The 24th of January of 1945. That’s where the front stalled, not far from Breslau. There, after two weeks… It was like this. It seemed that the front would advance very fast. So, an order came – that’s an authentic information from people who managed to survive. There waas this order that the villages are to be abandoned right away and everyone was to be taken to Dresden. When the transport was getting ready, one of the commanders, he was in the SS, returned and said: ‘There are 24 people sentenced to death. Those cannot leave, those need to be executed right away.’ It happened at 5 pm, that execution. They assembled the firing squad on a short notice. Everyone went to the train station and dad understood, and all the others with him, that they are the only ones who stayed there. But since it was not possible to manage anything any more and the front advanced faster than they had thought, they shot them in the yard and threw them in a well. Those who did it, that throwing in the well, had this feeling that they would be shot right then as well. But they did not have time. It’s probably the reason why they survived and could bear the testimony how it all happened.”
“From that time on – it was January or February of 1945… I could not stay with the Váňa family, they would always hide me three houses away. During the day, I was not allowed anywhere but the cellar, sometimes they forgot to feed me. Practically every month, I changed places so that they wouldn’t find me. Grandma did not tell my mom so that she couldn’t reveal it. She sent mom to Prostějov. They [the family members] circulated me in their homes, my Wallachian relatives were great. In April 1945, I could return in secret and I was allowed to go outside even during the day. If I did this in Wallachia, they were very curious, I was dressed differently from the village children, that wouldn’t work. From January until April 1945, I lived in cellars.”
“But then there was this high-ranking officer, a German one. He would always come to our flat to do another search because they had this feeling that mom would always bring some clandestine material. They were looking for something that was never found and we had no idea what it should have been. And that officer noticed me because I had blue eyes and I was a natural blonde. He sent me to a doctor who had to check whether I had Aryan features, the right shape of skull and other things which I did not understand as I was still a child. When he found out that I matched the type, he announced to my mom that I wouldn’t return to Wallachia, that I would be reeducated because I had those Aryan features. That I would be placed in a German family so that I would forget Czechand that was it.”
“I also remember very well how we used to go for walk. At that time, I was around six or seven years. We came home and mom would be angry. And I thought – they kept me thinking – that she was angry because we did not go to the park. We always walked through some very empty street, that left an impression. Dad would always – and that is what I understood only later – look around carefully to check whether the street is indeed empty. Then a cyclist came and they had a random chitchat. And the man was captain Bombera from Brno who – there were no mobile phones and such things then and they did not trust anyone – so, orders and further actions of the resistance, passwords, who was new in resistance, what happened and what should happen, what does London say and what Beneš and Masaryk recommend – they were in close contact with the London exile governemnt which later led to my less than stellar reputation so always… that gentleman was not a frequent visitor and the purpose of our walk was to mask it. A small child was not that conspicuous. A liaison always came and it was always on a bike.”
I grew old so fast, a part of my childhood just disappeared
Zdeňka Valouchová was born on the 29th of July in1936 in Frýdek-Místek. She was the only child of an army officer and later a police commander, Robert Váňa. Her father, along with other police officers, joined the resistance during the WWII when he served in Prostějov He transmitted information to London. In 1944, he was arrested and at the beginning of 1945, he was executed. At about the same time in 1945, Zdeňka was found to have “Aryan” features and was picked to be brought up by a German family. Her mother and grandmother hid her with various relatives and family members in Wallachia. Here, Zdeňka spent four months hiding in various cellars and stables. After the end of war, Zdeňka grew up only with her mother, she studied at the Higher School of Business in Prostějov 5and later, finances at the Prague University of Economics and Business. From after her graduation until 1988, she worked at the Ministry of Finances, in 1965, she joined the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia. In 1968, she became one of the founding members of the SOS Children’s Villages Club which stood at the beginnings of the construction of the first Czech SOS Children’s Village in Doubí in the Karlovy Vary region. After the 1989 Revolution, the witness worked for the Investment and Postal Bank, she was active in the Czech – German Fund for Future. She raised one daughter, Markéta, and she is divorced.