Irena Sehnalová

* 1941  

  • “They were pointing their machine guns at people and in a street near Náměstí Svobody they shot that girl (Danuše Muzikářová – ed. note). I showed Captain Pátek that he’s crazy that nobody is hurting them and they are still pointing machine guns at their own people. He jumped off the truck and took me away, asking me what I was doing there. At one of the corners there was a detention station where they locked up a lot of people. As he was taking me there I saw them picking the young girl up from the ground. We weren’t allowed to look around too much. I still remember the Captain’s name, Pátek. Then they threw us into a cell and took us one after another out for interrogation. They asked me what I was doing there and why I was shouting and calling them dumb. It was at night so I told them that I had two kids at home and they have no idea where I was. They yelled questions at me about what I was doing there. One of them was a bit more polite and he said they shouldn’t shout that much, that I was completely gone.”

  • “Bombs were flying and shots were being fired so we were hiding in the basement. Our neighbours were there too and suddenly someone banged on the door and said to open up in Russian. My grandfather went up the concrete stair and opened the door. The Russian asked him if he was German and shot him in the head. Grandfather fell down and my mother, who was the oldest one there since all her brothers were fighting in the war, ran upstairs and saw her father bleeding there. She grabbed him and wanted to drag him downstairs. Then she saw that the Russian was putting more bullets into his revolver and that he would shoot her too so she left her father there and jumped down to the basement over ten stairs. The soldier didn’t follow her there and threw a tear gas grenade down at us. It started smoking and mother told us all that we needed to get out otherwise we would be poisoned. They put me in the small basement first because they assumed that they wouldn’t shoot a child. They had no idea if someone else was there and when they saw me standing there calmly they all climbed out.”

  • “My mother didn’t have Czechoslovakian citizenship yet so we couldn’t visit Poland. Her mother died and she wanted to go to the funeral desperately. It wasn’t too far, just a short distance from the border. She wasn’t allowed to cross. So she had a large wreath made and went to the border and begged the soldiers to at least take the wreath to the funeral. They refused that too. So then she asked her friends who lived in Poland and worked in Czechoslovakia to bring it to the funeral.”

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    Olomouc, 20.10.2016

    (audio)
    duration: 01:17:21
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
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The militia shot people for no reason

Irena Sehnalová (Jarzomková)
Irena Sehnalová (Jarzomková)
photo: archiv pamětnice

Irena Sehnalová, née Jarzombková, was born on 27th October 1941 in the town of Tworków which used to be on German territory but today is a part of Poland. Shortly after she was born her father had to join the Wehrmacht. He only visited home during his holiday twice and then disappeared for good. Only a few years after the war did the mother Marie find out through the Red Cross that he lived in West Germany and couldn’t go back to Czechoslovakia because of the Iron Curtain. He eventually married again in Germany and had three more daughters. Irena never met her father or half-sisters again. By the end of the war, in Czyzowice, she witnessed a Soviet soldier shooting her grandfather Johan Stabl for no reason. In 1951 her mother moved with her from Poland to Bohumín. On 21st August 1969 Irena joined a demonstration against the invasion of the Warsaw Pact armies. The protest turned into a massacre when militia members armed with live ammunition started shooting into the crowd. Irena was being arrested by a State Security captain when she saw the eighteen-year-old Danuše Muzikářová on the ground, shot in the head. Subsequently Irena was sentenced to a one-year suspended sentence for participating in the protest. After her first husband Marek Václav died she married Milan Sehnal in 1985. He was a former agent of the American CIC secret organization and a political prisoner. After the revolution they spent several years living with their relatives in Germany and later built a house in Olomouc, where they still lived as of 2016.