Marie Malá

* 1939

  • “The war, as far as I know, affected almost all families. I managed to see some documents where the dead were shortlisted. And I think that there was one from each house but also two or three. There were many children there. But far the worst was when two sons and on top of that their father fell, which was just the case from Paště. You can imagine how much they hated the war. Those were entirely ordinary people. I think if they had the chance to kill Hitler they would definitely do it. It was not everywhere the same, it’s obvious. But they knew only hard toil out there in the hills. So those, if they could liquidate it all, they would definitely do it.”

  • “The death march was passing by that place. Those were Jewish women who were saved from the gas rooms but the Fascists needed to get rid of the eye-witnesses and therefore they dragged them under terrible conditions through the land. They were probably heading to Volary. There are their graves in the cemetery. There are only headstones at some places such as at Hartmanice, in the Jewish cemetery or in Rejnštejn about a kilometre behind the cemetery. Eleven women died there but nobody knows where exactly they are buried. There are only headstones there. It was in April 1945. They also went through Svojší, they were probably just on their way to Volary. They put them up in the fire house. I remember hearing them crying. But nobody could get inside because they were locked in. My granny wanted to take some food to them but unfortunately... I clearly remember their lament. Those are horrible memories.”

  • “There was probably no work down in Přední Paště so my granny and mum went to do something up to Krankbauerhof. It’s in Babylon direction. It was the time of ripe cherries. My mum was up in the cherry tree and threw the cherries down to me. And I can see it really as if it happened only yesterday that there was a postman in a black cloak coming. He shouted at my mum that there was an important letter for my granny. Mum went down, she looked at that... And it was a telegram that my granny’s son fell in the war. And I remember the picture, when they took his photo out, where the mass grave was. It was somewhere in the East front. It was a grave in such a field, there were maybe two hundred wooden crosses with names of those who fell.”

  • “It was towards the end of the war, there were crowds of war prisoners passing by. They were being dragged somewhere up the hill to Bučina. There was supposed to be a prison working camp. Those were Russian soldiers but soldiers of other nationalities as well. There was a trough with water in the village square. And my granny went out one day, she poured some water in a bucket and because she lost two her sons in the war she wanted to give them some water. However, she was knocked down to the ground even with the bucket of water. Those were cruel and sad moments because many soldiers, no matter what nationality... many of them died of exhaustion on their way and some of them were even shot dead.”

  • “Just the Haass got summons that they should come to Dlouhá Ves. So off they went. They were still allowed to use their horse carriage. They were squires, but when they arrived there they were returned because the camp was overcrowded with people. And it was some distance, Babylon and Dlouhá Ves. In about two month time they went there for the second time. This time their two sons came back because there were cattle in Babylon left and there was nobody to feed them. They got up in the morning, fed the cattle, mucked out manure from the stables, they touched every little cow and stroke horses’ manes. Then they looked back over their shoulders and looked over the countryside and it was already absolutely desolate. All farms were already empty. They were the last ones leaving the land. And then, for the third time, it was just on St. Martin’s feast, they were being transported to no idea where.”

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    Sušice, 11.05.2010

    duration: 02:20:31
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New inhabitants often managed the way that they lived in one cottage and used the neighbouring one as fuel

Mala_portret_dob.jpg (historic)
Marie Malá
photo: archiv paní Malé

Marie Malá was born in a German family in a minor house in Přední Paště on March 18th, 1939. Přední Paště was a no more existing settlement around the hill Křemelná not far from Rejštejn in Šumava. Her father had joined the army before she was born and he never came back to Šumava again. She only met him shortly as an adult. Both Marie’s uncles died in the war. This bad luck affected almost all houses in the whole region. Marie was growing up with her mum and her parents. All of them worked especially for farmers in the neighbouring farms. In spring 1943, the family moved at a wealthy farmer in Svojší on the opposite hill. Her mum met her new husband there and they bore seven more children. They moved at a farm in a nearby Jelenov in 1947. Marie was a witness of the war suffering when she saw the death march with her own eyes. She saw Jewish women spending the night in the station house in Svojší or theprisoners of war in a mess passing through the village. She also experienced the arrival of American soldiers at the end of the war. However, first and foremost she witnessed the post-war expulsion of German population and dramatic events connected with it. She witnessed the moved fates of old Šumava families, the arrival of new inhabitants from the East and total devastation of the region including complete liquidation of whole villages. Her family was saved from the expulsion by a lucky chance and Marie spent a very hard but at the same time a happy childhood and youth in Šumava. Later on, she settled down in Sušice where she lives till today. She often wanders through her native land; she searches for reminders of her former home and writes interesting books about it.