Maria Soldaťjuková

* 1935  

  • "I think in 1954, I went with a friend to Leningrad, where I met a German from West Berlin. I spoke a little bit German because I had German at school (...). I spoke with him in Leningrad and he later sent me a letter to Mirohošť to my father's address. So the KGB was busy. Where did I meet that German? They asked my children at school in Derman, where I worked. They asked the headmaster in Mirohošť, where I graduated from high school. Far and wide they would inquire, ask everybody who knew me, how I came to this life and how I was able to meet with a West German. So I had a trouble. And then I had another problem - it was probably in 1961 or in 1962 in the classroom in Derman. You know, it was such a village that had the label of being nationalistic, full of the supporters of Bandera. Many of the inhabitants had been deported to Siberia. They were slowly beginning to return in the 1960s, since the war ended in 1945, when they were sentenced. Some got ten years, some got even more, but they were beginning to come back. One such family returned. The lads were sort of scoundrels. So they fired a shot in the classroom once. The wife of the headmaster went away from class. They brought a gun to the classroom and someone fired it. Again, the guy from the KGB interrogated me if this was the work of some organization. I said it definitely was not."

  • "I think that when Czechs love their language, they are patriots. If they love their country, they are patriots. When the Germans like their language, they are patriots and so forth. But when the Ukrainians love their country and language, they are nationalists, supporters of Stepjan Bandera, the nationalist. In the world, this is how they behave towards them. You have to see the difference: On the one hand, there were people who wanted to do something for Ukraine and on the other hand, there were people who wanted to expropriate."

  • "In 1940, they founded the kolkhoz, but not one Czechoslovak was deported to Siberia. But somehow, people were silently disappeared from Mirohošť and no one knew where they went, and among them was the Czech I told you about. Then again the kolkhoz. Nobody really wanted to go there. So they would - for instance - lock him up in the basement, where he was told to sit and chill out a bit and then write an application to join the collective farm. These were sort of a 'voluntary' collectivization experiences."

  • "In the Soviet regime, the Soviets ordered my father to be the mill director. So from September 1939 to the year 1941, he was the director. When the Germans came they dismissed him and because he spoke to them in Hebrew, and was of such a red-haired appearance, they said he was a Jude and wanted to shoot him. The daughter of the owner of the mill Flanderová was good at German and she told them that my dad was not Jewish but Ukrainian. I later saw Mrs. Flanderová. I thanked her for saving my dad's life."

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    Dubno, Ukrajina, 05.08.2010

    (audio)
    duration: 01:13:56
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
  • 2

    Dubno, 09.06.2011

    (audio)
    duration: 23:06
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
  • 3

    Dubno, 06.06.2012

    (audio)
    duration: 01:13:11
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
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To this day, our people are afraid

Maria Soldjatjuk - 2010
Maria Soldjatjuk - 2010
photo: Vít Lucuk

Maria Soldaťjuková, née Bondarčuková, was born on July 29, 1935, in the village Pohořelice (today Pryvilne) in Dubenský Újezd ​​in Volhynia in what was then Poland. Her father was of Ukrainian nationality, her mother came from a mixed Czech-German family. Maria spent her childhood in Mirohošť in an area called Zával, where Czech and Ukrainian residents lived side by side. Maria was in constant touch with Czech children and thus Czech soon became her second language. In 1944, her mother died, hit by a fragment of an air bomb dropped by the retreating German army. After the war, Maria studied history at Lviv University and subsequently taught history and political economy at Ukrainian schools. For five years, she also worked as a teacher in Bohemia in Unhošť, where she went together with her Czech husband. She saw her native Ukraine as an independent state, but also under the rule of Poland, Germany and the Soviet Union. In her narrative, she recalls the extermination of the Jews, ethnic cleansing, the Ukrainian nationalists (supporters of Bandera), the establishment of collective farms, transports of people to the Gulag, the daily communist persecution and the uneasy transition to democracy. Today, this member of the ‘Association of Volhynian Czechs Stromovka’ lives in Dubno in Volhynia.