Marie Šalamonová

* 1931

  • “Every Sunday our boys were walking the village and singing. Some were walking with girls, there were four or five of them, a bunch of people. And when our people already knew that they would be moved away, they were singing: ´I know my native land, in a valley beyond the mountains. I spent my great days there, which I will remember forever. Where is my home, where is my home, I used to sing as a little boy. But time will come, when I return home again, to my native land, where my home lies. Mom used to tell me, always be the person you were born. Think of your native tongue as your greatest treasure. Where is my home, where is my home, I used to sing as a little boy. But time will come, when I return home again, to my native land, where my home lies.´ But they have not returned anymore. They were singing this song when they knew that they would be displaced. They all hoped that they would return one day.”

  • “StB came and arrested our father.” “Why?” “Because he kept writing…” “They have always wanted to get the Croats out of there. Originally there were four parties, the people’s party, social democrats, communists. In 1947 all Croats swore loyalty oath to Czechoslovakia. All four parties signed an agreement that the Croats would stay in their homes. But the communists seized power in 1948 and they began moving the Croats immediately. The Croats were Catholic ad they voted for the people’s party, and the people’s party won the election. But in 1948 the communists didn’t need the people’s party anymore, and they got rid of them. If they had voted for the communist party, they would’ve been allowed to stay. The District State Committee in Mikulov wanted to get rid of the Croats all the time. They were after our property, because Frélichov supplied one quarter of milk for the entire district, that was a lot. Firstly they wanted to take our property, and secondly they blamed us that we had been German soldiers. However, in WWI our men were Czechoslovak soldiers. My uncle, my mother’s brother Pepš, was a Czech soldier. When Hitler came, they became German soldiers. Then Czechs came again… the borderline was shifting constantly, and our men thus became Czech soldiers again. They claimed that we were not trustworthy to live so close to the border, and therefore they wanted to remove us. Does it mean that if someone ploughs a field on the border, he is not trustworthy? And is he then trustworthy, when he stands on this border as a soldier with a rifle?”

  • “Since our father was in Brno, we received the same - Protectorate - citizenship as him, the head of the family. But we still lived in Frélichov. Then we were to go to school. In September mom went to ask the principal if it really made sense to register us in the school since we would be moving anyway. He told her that children had to be registered, but that he would cancel our registration when we moved. They registered us and we stayed there. We were not able to move. Mom went to the district administration in Mikulov and they told her that they needed vehicles for other things because of the war, so there was no moving, Thus we stayed in Frélichov.”

  • “If it had been possible in 1968, half of the Frélichov population would have come back. I believe that. Our godfather said: ´I’d go immediately.´”

  • “In Frélichov all of us were one family. We all knew each other, they were either godfathers, or some family relatives. We all lived there as one family.”

  • “He had a girlfriend in Huzová, he was visiting her from Štenberk. But her parents said: ´She will marry only when we are back n Přerov.´ This way he could never marry her. They still have not come back. They had a son and a daughter, and both of them were single. The parents died, the daughter later died as well, and the son remained alone in Huzová. He was dating the girl already when they had lived in Přerov, and he wanted to marry her. ´She will marry only when we are in Přerov.´ So he didn’t marry her. He wanted to marry, and he eventually married another girl.”

  • “When we went to Moravský Beroun, mom said: ´I feel as if someone was pouring freezing water on me!´ The air there was so cold. We came from southern Moravia, from warm weather to freezing winter, it was terribly cold there. There was a house nearby where nobody lived and they moved us in there and said that there was no other place for us. What to do now? One woman then suggested that the local council owned a building and we could stay on the upper floor there. The rooms were seven metres by five and a half metres, it was terrible, because you couldn’t heat them properly. There was a vaulted ceiling in the kitchen. When the adjacent house collapsed, it was so cold that even coffee in the oven froze. And beer on the table froze too! But beer contains alcohol and it shouldn’t freeze…” “I haven’t experienced that, I was in Brno.” “Our people were used to warmer regions, to southern Moravia, and therefore they later tried to get out of this Huzová. Quite a lot of them moved to Šternberk and to Uničov. One day in the morning I went to work, I got up at four thirty. Father was sleeping in the kitchen, and me and my mother in the room. I came to the kitchen and there were two or three degrees below zero. I asked the father if he was still alive, if he hasn’t frozen to death. It was so cold there.”

  • “There were differences between the Croatian spoken in Frélichov and the dialect in Přerov. For instance we called potatoes ´krumpire,´ and they said ´jertepfe,´ from German. Or we said ´doktor,´ and they used the word ´padar´ for a doctor. Or another example: old people used the word bunda (jacket in Czech – transl. note) for a dress, ´you’ve got a nice bunda.´ Czechs then adopted this word from us, and today they use the word bunda for a jacket. But how come that one hundred years ago the Croats in our country used the word ´bunda´ for a dress?”

  • “Hitler came in 1938. You could feel it, father knew it, for policemen knew about everything, so he was aware that he had to escape. Hitler would eliminate Czech policemen. All people from the office left. But what about us? We went to Frélichov. For half a year my mother didn’t know where father was. Only half a year later she got a letter that he was in Brno. Precisely on the day when she received the letter, a car stopped in front of our house, with SS men in black uniforms from German Gestapo. They entered, asking where our father was. Mother replied that she didn’t know, that he was not at home. Fortunately she managed to hide the letter quickly. It was in the evening, it was already dark, and they came into the house and locked the door so that father wouldn’t be able to escape if he had been inside, and they searched the entire house. They didn’t find father; if they had, we would not have seen him anymore I think. Then they left.”

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    Uničov, 20.11.2010

    media recorded in project History and language of Moravian Croats
  • 2

    Litovel, 20.11.2015

    duration: 02:22:59
  • 3

    Šternberk, 21.06.2016

    duration: 02:30:05
Full recordings are available only for logged users.

The Nazis wanted to displace my family from Frélichov. The communists succeeded in it

photo: archiv pamětnice

Marie Šalamonová was born in 1931 in Croatian Frélichov (present-day Jevišovka) in southern Moravia. Her father Josef Śalamon worked as a policeman in the railway station in nearby Hrušovany nad Jevišovkou, where he also lived with his family. His two daughters Emilie and Marie attended Czech schools and spoke Croatian at home. After the takeover of the Sudetenland the father had to escape to the inland and his wife and daughters moved to a newly built house in Frélichov. Their attempt to move and join their father was not successful, but throughout the war the family kept their Czechoslovak citizenship (later that of Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia). After the end of the war Josef Šalamon actively fought for the Croats to be able to stay in their native villages, taking this struggle to the international level as well. After the communist coup in 1948 he was imprisoned for two years for this activity. In 1950 his family was forcibly displaced to Huzová in northern Moravia. Josef Šalamon was fighting for the rights of Moravian Croats till his death and he always wanted to return to his native village, which however never happened. Marie Šalamonová studied a family vocational school for girls in Mikulov; after the family’s forced relocation she was working as a kindergarten teacher, but she had to leave her job for political reasons. Then she worked as an accountant. She lives in Uničov.