After all, although we were Czech, my mum was born as a German
Eva Novotná was born on the 19th of April 1937 in Pec pod Sněžkou. Her father was a Czech postman who had moved to Pec because of his work and because of the mountains. Novotná’s mother came from the traditional German Giant Mountains family of Dix. In the autumn of 1938 she was forced to move with her parents to Ostroměř in inland Czechoslovakia - her mother had accepted Czech citizenship and a group of young radicals had planned to blow up their house in Pec. The family lived through the war in the relative peace of the countryside, and later returned to Pec. A number of their German relatives had already been displaced to Germany. Eva Novotná completed grammar school in Trutnov before going on to graduate at the Faculty of Pedagogics in Hradec Králové. She began teaching in Pec pod Sněžkou in the early sixties and stayed there right into the nineties. She married a grammar school teacher, together they had two children. Nowadays she has several grandchildren who come to visit her in Pec. She is currently retired, heads the library in Pec and manages a small bed and breakfast in her house. Eva Novotná comes from a mixed Czech-German family, a combination quite rare in the German Pec pod Sněžkou, but otherwise quite typical for the Sudetes. In the decisive moment, her parents chose to embrace Czech citizenship, a decision which forced them to leave the Sudetes in 1938 and adversely allowed them to stay in 1945. The fates of their relatives show clearly what war and exile meant for such families.