Jaroslava Mokrá, roz. Smržová

* 1930  

  • "At Jenerálka the supervisor was a German nurse named Karolina Galla who spoke Czech really bad. Then there was another one, also a German, but she understood Czech well. We made fun of her, teased her and when she got angry she told us: 'I won't upset myself with you, I will call the Gestapo to take you with them.' She spoke in bad Czech and we were laughing it off. But since we were guarded by Czech policemen, one of them told us not to be silly because if that German woman had the Gestapo take us away to Svatobořice, we wouldn't return. And then imagine, as we later arrived to Svatobořice, at around 2 a.m., we got out of the bus and read an inscription in German: Internation camp Svatobořice. We held our breaths at it..."

  • "One thing I haven't told you yet. As a small girl I loved riding the bike. We only had a men's bike and I was riding it like crazy. Suddenly, the bike disappeared and I kept asking where it was. I hadn't found out. Only as I was bringing milk to auntie Khodlová because our rations were larger.. She never let me come inside. But through a crack in the door I could see those boys sitting at the table and so I came home and told mummy: 'I know now where the bike is. Daddy lent it to the boys who are staying at aunties':' You can imagine how scared she was. She told me: 'You must never tell anyone about it.' And I never did."

  • "The other children who were there with us travelled to Prague together. We went on our own but they came in a group. On the radio, they reported: 'Parents of the children who were imprisoned at Jenerálka and in Svatobořice, are returning on this and that day and time to Prague main station.' And we thought our parents were coming to pick us up. So we waited there around the trains as did the other relatives. But they made a mistake. Instead of 'children who were imprisoned', they said 'parents of children who were imprisoned'. That was terrible. I came home from school for instance, thinking: maybe mummy or daddy have returned and I will find them home. But I didn't." - "How did you find out what happened to them?" - "The relatives received death certificates. Just today, 24 October, is the anniversary. They even wrote the time of death there. I went to Mauthausen where they showed us how they liquidated them. They were asked to measure their height, stand next to a tape measure. But when they pressed it against their heads they got shot. It is said the women were gassed but no, not my parents..."

  • "My daddy's mummy and his sister Tonička Bejčková came to see my mummy, talking about the arrest of the Khodl family. At that moment a car stopped in front of our house. My mum leaned out and saw a Gestapo policeman get away, followed by daddy and another policeman. Mummy had said: 'Mum, Tonička, they came to get me, run away or they take you with me.' At that time they'd arrest anyone also present in the room. Grandma and auntie ran to the upper floor and then - as they told me later - grandma fainted into one of the doors. When she regained consciousness and they walked back down the apartment was already sealed and my mummy was gone."

  • "Those leftists were agitating against me strongly. Dr. Štrougal even told my boss: 'Who's that girl you've got here so that everyone is after her?' And he replied: 'You know who that girl is? She spent three years in prison during WW II.' And he told him what was going on. And then the PM gave me his support. They agitated against me because my husband was expelled from the party.' - 'Did you not consider leaving the party?" - "I didn't because I still believed the reform process within the party would take place."

  • "So we ended up at Jenerálka where they gathered the children of resistance members... Me and Vláďa were among the first there and since he was four years old he kept crying. I had to carry him on my back so that we wouldn't cry, so scared he was. We spent there a bit over a year, then they brought us to Svatobořice u Kyjova and from there further on somewhere. Someone told me they were transporting us to gas us but then the war front came to Moravia. So they put us into a train and left us in Planá nad Lužnicí where there was a labor camp. There we stayed for a month or two up until liberation after which our relatives came for us."

  • "As they were transporting us from Svatobořice - when the frontline neared - they first took us to Brno where they put us on a train and off we went... It is said that they wanted to gas us but never did. Once in the train I threw a letter out of the window saying that they were taking us somewhere unknown... My grandma actually received that letter. But they left us in Planá nad Lužnicí. There was a terrible camp there, fleas and louse all around, it was horrible. The water was bad. Daddy's sister Tonička and his brother Václav visited us there. This uncle came to see the head of the camp - I know this only from what he later told me - telling him the war was lost already and asked to be allowed to bring me and my brother Vláďa along. The head of the camp asked him not to do that; that it could mean big trouble for him."

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After the war as I was returning home from school I wished my parents were there

Jaroslava Mokrá
Jaroslava Mokrá
photo: archiv pamětnice

Jaroslava Mokrá, née Smržová, was born on 9 November 1930. Her mother Jarmila worked as a seamstress and her father Jaroslav as an upholsterer. She had a eight years younger brother Vladimír. The family lived in Prague’s Vysočany quarter where her father served as a local head of the Sokol sports organization and her mother trained schoolgirls. The fairly content life of the Smrž family ended abruptly when ten days into the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich, on 14 June 1942 her parents were arrested by the Gestapo. She herself was interrogated by them; the Gestapo was interested in her father’s bike which was probably used by the assassins Gabčík and Kubiš who were hiding at the place of Jaroslava’s aunt Emanuela Khodlová. After her parents’ arrest the Gestapo placed her and her brother into a provisional children’s home along with 44 children of arrested resistance members. A year and a half later all of them were transported into a camp in Svatobořice u Kyjova, and later still to Planá nad Lužnicí. All of the kids survived the war but all of their parents were executed in October 1942.