Jiřina Přibylová

* 1938  

  • “Of course, my dad secretly listened to the English broadcast, which always began: ‘Thud, thud, thud, thud,’ which is Morse code for ‘V’, meaning victory. And then it was: ‘London calling, London calling.’ And then the news started. President Beneš of the exile government spoke, for instance. Well, I’ll skip that now. We were off to visit Grandma in the countryside by train, and it wasn’t that type of compartmented wagon, it was all in one, with wooden benches. I sat on my father’s lap by the window, and suddenly out of the blue, I guess the train made some strange thumping noise on the rails, I shouted out to the whole wagon: ‘London calling, London calling.’ Everyone froze, Dad immediately started showing me some goats or cows somewhere outside. Well, and at that moment the whole compartment, or the whole wagon, which had about sixty people in it, at that moment they were all deaf, which was just... they pretended they hadn’t heard it. At that moment my parents’ blood ran cold, but it worked out okay.”

  • “My uncle died there after ten years, and his wife, my second aunt, went to see him because every once in a while they allowed a visit, and when she came there, she told the guard whom she had come to visit. And he said: ‘He doid.’ And my aunt asked: ‘How?’ So he started leafing through the pages, and she asked: ‘Where is he?’ So he kept thumbing through the pages until he found some number, I don’t know, two thousand and something, and that he’d ‘doid’. And she said: ‘Where is he?’ And he said: ‘There!’ And he pointed to a field and told her a number. So she went there and wondered around the field. There were some wooden slats stuck in the earth with poorly legible numbers written on them - they buried them there like dogs. So he’s still there somewhere.”

  • “Unfortunately, or, I don’t know what to call it, that is, I grew up at a time when what was said at home was different from what was said at school. And there was no way around it, we were trained like parrots to always say at school what they wanted us to, whereas at home everything was different, right. We also had a civic education text book with a photograph of Klement Gottwald [first Czechoslovak Communist prime minister, aggrandised by the regime - trans.] and next to him his closest colleague, Rudolf Slánský. Except in the meantime the Communists had gone wild among their own ranks, and they’d locked up the general secretary [Slánský - trans.] and a load of other people as well and accused them of sedition. At school, they confiscated our text books, and because there were no other ones to be had, they came up with a shrewd solution - they blacked out Rudolf Slánský on the picture. Well, more like they browned him out, he was kind of a bogeyman. So you had Gottwald, then a bogeyman, then there was General Secretary Rudolf Slánský in the description, that was also crossed out, but the words he had spoken stayed there. So that’s what our civic education text books looked like.”

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    byt pamětnice - Praha 6, 19.10.2016

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    duration: 50:07
    media recorded in project The Stories of Our Neigbours
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We had a bogeyman next to Gottwald in our text books

C. První svatba paní Jiřinky (kopie).jpg (historic)
Jiřina Přibylová

Jiřina Přibylová, née Břízová, was born on 14 February 1938 in Prague. At the end of the war he and his family witnessed combat between the Germans and the Red Army in Milín. Her future husband was not allowed to study university due to his participation in the 1948 student procession to Prague Castle. Several of her relatives were interned for political reasons in the 1950s. Her uncle died in Leopoldov. The witness worked as a geological researcher and then as a school treasurer during the normalisation.