“When you were at least half German, you had certain privileges. You were a Volksdeutsche, right? So they told me that I could be a Volksdeutsche and I said no way. ‘Pajer, Pajer, isn’t that German? Deutsche Familienname?‘ But my name was by no means any Bayer. It had a Czech spelling, Pajer, and our father came from the Bohemian-Moravian Highlands.“
“I was really scared that someone will tell them that he saw me at the interrogations. We feared the Bandera fighters really bad. The other day, they came to my brother’s house and his wife had to make them supper. My brother was a miller. His wife was Czech but he was the same as me – Polish after our mother and Czech after our father. The Bandera fighters had blood on their hands and he gave them a bowl to wash it but they said: ‘There is no need. The meal will taste better if we eat it like this, with hands stained from Polish blood.’ They used to hate the Poles a lot at the time.”
“During the execution, there were about seven soldiers in the firing squat. Some of them aimed at the heart and some of them at the head so the person died immediately. The convinced man (a Hungarian) went to the execution and when they tied him to the pole, he asked my husband to pray Lord’s Prayer with him. And my husband could not sleep that day and in the middle of the night he woke me up and said: ‘For as long as I will be a judge, I will never sentence anyone to death. God brings a man to this world and He has the right to call him back. I will never do that again.’”
“Volhynian Czechs were joining the army and my brother also did. I said: ‘I won’t go to the Czech army, I’ll go to the Polish one.’ My mother was Polish and I always felt like a Pole rather than like a Czech – I attended a Polish school and everything. My brother said: ‘No, I’m Czech and will go to the Czech army.’ I went with him to Rovno where they joined up. Rovno is a city now with about one hundred thousand inhabitants.”
“... they wanted to say goodbye to me. So I went to the Dworzec Gdański railway station and we could not even leave the city. It was late in the evening when we were leaving Warsaw. And it took us three days to do seventy kilometres. Three days! We would go on for a bit and then wait while they were bombing. The train got also hit so the commander told the passengers to get off. But there was nowhere to go. We got off in smaller and bigger groups and carried on east. We thought that it would be better there but in the end the east wasn’t really much better than the rest.”
Retired second lieutenant Anna Malášková, born as Pajerová, was born on the 21st of January 1921 in Dubno in a Polish-Czech family. She attended a Polish basic school and later a Polish secondary school, she thus felt tied to Poland rather than Czechoslovakia. In 1939, she began working in a bank in Warsaw. In September 1939, after the city was bombed, Anna fled east together with some of her friends. She got back to Volhynia through Chelm. In Volhynia, she worked as a teacher in a Czech-Ukrainian school. During the German occupation she was involved in an attempt to escape from the country and detained from 1943 to 1944 in a German prison in Dubno. Initially, she wanted to join the Polish army but the circumstances fprced her to join the Czechoslovak forces. On the 23rd of April 1944, she joined the newly formed 1st Czechoslovak independent brigade of the Red Army. She served as a communications engineer and later as a script at the military court. In Poland, she married Jan Malášek who served as a military judge. After the war they moved to Prague but they were forced to move to Liběšice in north Bohemia after the Communist coup d’état in 1948. Today, Anna Malášková lives in Prague. She died on the 1st of July 2011.