Milada Šimčíková

* 1900  †︎ 1989

  • "I liked him. He was patient, and while I was singing, he would go and open the door, there was a glass wall along the room, behind which he had a couch, and he would lie down and listen. He loved music, he loved it so much! He would always listen to my singing and praise me, and when he really liked something particular, I had to sing it again for him two or three times. Oh my, what a time it was back then!"

  • "I knew her dressing room through and through, from the first to the last costume. I was free to look at all the dresses, and she showed me how she had them divided according to specific roles. All those dresses gradually passed through my hands thanks to her, and I knew all the whats and wheres and whens…" (Did she ever let you borrow them?) "Oh sure, she had me try them on for her several times, and I often had to dress up like that so that she would see what it looked like on me."

  • "I went there trembling with anxiety, I was terribly nervous, you cannot even tell how nervous I was. I entered the hallway, the gate was open and I came in. She passed in her car through the gate to the second yard, and I was standing there in the hallway all stressed out and she approached me. ´So that’s you, the girl who would like to learn singing from me?´ I replied: ´Yes, that’ s me.´ ´Come in, then, we'll give it a try. I need to test you first.´ At first she had me sing the scales and all kinds of tunes… I was so stressed that my voice quivered. ´Easy, easy, take it easy, just calm down, take it easy... You know what? Now you'll sing the role of Mařenka for me, her aria What a sorrow.´ She kept looking at me and listened attentively and I didn't even finish singing when she came to me and said: ´Fine, we shall begin then!´ And so it all started."

  • "We had a roll call. A female warden came there. She was so pretty, she had an extraordinarily beautiful face. When we saw her, we thought that she would hopefully sympathize with us. She was running along the barrack and informing us: ´We have a new Lagerkommandant (camp commander), and so I ask you to stand in absolutely straight rows, no one has to move, because he is very strict about that, and this line of five of you has to be really straight...´ Now, there was an eighty-six year old woman from Lidice standing in the row in front of me. She was standing there and she was hungry... We were always doing the roll call before breakfast, and we could go and eat that little bit of bread only when the roll call was over. We would have to stand there from four in the morning, then go and grab that bite to eat and then we had to hurry to the individual betriebs (workshops). All of a sudden this female warden stopped in front of the row of five where I was with this Lidice woman. The woman was on the verge of fainting, because she was so hungry. The warden grabbed her, she grabbed her grey hair and dragged her to the other end of the camp and there she threw her on the ground and kept kicking her until she kicked her to death. The dead woman remained lying there and the warden grabbed her by the hair again and dragged her to a place between the barracks where the commander wouldn’t go, and left her there. Tomi Klainerová, whom I already told you about, who was working there as a sweeper and thus could pass messages, found her there between rubbish containers. So this was how the old woman from Lidice died."

  • "I was afraid and I kept walking so that wouldn’t fall asleep. I was walking slowly and then I saw that terrifying smoke. I thought, God, I hope some of my girls have not stayed there. I hope they had listened to me and left. I began counting them and one girl was still missing. But I was so scared that I completely forgot to count myself in, too."

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    Valašské Meziříčí, 02.05.1988

    duration: 03:22:27
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
Full recordings are available only for logged users.

Priest, I shall be happy if my memories are preserved…

Milada Šimčíková as Mařenka in The Bartered Bride
Milada Šimčíková as Mařenka in The Bartered Bride
photo: poskytl vzdálený příbuzný pamětnice Ivan Garzina, nedatováno, pravděpodobně polovina 30. let 20. století

Milada Šimčíková was born June 26, 1900 in Střítež. She comes from an evangelical family with many children. She studied an institute for teachers in Valašské Meziříčí and then she was teaching in Krhová, Branky, Poličná and Valašské Meziříčí. At the same time she was studying opera singing under the direction of Ema Destinn. She has been acting in an amateur theatre group called Sokol Theatre since her student years, and later she also directed some plays herself. During the war she was a member of the resistance organization Defence of Nation, she was imprisoned for four years for this activity and later interned in the concentration camp Ravensbrück. After the liberation of Czechoslovakia, she no longer worked as a teacher, but she did continue singing. In the late 1980s, shortly before her death, her memories were recorded on magnetic tapes by priest Daniel Ženatý, and recently they were transformed into a digital format for Memory of Nation.