Ludmila Vlková

* 1926  

  • "We took what we could, what they allowed us to carry. Grains for the cattle, when we spent two weeks traveling by train."-"Did you take cattle along too? "- "Yes, we had two cows and two horses." - "And what else have you brought with you?" - Nothing else. Grain for cattle, the pig was killed to have food on our way." "How long have you traveled for?" - "For two weeks." - "And what other personal stuff could you have taken with you?" - "We took our beds and nothing else. We also brough grain boxes and not much more"-"Did you go straight to your brothers? Were they already there?"-"They have been here and have come to to pick us at the station. We arrived in March, there was a lot of snow here."

  • "How did you spend the moment of the end of the war?" - "We were looking forward to meeting everyone. We went to singing, we went to church."-"How did you live there? Have you been there still without any men?"-"We were without them. My dad walked to beat the cereals for other people and mowed the grass. So the old ones helped those who had no one. It was quite nice. "-" Why could your brothers not return to Volyně? "- (The husband speaking: "Because we were afraid they would not let us go back to Czechoslovakia.") "When somebody came to vacation, no one should know. "-" Did your brothers come to vacation in Volyn?"-"No, they did not come."-"At that time it might have seemed like they would stay in Czechoslovakia and you in Volhynia, without ever seeing each other, right?"-"Indeed, it looked like that at that time. We were afraid. I was wondering what would happen to us, what would they do to us, I did not know."-"Did you experience poverty, or were you well off in Volyn after the war?"-"After the war it was still bearable. In our village there was a mill, a dairy, a church, schools, we had everything there. But there was no peace. We were afraid to meet someone, we feared to go anywhere in the evening."

  • "How was the meeting with your brothers that you have not seen for two years?“ – „They were glad. I used to go farming with them to the fields and began to like it here a lot. I did not have to speak any Ukraine, trying to remember the words. I did not understand the Germans either; it was a hard life here and difficult to talk to anyone.“ – So you liked it in Czechoslovakia, as you could speak easily to the locals...“ – Yes, and I liked the fact I was back in Czechia. I did not even cry or were sentimental over the stuff I left behind. Such beautiful flowers I left there. But I ddi not mind. I thought, that we would finally get out and stop fearing. I came here to Hrušovany to my brothers and he had some stuff hanging outside the house.I told him: ´Do take care and bring it in, so that it does not get stolen!‘ But he just laughed and said: ‚There is no stealing here, you can leave your house unlocked.‘ So it was a big relief for us here not having to hide everything.“

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    Činěves, 12.06.2018

    (audio)
    duration: 01:26:12
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
Full recordings are available only for logged users.

After the war in Volyn we lived in fear of wandering troops and the Soviet regime

retro.jpg (historic)
Ludmila Vlková

Ludmila Vlková, née Švejdarová, was born on 29 January, 1926 in Volyn-Czech village of Boratín in the family of Bedřich and Marie Švejdar. She grew up with two older brothers, Miloslav and Jiří, but her mother died before she was only five years old. The children were raised by the new wife, Emily, just like hew own, along with a new younger sister Maria. The farm was their living, the father was the village major. The Švejdars lived through several regimes in Boratín - Polish, Soviet, German and again the Soviet one. In 1944 they survived the village bombing. In the same year Ludmila´s older brothers voluntarily joined the 1st Czechoslovak army of the general Svoboda, and they both made it through the war, but they could not return from Czechoslovakia to Volyn. Ludmila met her brothers again in 1947, when the Volyn Czech were allower to resettle to Czechoslovakia due to international treaties. The Švejdars settled down in Hrušovany, where they got a farm house. In 1949 Ludmila married to the nearby village of Chotiněves to Radomír Vlk, who was also a Volyn Czech from Boratín. In 1958 they were forced to join the united cooperative, where Ludmila worked until retirement without any worries. The Vlks had four sons, and today three of them are not alive any more.