“They were issued with warm clothes for the second time. And because I wasn’t any non-commissioned officer I was told I wasn’t entitled to it. But I was so cold that I had to make something to put on because it was such a terrible winter, frosts in Slovakia... So I went there and they sat there, the soldiers. And I said that I also wanted to be issued with clothes. And they replied that I wasn’t even any non-commissioned officer and that it was impossible. So I said to them: ‘You’re right, I have not been under any commissioned officer yet...’ The guys started laughing because they knew why I said that. And they also said: ‘She is as cold as the one who had already been under an officer...’ So I left and they brought me something in the end.”
“'I will not stay here!' my dad said and left with the musicians to the front. When some soldiers came, well, they came to me, they used to go to play for them there. I actually can't imagine what the band was good for in the front... They used to go to hospital as well or when they met then, when there were a couple of them having a rest somewhere, they played for them. Oh, music, it was his life, he couldn't live without it. And I take after him as for this.”
“Well, nobody from my family belonged to the Communists. I have no idea who was that. Then the Soviets were taking all big enterprises. The joiner's workshop we had was taken away from us, we were kulaks then. And they started transporting many people to Siberia.” Interviewer: “And didn't they force you to join the KSSS (Central Communist Party)?” - “No, I'm not aware of that but I don't think they did. Maybe my dad or granddad but I know nothing about that.”
“We were in the village and that was it. There was nobody supervising us, nobody brought us any food, nothing. There was a hospital somewhere down there and it was from that hospital, I can say that, there was a non-commissioned officer, a Jew – I have no idea what his name was – he stole food from there and he was bringing it to us. Otherwise we would probably have died of hunger there. Until we were redeployed. Because the front pulled back and we were left there in an annihilated village, there was nothing left there, nothing.” - “And who do you mean by 'we'?” - “Well, those walking wounded, the tired, the exhausted, those who I was responsible for. The hospital was a bit farther, they moved it then and we were left there alone.”
“And before they started my friend with his surname Němec (German) went out into the yard and started shouting: 'Do not bomb it here, there is also a German here!' We were making fun of it. Then we ate 'katlon' if you know what that is. It is chicken broth with little pasta balls. So we were having our soup and he said: 'Do not shoot here, there are also balls here, they all would roll away.' Such was our humour. We did not believe they could drop bombs on us. I had never run to the cellar before but when the bombers came. When they started dropping the bombs I ran as the first one, as if I suspected that. My dad made such a firm, a really firm cellar and there was a wooden verandah above that. So the bomb wasn't dropped right on the cellar but it pulled our house down, completely to the ground. We were left out there without anything to eat, without clothes, without everything. We were sitting with my mum... I really do not want to cast my mind back... We were sitting with my mum crying in the yard because we had no food, there was nothing to put on... It was all gone.”
We were making fun of it, we didn’t believe that they would drop bombs
Marie Soprová, neé Masopustová, was born in Buderáž in Ukraine on October 15th, 1925. Her parents lived in Zdolbunov but they were just visiting their relatives in Buderáž. Her father was a joiner and he owned a large workshop and a shop in Zdolbunov. Besides, he was also a bandmaster, he played amateur theatricals at parties and festivities that were often organized by the Czechs. Relaxed life in the community of Volynian Czechs was interrupted by the events of the Second World War. The village was continually invaded by the Germans and the Soviets and didn’t avoid the Ukrainian Nationalists wreaking havoc neither bombing. Zdolbunov was liberated by the Red Army in February 1944. Marie Soprová should have been sent to Dombas to work in coal mines. However, in the meantime she joined the Czechoslovak Foreign Army in June 1944 as well as her husband, father and brother. Marie Soprová, Rolerová at that time, worked as a telephonist in the First Reserve Regiment at first. Then she went through a medical course and joined the Third Brigade. She proceeded with the Army and looked after the wounded and exhausted soldiers. She got to Žatec with Svoboda’s Army where she was officially dismissed from the Army. At the beginning she stayed in the military post office because she had nowhere to go and she didn’t know anybody in Czechoslovakia. Then when she met her brother, father and her husband she started working in the local pub. At first she was responsible for soldiers’ food; later with her father she took the pub over. However, the war was responsible for the bad family situation of Mr and Mrs Roler. Mr Roler started drinking, their divorce was unavoidable. Her father fetched her mum from Ukraine and the family was complete. They settled down in Podbořany where they ran a pub. She met her second husband there. Bad health of Mr and Mrs Sopr fully showed itself after the war and therefore they had to move away from Podbořany. They found their new home in Klánovice by Prague.