Jaryna Mlchová

* 1921  †︎ 2017

  • “First, I went to the late professory Herfort at the clinic who told me all the symptoms of hepatitis. I then found in a toxicology textbook that the nearly lethal picric acid causes a false hepatitis. And that one needs to be careful with it because it affects the liver and can actually kill a person. Being a chemist, I found out that citric acid causes serious diarrhoea. So when citric acid was combined with this hepatitis, as I used to call it, the person would turn yellow and would not be required to go in the transport. As a Jew, for instance. A huge number of people were able to avoid the transports, I do not know how many. I would gather the picric acid and mix it with citric acid to make such packages to be sent out. One dummy whom I had also sent it did not receive it. I sent it again. And he wrote me a regular postcard – maybe it was for the good that it weren’t secret – ‚when is it going to arrive? I am stuck waiting, not receiving anything.‘ I realized he was too stupid for me to send it to him again. I thus gave it to someone else to pass it to that guy. They did not know me, this is the way I worked. I was employed at the research institute for sugar-making and they had both these acids there. There was this large library in which they had the cut bottles for chemicals with a label so that I knew it was correct. I would simply send it out like that.“

  • “Later, I left the resistance group. I told them that I have a little child and that I cannot do it anymore. I left Prague for my aunt’s who was the wife of a school principal in Milovice which was horrible because that was where the German army HQ was stationed. I went to the local school to be with my aunt because they at least had milk. I had nothing to feed this girl of mine. I used to cook her broths but I had nothing to make them of. Then the Russians came to occupy the village and settle down. I was afraid and once again had to leave. But before I did, to make things just, one of those Russians came and brought me some two kilos of rice. I then made a broth of it, thinned it down with milk and fed it to my girl. The Russians gave it to me, I have to admit it because it is the truth. They took over the school in which my uncle taught and left all their horses in the garden. The Germans who were in Milovice had nowhere to escape. The Russians were on one side and the Czechs, who also despised them, on the other. So they were somewhat clinched in there. One of the Russian generals – I think it was Koněv – then brought the horses to Prague. The Russians behaved decently because as they saw me they said they would only take the classrooms, not my uncle’s appartment. So I lived in this Milovice appartment along with both the Russian and the German garrisson. And awaited what was about to happen in this place of conflict. Surprisingly enough, nothing at all happened.“

  • “I had an acquaitance at the labour office, his name was Mirek Lorenc. He always used to tell me whenever they were about to have a draft to forced labour in Germany because his office dealt with it. It was in Hybernská street. There is this big house with a passage all the way to Senovážné náměstí, near Jindřišská tower. One could get there throught the backyards. And this Mirek told me that it was possible to get a replacement for whoever was about to be drafter, a person who would substitute for the original one. The documents and all for this totaleinsatz would then be given to the substitute. But to find such person was really difficult. Who would have volunteered for Germany where war was raging? I came with this stupid idea. When prisoners were about to be released I would go to the prison at Pankrác, waiting for them to get out. It was at the time illegal to be jobless and the Germans would lock the unemployed up instantly. Since none of those people had a job I asked them whether they would like to go to Germany from where they would more easily escape. And I found five or six people who went for it, a whole group. These people left for Germany and when they returned they would give me cash to pay the other ones off. So I paid off those other ones who had been released but jobless. With a bit of money, they could be convinced. Furthermore, as a chemist I knew – and know to this day – how to make alcohol. I would distill the alcohol and pour in some cheap perfume. I used to collect those glasses and pour it in. Then I gave it as a bribe to those guys when I had no money. So this was my way of bribing people released from the nick. They were also easy to buy off with rum, that was great. This way I managed to save a number of decent people from the transport.“

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    Ústřední vojenská nemocnice, 30.09.2013

    duration: 01:12:26
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I never desired for my name to be written somewhere out there

Jaryna Mlchová ()
Jaryna Mlchová ()
photo: archiv pamětníka

Jaryna Mlchová was born on 26 February 1921 in Prague where she lived practically her whole life. Her father was Karel Krofta, a poet and a writer. At the end of the 30’s she enrolled to a school of chemical engineering in Liberec. Following the German occupation of Sudetenland she concluded her studies in Prague, later also taking the final exam at a grammar school. She got married at the beginning of the war and along with her husband got involved in the activities of a resistance group within the so-called Committee of the Petition “We Remain Faithful”. There she organized sending food packages to concentration camps. She also made use of her profession to mix chemicals which when eaten caused false hepatitis, saving many people from transport to the camps. When in the late years of war, thousands of people were being called up for forced labour in Germany, she would go convince the released prisoners at Pankrác to sing up, replacing the drafted people from the resistance. Her apartment was searched by the Gestapo a number of times but no compromising materials have ever been found. By the end of the war, Jaryna’s daughter Jana was born. She therefore left the resistance group and went to her aunt’s in Milovice. Here she lived through the liberation of the Russian army. Jaryna Mlchová died on 9th January 2017.