Anna Musilová

* 1933  

  • “I have to say that the enthusiasm was all around the country. I’d like to also point out that it’s a shame that that enthusiasm didn’t hold out longer, because then it didn’t matter to us that we kids had to go to school on Saturdays, there was school, people worked till Saturday and then there were work groups on Sundays. Brno was cleaned up, it had been bombed a lot, because Brno was very industrial, so when someone walked through Brno after the war, it was pretty disheartening. Then the celebrations in Líšeň began, the Gottwald celebrations, once a year. The whole hillside full of people, we also liked to go to them because there was always a fantastic all-day program. Of course, Klement Gottwald came there too and I have to make it clear that the enthusiasm after the war was so huge that we didn’t care if we had to go to the work groups on Sundays, that the harvest work groups were during the summer holidays. It was something totally different. After the war, Mom got a job as a foreign language correspondent for the 1st Brno Machine Works and, of course, she got the offer to join to the Party, so she joined the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia. And I joined the ČSM, the Youth Union, and the kids the Pioneers. At that time we saw everything as right because it was being built. That’s how we built this country. Everything that was said, we thought all of it was right.”

  • “So we finished with the war...” – “...with the war. After it, I can say that there was incredible enthusiasm. I can still remember when suddenly on the 8th of May or the 9th there were sirens all over Brno. We all ran outside, scared that there was going to be another air raid, everyone was terrified, and someone said that the war had ended, finally peace! And I remember how everyone was hugging each other. We said: ‘We’ll eat dry bread, just dry bread, as long as there’s no more war, no more...’ Then we came to know that there had been various looting. And the hunger wasn’t over. I can still remember how the rations were: a fourth liter of milk daily for children, the sixteen-hundred for adults, a month’s worth of lard fit in a tiny cup, we didn’t even know any fruit, or hardly any vegetables, candy, chocolate – that I first tasted in Switzerland. But no, I could go on. Maybe everyone already knows how it was. Those dehydrated eggs, I can remember the picture on the bag, Turkish honey, everything. We kids barely knew anything.”

  • “But I still want to say – before that partisan showed up, something else I remember happened, that a head officer of a Russian squadron came there saying that his troops needed somewhere to stay. So there was this Russian squadron in Lotti’s house, while we stayed in the other house. I have to say that they took care of us. They gave us a cup of borsch, they gave us some Moscow bread, so they sort of like took care of us. Once, though, that head officer told Mom that on that day he couldn’t vouch for his men, I guess they wanted to celebrate something that night or something, and wanted us to leave for the night. Mom and I didn’t know where to go. We knew that in Brno there was a place we called the Písečňák. It was like a sort of cave made of sand, or something like that. We spent the night there. I can say that there were families moved in there, beds too, people were sleeping there, soldiers hiding from the front. It was really interesting, but we spent a night of horror there, because at night the people there put some stuff in front of the door so nobody could break in, because it was well-known that soldiers from the front raped women. Sure, understandably, they went terribly long without a woman, and suddenly we show up. It was a bit of everything, but they kept on saying it, but it’s also true that we heard the awful banging on the door and they wanted get inside tooth and nail, but they barricaded it, those guys that were there, so they really couldn’t get in.”

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    Hranice na Moravě, 05.03.2020

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To live in a way that I never have to be ashamed of myself

Anna Musilová, portrait from 1975
Anna Musilová, portrait from 1975
photo: archiv pamětnice

Anna Musilová was born on 11 March in 1933. Her family situation was very complicated; she was born to a single mother named Marie Táborská, who, after her divorce and birth of her child, was not accepted by her adopted parents. Five years of her childhood were spent at the start of the war, and she talks about this period lovingly, she experienced life in the Dagmar Orphanage in Brno until her mother was able to secure an apartment and bring her daughter home with her. She spent the later war years in Brno. Her and her mother moved often, and had lots of luck in many places, including fleeing multiple times from bomb raids. After the war in 1946 she was part of a group of children invited to Switzerland for an extended spa stay. After returning, she had her first meeting with her father, Richard Svaček, a factory worker from Hranice na Moravě, who had till then never reached out to contact her. She saw the postwar 1950s as a positive period of enthusiasm and building a new life. She started to work at fifteen years old, and following Gottawald’s call for those working in administration to transfer to production and manufacturing, she left her position as a main controller to work in a paper mill. In 1953 she got married; within a year her and her husband had a daughter, and then a son two years later. In 1961, while working at a military airport, she joined the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia. The last twelve years before her retirement were spent as the head of the company club at the Vlněna factory in Brno. Both of her children took up figure skating very early. Her son, along with Anna Pisánská, fought their way to the top of the discipline of pair dancing. In 1980, they both decided not to return from competitions they had in London. As a result, the witness’s husband, Josef Musil, was persecuted; he had to give up his post in the Adam Machine Works for manual labor, building roads. In 1991 the Musil family had their house in Hranice na Moravě restituted, in which they decided to open a gallery. To this day, the witness has organized more than 250 exhibitions of regional artists-amateurs, countless concerts, and meetings with interesting people from the region. The M+M Gallery is a treasure for the city of Hranice na Moravě.