Marta Talmanová

* 1924

  • "The very last Sokol festival was held in 1938. And since I was only 14 I wasn’t even supposed to be going there. But because I was good athlete, they included me among the young competitors. I will never forget that. We wore those Sokol outfits decorated with yellow flowers on it which we were supposed to be opening during the show. The next day when we got on the stadium, our chieftain was so touched by the atmosphere: ´I’m sorry, I’m just so impressed...´and she continued: ´Girls, you have to hold on, Mr. President wants to see you one more time. He’s on his way.´ So we just stood there and waited. They all of a sudden the official president fanfare sounded... After we finished our workouts he told us: ´Thank you girls.´ That was like... To me the stadium seemed so big. Later when I participated once again on this festival (1948) already as a woman the stadium didn’t seem that big to me anymore. It was also wonderful experience in 1948. There wasn’t any president watching us though anymore. Another beautiful experience was when we went down the Lužnice River. In front of Sezimovo Ústí town (There used to be a residence of president Beneš - translator’s note) we made a stop. We got out of the row boats and we were shouting something. I don’t remember anymore what it was. I think we were wishing him all the best. Mrs. Beneš came out and told us that her husband is resting and that he says hallo and good luck to us."

  • "So you will actually going into these bunkers with the armors top? "Yes. It wasn’ the end when the bombing attack started, they switched the electricity off so it was completely dark inside. The other thing was, that the Polish girls didn’t have their ID, so when they checked one girl who didn’t have her ID card with her, they threw her out - during the direct sweep." "So you all had the ID cards from the camp period or certain people used certain shelters?" "No. Just Czechs." "Right." "Only Czechs. Not Poles, not French girls, not even Italian girls had the ´shelter ID´, just us." "So the other people used different shelters?" "That’s right." "And those were the ones you talked about - only sand made; they were only covered with sand, right?" "Yes. The boys dug out huge holes. Once when we were in the barracks (with Ryntova - room mate) she said: ´You’ll go to the shelter again. Look what a bright day is it today. Come with me to the desert. People used to call it desert. There were only few birch trees, because any kind of other vegetation would last there. So as I said, the boys dug out huge holes. Then in case of need you had to hurry up and hide into these holes. The truth is, it wasn’t much of a help. Anyway, the day was exceptionally nice in deed, so I was just hanging out there, appreciating that I didn’t go to the bunker too. At first the fighters approached. They were firing back at them and we could see those small clouds - like smokes. It was kind of neat. They just flew around us and were gone and I thought aloud: what a shame they’re gone already. Then one of the boys said: ´Just look up there, big clouds are coming now.´ and he was right - bombers were approaching. Interesting was, that the boy remained sitting on top of the heap of sand and was counting: (of course I was the first one inside of the hole) ´This one is not for us. I can hear it falling down. And this one is also not going to hit us. That interesting that the mine that was supposed to hit us was never heard. A lot of people probably died back then. Even two Czechs died that day. After this one experience I decided that no matter what I will go to the bunker again from now on."

  • "When we moved in that first night and the first morning...I probably didn’t have the kind of blood they like (the bedbugs) so they didn’t bite me much. But the other girls were bitten big time! So through our translator we requested disinfection of our room. The French girls lived in the next barracks and they were just laughing at us. They were saying: ´You are wasting your time in doing this...´ Because we were throwing all our mattresses out. They shouted: ´We have the bedbugs allover and they just find new place for them.´ And it was true. While our rooms were being disinfected, we slept together with the Russian girls. They went to work under permanent military supervision. We spent one night there and then we were more than glad to be out of there."

