Miroslava Rybárová

* 1927

  • “I guess, I guess they stationed them there to destroy our partisans. At the time they came to us to finish it all up. They took everything we had. Everything. We had pigs, cows, horses - and they took it all, everything. And the men were to be shot.”

  • “There were eleven of them. They took eleven. One of them had a sister who was married to a Serb. She was the eleventh, so she recounted all of what happened. They pushed her aside, told her they’d shoot ten of them, that ten would pay with their lives. They told her to run. She stayed in the forest and waited to see what would happen. They forced them into a cowshed that the Bosnians had built tucked away in the hills. Then they set fire to it with [the women] inside. Alive. We were here by then. When I heard about it. We came here [to Bohemia - ed.] in the autumn because we fled when it happened, that very morning.”

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    Mohelno, u pamětníka, 14.10.2007

    duration: 02:11:36
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From Bohemia to the Balkans and back again

Miroslava Rybárová, roz. Valentová
Miroslava Rybárová, roz. Valentová
photo: V. Janík

Miroslava Rybárová, née Valentová, was born on 15 September 1927 in Nová Ves in what was then Yugoslavia. Her family had lived there from the times of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The village was almost completely made up of Czechs. Her father worked as a blacksmith. Miroslava was the oldest child, she was followed by a sister and in 1943 also by a brother. The family owned a small farm, where Miroslava worked a lot - which is one of the reasons why she only attended school for four years. During the war the village was passed through by various groups of combatants. First, the officers of the Yugoslavian army fled from the Germans. Then the new German occupants passed through and subsequently clashed with partisans on various occasions. The village also saw the arrival of the so-called Cherkhezi (similar to the Cossacks), who fought against the partisans and who confiscated much of the family’s property. The villagers were threatened by the Ustashi, Croatian gendarmes who hated Serbs. People were murdered in the surrounding villages. Then the death toll hit Nová Ves as well. The locals helped the partisans, which provoked the gendarmes to a horrific act: the burning of ten local women. Miroslava then joined the partisans and was a member of the Youth Union and Czech Brigade groups until the end of the war. After the war she took part in the resettlement of the Czech border region. When she married in 1946, she and her husband decided to stay in the Bohemian-Moravian Highlands, where they live to this day.