Libuše Rudkovská

* 1925  

  • “There was [a purge] in 1937, they called it Yezhov's Gloves. Minister Yezhov [chief of the NKVD - ed.] had people killed. They would bring whole truck-loads of people, dig up a huge pit, stand them in front of it, shoot them, throw them in, shoot them and throw them in. Ordinary people. If someone was of some profession, [they arrested them], Dad was a vet, my uncle a tailor, they survived longer. But during the war they were transferring [the prisoners], [the Germans] bombed [the railway], hit the train and killed those inside.”

  • “[The Soviets] formed the kolkhozes, and free farmers had to join them if they wanted to make a living, as their land had been seized. They left each family only half a hectare of land. We worked a lot. Things weren’t so bad in the Czech and Czech-German villages, but the Ukrainian villages were dying of hunger, their farmers didn’t want to join the kolkhozes. It was bad.”

  • “We had Jews [hidden] in one room, and in the second room we had the captives that the Germans had brought into the kolkhoz to work for no pay, only food. The house wasn’t even finished yet... I don’t know how the Jews managed not to cough.” (Q:“And the Germans didn’t find them?”) “No. Later on they wanted to take the captives back into the prison camp, but they escaped. At first they wanted to kill the German mayor, but they failed. So they escaped into the forest [to join the partisans]. They thought they would return here, because they had been living here while they had worked in the kolkhoz. But they never came back. There was a German guard standing by the window where the Jews slept, guarding the captives. He never discovered the Jews. Not until they evicted us, then the Jews left, probably to some other friends.”

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    Horní Slavkov, 12.04.2013

    (audio)
    duration: 02:18:17
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
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We had to adapt and survive

Contemporary photo
Contemporary photo
photo: archiv pamětnice

Libuše Rudkovská, née Čížková, was born on 13 April 1925 in the Czech-German village of Ivanoviče (near Žitomir) in Volhynia. She came from a family of Volhynian Czechs, her grandparents from both sides had emigrated to Ukraine in the late 19th century. The Čížeks at first tended to their own land in a secluded spot near the village, in the 1930s they were forced to move to the village centre and join the local kolkhoz, where her father worked as a veterinary physician and her mother as a day care nurse for the kolkhozite children. In 1937 her father was arrested during the Stalinist purges, he died from an infection during the war. Libuše had two older brothers, who both fought in the Red Army during the war. The Germans displaced Libuše and her mother to the nearby village of Vydumka, only the intervention of a friend saved her from forced labour in Germany. She married and bore two daughters. In 1947 she and her family re-emigrated to Czechoslovakia and settled in Tisá in the Ústec District, where she gave birth to another two daughters. She spent several years at home with her children before gaining employment in the Koh-i-Noor pencil factory. She divorced in 1966 and moved to Horní Slavkov, where she lives to this day. She earned her living in local firms, Geologický průzkum and Cheza (chemical plant), she worked as a guard. She retired in 1979. Even as a pensioner she helped out as a guard at the KOZAK and Cheza plants.