Halina Niedobová

* 1934

  • “Once, when I attended the first year, they took us all from our classes, placed us in the stairwell and in the corridor and they carried the books down from the attic. We were handing them from hand to hand in a row. A large car was standing in the backyard and the books were being loaded on it. I could read since I was five years old and when I saw the books, I really felt like hiding one but I could not. All of them were meant for burning. Nice Polish books, fairy tales and various others. I remember that it was horrible for me that so many books were put away although it would have been so great to read them.”

  • “My father was back then returning from a night shift across a forest and not far from the house he met a familiar policeman, a German who still had a heart, and he told him to get back because they would shoot him. Back then, they shot at least one of the Stoszeks and they set their house on fire. We saw it on fire. Our dad had not returned from work yet. And then we saw Gestapo officers marching in pairs after a job well done. (I mean it) in the figurative sense. Dad had not returned yet. We were absolutely frightened what had happened to him. Then he came. If the police officer had not warned him and if he had gone on, he would not have been there. I can still very clearly remember how proud they were when they were marching around our windows. “

  • “It was a few days before Christmas. It was already the evening. My aunt and her three children were living with us at grandmother´s. Their dad, my aunt´s husband was sent to a concentration camp on the same day as our dad. He was also a teacher. Many of them were sent there that day. We were sitting in the kitchen and my mother turned pale: ‘But dad used to whistle like this!‘ She went out and did not return for a long time. Then she came back, told us that dad really returned but that he could not immediately come to see us because he had to have a bath first. There was no bathroom in the house, but we had a laundry room in the outbuilding where she heated water for him. When he undressed, they had to burn all his clothes because if was full of lice. And only after it he came. I will not describe the joy. It was pure. We were happy and so was he. And he looked nice. It is important. But he only looked nice for three days, then it went down. They had injected them something so that they would get swollen and they would not scare people that they returned emaciated from the concentration camp. Then he was skin and bone.”

  • “We as the whole family had to present ourselves in an office in 1940. I do not know the name of the office, I was too little at that time. I know that they examined what colour of eyes and hair we had and if we were suitable for Germanic race. We were standing in a hall and there were many people there. Then we went to a counter where they looked at dad, asked him some questions and then they said that everything was all right that he could be Nordic race. It might not have been said exactly like that but they told him that he could get a Volkliste and they asked him if he wanted it. And I can exactly remember what he told them. He said it in dialect. ‘I was born Pole and I will stay Pole.‘ I did not know what it was about I only remembered it.”

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    Ostrava, 22.06.2021

    duration: 02:00:44
    media recorded in project Příběhy regionu - STM REG ED
  • 2

    Ostrava, 29.06.2021

    duration: 01:17:58
    media recorded in project Příběhy regionu - STM REG ED
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‘I was born a Pole and I will stay a Pole‘, my dad said. And he was sent to a concentration camp

Halina Niedobová in 1955
Halina Niedobová in 1955
photo: Halina Niedobová´s archive

Halina Niedobová, née Žyłová was born on 12 February 1934 in a Polish family in Horní Suchá in the area of Karviná. Her father Adolf was a teacher. He refused to give up Polish nationality during WWII when the village as part of the area of Těšín was annexed to German Reich. He survived eight months in concentration camps Dachau and Mauthausen-Gusen and he worked as a miner in a mine until the end of the war. The witness attended German school. As a pupil she had to participate in discarding Polish books designated for burning. Her aunt and nieces were forced to work in Germany. The witness remembers the end of the war in Horní Suchá and liberation by the Soviet army in May 1945. After graduation from Pedagogical grammar school in Opava, she taught at elementary schools with Polish as a language of instruction. She and her husband moved to Mosty u Jablunkova at the end of the 1950s. For more than ten years she was the head teacher at a one-room Polish school in the district of Mosty called Šance. When it was shut down, she taught at a Polish school in the centre of Mosty until her retirement.