Franjica Poznik

* 1930  

  • A folk song I Walked an Alley at Night, sung by the witness and her daughters, Marie and Mirjana.

  • “They came to our house. They (ed. note: the Black Legion) had killed a hundred Serbs on a hill in Derez and threw them in a well. They would stab children with a bayonet and throw them away. We children were scared! I still remember it with horror! They were horrible! Horrible! The Nazis were okay, but the Croats… and the Dalmatians the most – those ‘Black Shirts’ were the worst! They are the worst to this day, but we’re not supposed to say that.”

  • A folk song Grey Dove sung by the witness and her daughters, Marie and Mirjana.

  • “What did we do? We raised geese, and we would go pull the feathers in winter. We got all together, pulled the feathers and sang songs. During carnivals, we assembled in one house and danced, sang and had fun. There was no cinema. When we moved over here [to Beška] in 1954 it was the first time I went to the cinema. I had never seen a TV set until we bought it here in Beška; not even a radio. We bought a radio when [daughter] Mira was born. My dad had no radio; he would plough the soil all day. (He also moved to Beška; we went one by one, eight families. Just like gypsies, we went one by one.). So we had a radio first and then we got a TV. So there were up to twenty of us in the house – women would come to us to watch TV. That’s how we had fun.”

  • “My dad farmed over the summer and worked in the forest, as a lumberjack, to get paid to bring us money so we could buy bread and live! We were five kids with nothing to live on – there was no money, not a dinar! The town was very far, there was no car or anything and we walked. Whatever we had – some eggs or butter that we made and quark from our cow’s milk – we would bring to market to Daruvar to sell and buy sugar, which we bought in kilos and only once a year, for a carnival or a party. We had that for feasts. We also made black coffee only when guests came during a feast. Other than that, we had quark and we sold it all to get some dinar. So when mum took it to Daruvar and sold it in the market, we had nothing to eat and were hungry. But she had to sell it to get some money.”

  • “I would go to market when I was… eleven, twelve or thirteen. Mum would pack up goods and tell me to buy salt. I took a little quark and some eggs that we had to Daruvar to sell... And then there was an ambush! Guerrillas! They didn’t let us go to the town and took everything from us. They sent it to their hospital. There was an attack, with soldiers going from Pakrac and from Daruvar. The guerrillas were here, hidden in a house near the forest, and we were hiding too! They started shooting at us, one by one. A lot of firing! We children were so scared that we crawled under the bed. Missiles flew, tanks drove and the guerrillas escaped to the forest. That’s what I saw as a child.”

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    Beška, Srbsko, 13.08.2017

    (audio)
    duration: 42:15
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The life passed by like a day

Franjica Poznik ID picture, 1970's
Franjica Poznik ID picture, 1970's
photo: Archiv pamětnice, naskenoval Milan Fürst

Franjica Poznik was born on 9 February 1930 in Střežany (Sređani in Croatian) on the territory of today’s Croatia. At the time, the village was part of the Badlavina District in the then Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes - a state also known as Yugoslavia. The witness comes from a poor farming family in the Czech immigrant community in the west of Slavonia. Her parents had five children. She lived in her home region during World War II. She experienced guerrillas as well as the Ustasha militia and the Black Legion. In 1954 she and her sister and other Czech families moved to Beška, a village in the Srem area of Vojvodina in the territory of today’s Serbia, although it was still within one state at the time. Shortly after moving, Franjica married Czech Franja Poznik, a former member of the Jan Žižka guerrilla brigade. They brought up two daughters together - the first one was born in 1955 and the other in 1959. The family farmed. After the death of her husband, the witness travelled a lot, visiting her relatives in the Czech Republic. Franjica Poznik has retained her knowledge of Czech and a relation to Czech culture.