
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You gain a lot from every blow life gives you. You’re better equipped and you have more understanding for others, in happiness and pain

Vlasta Macháčková
Vlasta Macháčková
photo: současné foto - Karolina Antlová

Vlasta Macháčková was born in 1922 into the family of a railway worker. She grew with her two siblings in Vlkoš, where her father functioned as stationmaster. Her parents brought up their children in the spirit of Masaryk and Tyrš. The family was severely hit by the death of their second child, Milena, in 1937. The eldest, Karel, was active in the pre-war efforts of Czech students. After 17 November 1939 he thus decided to go abroad to the United States. The family heard nothing from him for the next six years. Vlasta Macháčková and her parents moved to Brno, where her father asked to be relocated, so that the family would avoid questions about where their son was. But the Gestapo found them anyway. The witness suffered a nervous breakdown during one interrogation. But she retained her courage. She refused to either speak German or give the Nazi salute. After the war the family was reunited with Karel. However, he was forced to flee his homeland again after 1948 - this time because of the Communists. Vlasta Macháčková repeatedly refused to join the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, and she made no secret of her opposition to the political transformation following 1948. She worked briefly as a teacher after the war, but in time the Communist regime marked her as a danger to socialistic education, and she was banned from working with children. She continued to be persecuted by the Communist regime until the Velvet Revolution in 1989. She now lives in a care home in Brno.