It’s almost a miracle that we all met up again after the war
Maria Pekařová was born on 4 March 1938 into the German family of František and Marie Pekař in Brno. Both her parents came from mixed marriages, and so the Pekař family spoke both German and Czech. Her father worked as a tram conductor, her mother had trained as a seamstress but kept house instead. The witness had one brother, Karel, who was six years her elder. They lived in Brno in the house of her father’s sister Mimi, who had married the lawyer JUDr. Evžen Popelka. The Popelkas played an important role in the life of the Pekař family after the war, when Maria Pekařová and her children were chased out on a death march with 30,000 other Brno Germans from Pohořelice to Austria on 30 May 1945. The witness’s mother was given the opportunity to save her daughter from death by exhaustion by giving her and her brother into the adoption of her sister-in-law Mimi Popelková, allowing them to return from Pohořelice to Brno. The witness’s father was dragged off to Romania by the Soviets, but because he proved he did not collaborate with the Nazis, he was also allowed to return to Brno. Maria Pekařová returned home in 1948 thanks to the efforts of Mr Popelka, and so the family was reunited. The witness was barred from studying, and so she trained as a seamstress. She married, and she and her husband went to live in the Sudetes for some time. The family returned to Brno five years later, and after some time, they moved back to their original flat. Maria worked as a crane operator for thirty years; she brought up two children.