  • "I have never been a communist. We were really ordinary rather poor family. But my mother was actively involved with the national party. President Beneš - he was all over her head. If he wasn’t the president he was the head of the national party. My mother was amazingly involved, she really enjoyed herself. Later, in 1948, I was working in health insurance. One of my colleagues there - very ambitious man (also member of another national party) came one day with applications to entry the communist party. He put the application on the table and said: ´If you don’t sign it, you will suffer the consequences - you’ll get fired.´ Therefore I signed it too. When my mother heard about it, first thing she said was: ´I hope you really didn’t sign it? ´ I replied: ´Actually I did.´ ´I don’t know how you will go on with it.´, she said. It was in February when he brought these applications. Then in the spring - we were already working in district insurance - they were screening us. I was complaining that I never wanted to sign it. One colleague who signed it as well told me: ´But, Marta, that’s not a problem at all. You can withdraw from the party again.´ And I said: ´That’s what I’ll do.´ He continued: ´I withdrew myself and look, I’m still here.´ And I asked him: ´And what did you write there?´ He replied: ´I wrote there that obviously I’m not strong enough to fulfill the party tasks.´ So I thought : great, I’ll just write the same then. The screening came at the same time so I decided I will tell them straight there during the hearing. They asked me why I entered the party at the first place. So I explained: ´Because Mr. Divíšek came one day with the applications and said if we won’t sign it, we’ll get fired.´ One of the insurance comrade said: ´But Marta, you are not serious?!´ And I said: ´I sure am, that’s exactly how it was and you know it.´ ´Well well well.´ One of the workers said: ´And why were you also member of the national party?´ ´Because it was the party of Eduard Beneš, whom I considered and still consider being very strong and creditable man.´ And he said: ´Well, dear comrade, I don’t know, but I think that your membership in our party is really...´ And I said: ´I denounce (from the communist party).´ And he replied: ´Oh are you? Is it because you’re not strong enough to fulfill the tasks? ´ ´That’s right´ I answered. ´And I wonder what you going to do about it now. If I really have to stay here.´ Well, I stayed. Furthermore when I had a child, my baby boy, they wrote me a letter, while I was still on the maternity leave asking if I could come to work earlier, about two weeks before the end of the maternity leave. But I have never returned."

  • "We all got some sausages and bread and we went off. We changed train in Dresden and from here we went to Braunschweig camp. It was an aircraft company in fact called Biessing. I don’t know what happened though, but there were mostly girls from agriculture field there. I and one other girl who also graduated from high school didn’t go to the production department, but they sent us to the controlling room, where we had to check the gears. It was very tedious work, because we found out that we were controlling one box of these gears all over again. We had to work twelve hours per day, so we were very tired at the end of the day. There were often air attacks of course. Braunschweig was very frequently bombed in fact. But there was something we could take advantage of...We had our translator there. So if there was something we couldn’t cope with, he was translating for us and many times also arranged things for us. Personally I didn’t need him that much though. We also received the ID cards for entering the bunker, which was...It basically was a concrete cube, without windows, without anything - plane building. We were allowed to go only on the second floor, which was the top floor. On the very top of this building was an armor plate. If the plate got hit by bomb it only made a tiny hole, just like we used when playing balls."

  • Full recordings
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    Plzeň, 10.08.2009

    duration: 01:25:54
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
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The small clouds are gone, the huge clouds are coming now - and they sure did - bombers

Marta Talmanová
Marta Talmanová
photo: Eva Palivodová

Mrs. Marta Talmanová, born Čermáková, was born on April 5th 1924 in Plzeň town. She was born to the middle class patriotic-oriented family. Marta was an active Sokol organization member; she participated in the Sokol festivals in 1938 and 1948. After the grammar school she graduated from the business school. After that she started to work as a typist for Škoda Plzeň Company. From April 1944 to September 1944 she was in the force labor camp in Germany. She was in Braunschweig town, near by Hannover; working on the gear control for the aircraft production. Then from September 1944 she has been transferred to Avia Company in Prague and later also to Škoda Company in Plzeň. After the end of the war she worked in the Health insurance. She experienced the communist reviews in 1948. After her child was born she stayed at home for a couple of years; later she was employed in Škoda hotel and in Ural hotel in Plzeň town where she worked as an accountant until she retired in 1992. She was also a member of the Slave Association, where she functioned as a cashier.