Margita Rytířová roz. Schneiderová

* 1924  †︎ 2019

  • “Me and my sister left on May 31, we arrived there on June 2. During the summer vacation, my parents were sending letters to us, my sister still keeps them, unfortunately I haven’t kept mine. (When did you learn that you would go to England?) You know, we were thinking about it, probably it was a matter of chance. This uncle František probably learnt about Mr. Winton. I don’t know how it was. We are not even included in that list. But we went with the children for which Mr. Winton organized the transport. (…) In 1990 these ´children´ began organizing reunions. My sister was working in Artia, ands there was one of her coworkers who had attended a Czech school in England. We did not know about it at all, we were living away in the countryside.”

  • “I was demobilized in November 1945, and I immediately made a request to our embassy to be returned home, thus on December 2, I was on a repatriation train home. Nobody was left here, I already knew that. My father died of tuberculosis in 1942, in a concentration camp, but he had been seriously ill even before that. And my mom, as I learnt later, had been in Terezín and then she died in gas chambers in Auschwitz. I learnt this from my friend from the secondary school, she invited me to come over for a visit. I arrived from Prague and after two weeks I learnt that there was my aunt and my cousins, they had been looking for me. (...) They were from a mixed marriage, auntie was a Christian-Aryan, uncle was older, he died already in 1937. The cousins were here throughout the entire war. They had only one room and a kitchen. I wanted to stay here, I don’t even know why (…) For instance, I was walking the Wenceslas Square and thinking, what if my mom had lost her memory and was perhaps now looking for me. I was looking at the people, and thus I stayed here.”

  • “The end of the war on May 8, 1945? The commander of the airport called us and told us that the war was over and that we had three days off. So I thought what I would do. The Englishmen fled home. Not all of them, some stayed there. I was somewhat sad. They were asking: ´Why, what’s wrong?´ I said that they were still fighting in Prague. I am not going to celebrate anything. In the evening they came to tell me that there was no more fighting in Prague. ´Come with us, we’re going to a pub.´ I never liked alcohol too much, I don’t feel too well if I drink, its the same today. So we went, I drank some beer, and they have poured something else into my beer. To put it simply, I was so drunk, I lost my hat, and I was sick for three days. So this is how I celebrated the end of the war.”

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    Zadní Třebáň, 21.10.2009

    duration: 01:32:03
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
  • 2

    Zadní Třebáň, 18.09.2014

    duration: 19:14
    media recorded in project Soutěž Příběhy 20. století
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I was walking the Wenceslas Square and thinking, what if my mom had lost her memory and was perhaps now looking for me. I was looking at the people, and thus I stayed here

Margita Rytířová in her uniform - 1943
Margita Rytířová in her uniform - 1943
photo: archiv pamětnice

Mrs. Margita Rytířová, one of more than six hundred so-called Winton children, was born in Prague in 1924. She came from a non-practicing Jewish family as her father had left the religious community. She is unsure of exactly how her parents managed to organize a departure for Great Britain in 1939 for her and Lenka, her younger sister. It was most likely organized by her uncle, who had already left for Britain. With her sister, she left on May 31, 1939. They lived with an English family, isolated from other Czechoslovak children in the Herefordshire County. She attended English school for only one year then worked as a babysitter. As soon as possible, she joined the army and from 1942 she served as a volunteer electrician in the WAAF (Women’s Auxiliary Air Force). Despite her numerous applications, she wasn’t transferred to the Czechoslovak No. 310 Squadron until June 1945, after the war. Mrs. Rytířová then worked at the airport in Prague Ruzyně, where she met her husband. In 1951 they were both fired from their jobs. At first she was unable to find decent employment, but from the mid-1950s she was working at a post office as a correspondent and as an English proofreader in the Technical Literature Publishing House (SNTL). She currently lives in Zadní Třebáň.