MUDr. Gabriela Rudolfová

* 1936

  • "When we went from the airfield over to the village, the very first night there was a front line crossing and we were hiding in these cellars where potatoes were stored. We were sleeping there, and suddenly the door burst open at midnight. Three Russian soldiers came in with machine guns, picked out the younger women, including my twelve-year-old sister, and dragged them away. My mother jumped up and went with Margita. I still don't understand that it didn't occur to me at the time that they might shoot them or something. I know for sure that my sister was raped. They both came back in the morning, but I don't know more than that, because my mother was a prude and such things were not talked about."

  • "I remember when we were living in Budapest on the Danube riverbank. There was an embankment. I remember that for about three weeks or a month there were tanks, trucks with cannons and so on passing by day and night. Continuously, as the Germans raced towards the Soviet Union. That's what I remember, that's my first memory of the war. The second memory is, it might have been in 1942 or so, when the Russians made the first raid on Budapest. People were living there as if nothing was happening, and suddenly it was all light. It was called Stalin's candle then. It lit up and about five bombs fell and [bombers] flew away. That was the first raid on Budapest. Then I started going to school - I'm a girl born in October and I went to first class when I was seven. We had school from October to the end of April. Then they cancelled the school because of the air raids. There were often air raids twice a day. It wasn't so much the city that was bombed, but the island of Csepel, where industry was concentrated at that time. But the bombs were falling everywhere, it wasn't as accurate as today. In fact, I would say that we used to spend half a day and half a night in cellars."

  • "When we came back in 1946 and when I started third class, there had been street fights and a lot of dead bodies where we lived. And what to do with that? Let them lying on the pavements - they couldn't do that, so they dug up the pavements and made mass graves. They also would do it in parks and so on. So there were a lot of mass graves. And just when I started fourth class, they dug it up in front of our house, were picking up the remains, and were taking it to some cemetery, apparently, into the mass graves, because there was no other way. There was a skull lying here and there was a long bone lying there. Somewhere else, there was the rest of the body before they took it away. The first time I saw it, I got scared. But then I got used to it. It took them about a month to clean it up."

  • "So our mother was out of her mind, she got some wagons and horses from somewhere and announced that we were going to see our father. And in the spring of 1944 we set off. All she knew was that my father was in Česká Lípa, and so we set off on our journey to Česká Lípa. I think she was so depressed and [...] that my mother was completely out of her mind. She would have performed quite well normally, but this kind of crazy idea I think - two women with three children setting off on a journey in a struggling Europe, it's not normal."

  • "I remember when we stayed there without horses and then the front line was going by, so they sent us back into some crypts or something, there were potatoes stored there, I remember that. So we were sitting there, there was a bit of shooting going on around, not much. Then when they were taking Vienna, you could hear it, but there was nothing going on in that village. Well, only it was terrible that soldiers came in there, and they took all the girls from the age of 11 and some of the women with them. Well, we didn't know if they were coming back, not coming back. For what purpose [they led them away], it´s obvious, no need to say, right."

  • "I loved my brother fiercely and he got killed. I loved him so much and he was so [...], he loved me too. So when he was in the army, somebody there could draw nicely, so he [my brother] used to send me letters. I couldn't read yet, but the envelope had princesses painted on it and so on, so I was always waiting for the postman. But then my boy was killed."

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    Jablonec nad Nisou, 05.05.2021

    duration: 54:55
    media recorded in project The Stories of Our Neigbours
  • 2

    Liberec, 24.11.2022

    duration: 01:41:26
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
Full recordings are available only for logged users.

During the war they fled from Budapest to Vienna. The Soviets raped her mother and sister there.

Gabriela Rudolfová, 1954
Gabriela Rudolfová, 1954
photo: Witness´s archive

Gabriela Rudolfová was born on 27 October 1936 in Budapest. In 1943, she briefly started attending first class, but due to the bombing of the city she was mainly educated at home. At the end of 1944 she left the capital with her mother, aunt, sister and nephew, because it was in threat of being attacked by the Soviets, and took refuge in Dunajská Streda. Then her mother decided to follow her father to Česká Lípa, but their journey ended near Vienna. They returned to Budapest a year later through the Red Cross. After the end of the World War II, the family moved to Slovakia, where Gabriela Rudolfová graduated from secondary school and passed the entrance exams for medical faculty in 1954. In the same year, she began studying medicine at Charles University in Prague. During her studies, she married and gave birth to her daughter Denisa. Despite this, she managed to complete her medical studies successfully and after graduation she started to work at the hospital in Vysoké nad Jizerou, where her husband worked as a doctor. Occasionally she also worked in Jilemnice, where there was a shortage of staff. In 1964, she and her husband divorced and she went to the hospital in Jablonec nad Nisou, where she worked partly as a factory doctor and partly in a ward. A year later she received her first postgraduate certificate in surgery and in 1971 in anaesthesia. After the Soviet occupation in August 1968, she considered emigrating, but because of her parents she decided to stay in Jablonec nad Nisou and worked as an anaesthesiologist. During her medical career she always managed to avoid membership of the Communist Party and she welcomed the fall of the regime with joy. She retired in 1985, but later decided to return to the health sector, where she worked until 2011. At the time of filming (2022), the witness was living in Jablonec nad Nisou.