Anna Sedláčková

* 1929

  • “Every now and then a bomb would drop in the garden. We were terrified by that and were hiding all the time. It was a coincidence it didn’t fall on the house but in the garden. We had no glass in the windows; it had all been shattered from the blasts. When the bombs exploded, the ceiling was making funny sounds. There was just one more family living upstairs. The house only had two floors. The woman upstairs was unmarried but she had a sixteen-year-old kid. I think his name was Gustl. She lived there with her old dad and that kid.”

  • “My sister Mařenka stayed hidden in the closet till the morning. She was afraid of the Russians and she was just fourteen. We were sitting there and the old bearded Pole was telling us stories. We told him we were from Slovakia from Čadec. He kept caressing us and telling us that the war would be over soon and everything would be alright again. He said that we would go to Slovakia the very next day, that the train to Slovakia was leaving the next day. He was a nice guy. He was Polish and they called him Franc, Franek in Polish. He left at around eleven, he kept walking outside to look what was going on. Then he came back again and said that there was no need to be afraid, that everything would be alright. There was no electricity, the house was smashed. All of a sudden, two or three guys came inside the house. One of them held a Nagan in his hand. A Nagan is a handgun with a wooden handle. They grabbed my mom and we started to cry and scream. Luckily, Franc protected us from them. He somehow managed to persuade the thugs to let my mom go and then he took them away, I don’t know where he took them. Then he came back and hurriedly took us away.”

  • “That woman and our mom, they both went out looking for clothes. They went on the fields and always found people who had been killed recently. They took their clothes and because it was soaked in blood, they washed it and left it wet, hanging outside for the night. The next day they drenched it and boiled it and then we would wear it.”

  • “There was a lot of shooting and bombing shortly before the war ended. They were coming closer and closer to Ratibor and we heard the gunfire and then the airplanes. At daytime we would hide in the cellar and at nighttime we ran out into the fields because of the shooting. The planes roared the sky and lit everything on fire, even water burned from their phosphorous bombs. That’s the way we lived before the end of the war. And then, on April the first, the Russians came at last. We were just sitting in the cellar. There were a lot of people assembled in the cellar sitting on a pile of potatoes.”

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    Hanušovice, 13.09.2011

    duration: 01:52:46
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
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Alone with three daughters amidst a Europe at war

Anna Sedláčková - 1974
Anna Sedláčková - 1974
photo: archiv pamětníka

Anna Sedláčková, née Pohančeníková, was born in 1929 in Malesice nearby Pilsen. Shortly before the war - in 1937 - her father, Pavel Meděra, died and her mother Magdaléna Válková stayed all alone with three daughters. Since 1938, they had been more or less constantly on the run. First, they had to leave Český Těšín because the city was taken by the Polish army. Later, they had to run away from a drunkard farm keeper in Rohov nearby Opava. They spent most of the war time in Ratibor (Ratiboř in today’s Poland), where they witnessed a massive allied bombardment that annihilated 80% of the buildings in the town. The whole family, mother and daughters, were almost raped by a group of drunken Soviet soldiers. Fortunately, they were saved by a quick-witted Pole by the name of Franc. They spent the next few weeks muddling along Poland before they settled in Drahošance in Slovakia. After the war, the whole family moved to Šebetov near Boskovice and later to Hanušovice, where Mrs. Sedláčková still lives today.