Czesława Smołka

* 1932

  • "[…] Oh, I forgot to tell You about the palace in Ruda Różaniecka. There were only poor houses, but the palace was beautiful. That peasant who brought us here said that there was a palace. The palace was beautiful, two hundred rooms, flower beds, flowers, park, gates, they were so […] beautiful. There was also a governess because that baron: 'Ah! Silesian people!' We entered then garden and the baron welcomed us: 'Hello, Silesian people!'"

  • "[…] We came to Cracow. The closest […] road was to Bielsko, I mean here, in Cieszyn Silesia. There were blown up bridges and we had to go to Katowice. I […] And we came to Katowice in a terrible state – dirty, tired. I remember that my mom was crying, because in Katowice one German flag. All of them […]German „Hackenkreuze”? „Swastikas”. We were hungry and mom asked in the shop for something to eat. She showed that there was tinned food [….]. - „Das ist nür für die Soldaten.” I didn’t understand anything then […] but my mom was crying."

  • "[…] And later, my aunt with Danuta, my sister, told that they wanted to see […] because it was one week or two after liberation of Milikow. And what I remember: in the evening […] morning, we saw a flag on the school wall – Polish flag. And all flags were Polish in Zaolzie! In 1938, we took over Zaolzie, don’t we? So, on all buildings […] not even one Czech (flag). Only after a week – Czech flags everywhere. And Russians, Zaolzie […] I mean […] And someone shouted in the morning: 'Polish flag on the school wall!' We were all happy, crying, kissing each other […] It was third or fourth of May, to the church, but it was quite far. And we were singing there 'Oh Lord who gave Poland glory and power.' I could sing them because my mom taught me. It wasn’t singing, it was screaming. We sang 'Oh Lord who gave Poland glory and Power.'"

  • Full recordings
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    Cieszyn, Polska, 22.10.2016

    duration: 01:51:57
    media recorded in project Silesia: Memory of multiethnic Region
Full recordings are available only for logged users.

There are more tragic than good moments in life

Czesława  Smołka
Czesława Smołka
photo: Ośrodek Pamięć i Przyszłość

Czesława Smołka, nee Chabiniok, was born on May 25, 1932 in Zebrzydowice, which is a part of Cieszyn district. She was raised in a clerical-peasant family, professing Catholicism. Her father, Paweł Chabiniok, was a veteran of World War I, in the years 1918 -1922, he served in the Military Police of Cieszyn Duchy and then in the police of Province of Silesia. Her mother was a housewife and she could speak German and Polish language, although they usually spoke Silesian dialect at home. Czesława spent her childhood in the countryside with her older sisters - Wanda and Danuta. An important role in her life played grandparents, who lived nearby. In September 1939, her father was transferred into eastern border and she, her mother and sisters were evacuated to Ruda Różaniecka (currently Subcarpathian province). When they had returned from evacuation, Czesława started attending German primary school. Her father was arrested and imprisoned in Ostashkov and then killed in Kalinin and buried in Mednoye. Due to approaching front, at the end of March 1945, Chabiniok family escaped to Dąbrowa in Zaolzie and then to Milikow. After the war, Czesława attended seventh grade Polish primary school in Zebrzydowice. She also attended Cieszyn economic secondary school and then Cieszyn high school. After school-leaving exam, she found a job in District Union “Samopomoc Chłopska” in Cieszyn. In 1956, she married Jan Smołka, who she was distantly related to. They initially lived in Zebrzydowice and moved later to Cieszyn, where their children were born -Mariusz and Lucyna. Czesława worked for many years in Provincial Enterprise of Food Trade in Cieszyn. Her husband died in 1990, At the same time, Czesława went into early retirement. Czesława speaks Polish fluently, as well as German and Silesian dialect. She is interested in history of family and the region, she likes travelling. She lives in Cieszyn with her son Mariusz.