Anna Maria Waldstein-Wartenberg

* 1928

  • "I was born on 30 April 1928 in Borovina near Třebíč. We had a villa and properties there. As for my childhood - we had a Czech nanny and a German nurse right from the beginning, so we learned both languages. Dear Vlasta was always around us, she also helped with washing diapers and assisted the nurse. We had a really happy childhood, except for the death of my father and sister. My other sister died in 1945. With the help of the parish priest and our greengrocer, I then left together with my cousin on a wagon to Znojmo, where there were already other exiles at the station. It was really terrible what was happening there, people were crying, I will never forget it. Fortunately, afterwards we got on the cattle wagon, the Czechs and Russians came and took our jewellery, watches and so on. We went to the first station in Austria, which was Retz. We had relatives and friends there. After two or three days we went on by horse carriages."

  • "A cousin of Heydrich's assassin lived in Dolní Vilémovice. The assassin flew in from England, he was not living in Czechoslovakia at that time. There were two of them. And his cousin was working in our Meyerhof. The Gestapo came there, of course, and wanted to wipe out the village just like they did with Lidice. My mother was very ill at that time after a heart attack in 1938, so my cousin Emmanuel Waldstein came in and negotiated with the Nazis on her behalf. My mother paid, I think, 10,000 CZK so that people would not be hurt. The farmers also supplied ducks and geese and I don't know what else. So Vilémovice was saved. We simply bribed the Nazis, gave them 10,000 CZK and food. After that, we were safe. But we escaped by the skin of our teeth."

  • "We had a cook, a Czech cook, who married our Austrian servant. She was interrogated by the Gestapo in Jihlava if we were listening to English radio. I don't have to explain what it meant to be interrogated by the Gestapo. She was so scared that she confirmed that we were listening to England on the radio. That left us with one foot in the concentration camp. Fortunately, we were saved by Baron Barata from Budišov, who, as a retired soldier from the First World War, was in an organization that was not Nazi. He vouched for us and said that the Waldsteins were reliable. I don't know what lie he made up, probably that my mother couldn't even turn on the radio. There were different machines then than now. So we just barely escaped the concentration camp."

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    Vídeň, Rakousko, 11.12.2021

    duration: 01:58:01
    media recorded in project Bohemian nobility
Full recordings are available only for logged users.

They couldn’t understand why we were helping Czechs

Maria Waldstein, 2021
Maria Waldstein, 2021
photo: Maria Waldstein, 2021

Countess Anna Maria Waldstein-Wartenberg was born on 30 April 1928 in Borovina near Třebíč. Her father and younger sister died soon after. Another sister died in 1945, it was after the war when Anna Maria was staying for a short time with her uncle in Austria. Her older brother Berthold enlisted in the army and was taken prisoner, but eventually made it to Vienna. In 1947 Anna Maria also moved there with her mother and grandmother. At first they lived in Pressbaum near Vienna, but because of the commute they bought an apartment in Vienna. Anna Maria Waldstein worked as a secretary in several companies, studied in England and visited Rome. Very important were her volunteer activities within the Malteser Aid. Together with her brother and sister-in-law, she was involved in helping refugees from both the Hungarian People’s Uprising of 1956 and the Prague Spring of 1968. She helped organize the distribution of medicines to Eastern Bloc countries. She was in constant contact with the Czechoslovakia and considers it her homeland. She emphasizes this also in her book ‘When Třebíč was still Waldstein’s’, which was launched in her presence in Třebíč in 2014.