Ing. František Pachman

* 1942  †︎ 2015

  • "Part of the family from my mom's side comes from Kojetín. Our relatives live in Kojetín to this day and we're still in contact with them, but today it's already the second and third generation. My aunt Maruška and uncle Vojta lived in Kojetín - they were either of half or a quarter of Jewish origin. Back in the day, it was just not their turn, yet. The Germans would simply not have made it anymore, since they were fortunately already being crushed by the Russians. Dad went to Kojetín and made arrangements for my hiding there. They had a house in Kojetín - there was a general store in the house, a basement and that was it. So they agreed that my father would bring me there. My aunt said: 'I've had two daughters, I have a ton of girls' clothing, so I'll disguise him for a girl. Given he's just two years old, he shouldn't mind it too much'. So my dad brought me there. They took me to another room, where my aunt Maruška dressed me in a pink girls' dress and ruffled my hair a little bit. I had curly hair, it was curls all over. They brought me back to the room as a little girl. Of those who were there in the room - my dad, my aunt Květa and her daughter - that daughter is the last living witness of that scene. I talk to her every day and we visited her last week when we went back from the presentation of my book. Although she's already 92 years old, she doesn't suffer from any great forgetfulness. So she remembers most of the events and what I'm about to tell you, I was told by her. I asked her: 'You gave me some girl's name. Where did that name come from?' She replied: 'You know, when you were brought back by my mother dressed in a girls' dress, there was a mirror and you looked at yourself in the mirror - a baby boy of the age of two years and three months - and you said >I look like Betka <'.Everyone started laughing and so from September 1, 1944 until the end of the war, I was Betka."

  • "Basically, I now get to the end of the story. This was on May 10. So if, let's say, Kojetín was liberated on May 5 or 6, I was by then already playing outside in the garden with my aunt Maruška. She was showing me people, houses, cars, etc. She showed me the hens - I could play with them and run around with them. She also showed me the rabbits. She said: 'This is Tomáš, this is Lojza'. And one day, after my afternoon sleep, she took me to the yard. She did something and I was running there. She said that she came to me and said: 'Well, do you remember the names? So this is Tomáš, this is Lojza...' A car suddenly came to the house. My aunt turned around and saw my mom jumping out of the car. My mom came in, my aunt turned me toward my mom. My mom was crying and laughing at the same time. She embraced me, took me into her arms. It was the end of the war and I said something that has ever since been remembered in my family. It has sort of become tradition and everyone who knows us knows it. I said to my mom: 'mom, come on, I'll show you the bunnies'."

  • "I have two personal memories from the time of the end of the war. In the last days of the war, when nobody knew what would happen, my dad arranged with my uncle Vojta and aunt Maruška, that he’d get me on the bike and take me to a cellar where he was hiding and which was nearby a forest. So in case something happened we’d be able to hide in the forest. They thought this was important. So we went on that bike and all of a sudden there were army aircraft in the sky above our heads. Neither my father, nor I knew whether they were Russian or German. But that wasn’t important anyway. There was a large building there and the pilots apparently thought that the enemy was hiding there. My dad suddenly grabbed me and we jumped into a ditch and just seconds later, I heard a mighty explosion quite nearby. So that’s really my first recollection – the bike ride with my dad and the sudden hard landing in a ditch and subsequent explosions. The second recollection is from the very end of the war when we were waiting for the end in the basement and uncle Vojta was supposed to come and say ‘the Germans have left’. And I remember that my dad wanted to go out to smoke a cigarette but I started crying like mad since I didn’t want to stay alone in the dark and dump basement."

  • "I actually had some minor problems, but that was just because I worked in an organization that was a branch of the Sigma Company. They would ask all the resistance fighters for their opinions and I was not able of saying what many of my colleagues did. And I did the same as my father did. About the entry the armies, I said that it was an occupation and that it will never be anything else. And about Palach, I said that every young life lost is a pity. Thereby I effectively brought in the verdict about my ground-breaking career. So thereafter they made me head of the information system in the soft drinks."

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    Tovéř, 17.06.2014

    duration: 01:44:00
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
Full recordings are available only for logged users.

Mom, I’ll show you some bunnies

František Pachman in childhood
František Pachman in childhood
photo: archiv pamětníka

František Pachman was born on June 14, 1942, in Olomouc. His parents got married in a difficult time, shortly after the establishment of the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia. The expansion of Nazi Germany represented a huge threat for the newlyweds, in particular for the mother of the witness, Matylda, who was Jewish. Even though she had converted to Catholicism before the wedding, she did not escape the transport to Theresienstadt in 1944. The father of the witness subsequently hid two-year-old František with his relatives, Vojtěch and Marie Zatloukalovi in Kojetín, and until the end of the war went into hiding himself. Fortunately, all of them survived the war. The mother returned from Theresienstadt on May 10, 1945. However, the grandmother and great-grandmother of the witness, Olga Eislerová and Josefa Bergerová, died in the concentration camps. The Pachman family returned to Olomouc after the war. František Pachman graduated from a Slavonic grammar school here and then went to study at the University of Economics in Bratislava. Until his retirement, he worked as an economist in industry. After 1989, he became involved in local politics and was a deputy mayor of the municipality of Toveř. In 2014, he published - together with his son Richard - the novel Tylda that is based on the story of the life of his mother Matylda Pachmanová. František Pachman died on August 8, 2015.