Jitka Zemánková

* 1930  

  • "My brother really wanted to go to fight. And my mother cried, I remember coming out of the room where she was giving her father that Sunday how they were going to go to the forest. So, she was giving food to my father into his briefcase. The first plate of buns went there, half the bread and bacon homemade. And a big knife. And I saw my mother come out of that room tearful. I said, 'Mom, what is it?' And she tells me, 'But nothing.' And Dad says, 'Don't be curious.' So I didn't know anything, well, and Dad left. And my mother went out after him and looked while he was leaving, and my brother followed my father. And she tells him, 'Daddy, and isn't it enough that you go? Does the young man have to go too? I'm worried about him! 'And he told him to go back. But we had a house by the stream and a garden to the main road. So, he got around it and went that way and went to call his cousins. Jaroslav, father's brother's son, says: "Guys, I still have to fix this radio." He enjoyed it. "The lord will come for it." Jaroslav saved his life by that."

  • "Then Mr. Krátký took the already stiff bodies to the church in the evening on that hay wagon. And as you go to the cemetery, there were tall poplar trees. So, they lined up nineteen men under the poplar trees. I saw it. There I was. It rained on them for three days. And the commander of the partisans in Velehrad was drunk all those days, and he drank and drank and drank and they were not allowed to bury them, there was supposed to be a military funeral. And they were not allowed to bury them and it rained on them. I just remember that my mother had hot water in her bucket and she went to wash them. At least faces. And she put clean sheets on the beds. That we will have them at home. And I went completely mad. I say, 'Mom, I'm so scared!' My sister was nine years old, she doesn't remember. She was still running outside; she might not have seen the horror yet. As. It wasn't until those three days that he arrived. They made a few gunshots in the cemetery, and that was an honor. The mass grave was dug. Who would make nineteen coffins at that time? It wasn't. Nobody, nobody could do it. So, the grave was just lined with spruce needles. Branches of spruces were there, they were straightened up on it. And Mrs. Špičáková's face was apparently mutilated, as she was on lying the same side as where the wounds were. Well, that was the whole funeral. That was the whole funeral."

  • "When I was about twelve years old, in Roštín, which is not far across the forest, an hour and a half, there lived Mr. miller, who was very kind, who, when he was in a good mood and we came there in the evening, sold five kilos of flour to everyone. My mother tied up a piece of a cloth for me. I tied it up then, when… Well, many times we went empty-handed too. Because there, the SS guarded him. The Germans. They always went to him to check. And that's what the miller always said: "To the barn, to the barn!" So, we had to, she milked the cows and we waited until the Germans left. And then either he was upset and we went empty-handed. Or when they left early and he was in a good mood, he sold us three kilos or five kilos of flour. And we got home at midnight. We had to wait that long until the Germans decided to leave."

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    Uherské Hradiště, 26.07.2019

    duration: 01:06:41
    media recorded in project Příběhy regionu - STM REG ED
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They shot our men, we women were left

Portrait of Jitka Zemánková from the 1980s
Portrait of Jitka Zemánková from the 1980s
photo: archive of the witness

Jitka Zemánková, née Pravdíková, was born on March 5, 1930 in village Salaš, in the valley of the Chřiby forests, where the partisan group Olga operated during the war years. Until 1945, the Pravdíks lived in relative peace. They had a modest farm, the father František Pravdík worked as a forest worker and the mother Anastasia took care of Jitka and her three other siblings. In April 1945, the partisans from the Olga division managed to capture German Major General Dietrich von Müller. The Nazis suspected that someone from Salaš was helping the resistance fighters. However, they did not find any evidence in the raid they soon carried out. When the assistant hunter Josef Dobeš called the Salaš men to help to the partisan on April 29, 1945, no one knew what a tragedy would take place. The men were to meet the partisans in Tománek’s gamekeeper’s lodge, which served as a base for Olga’s unit. From there, they were lured to the nearby Lime works under the false pretext that they would get weapons there and learn how to handle them. As soon as the Salaš men arrived at the place and sat down on the ground, the men who brought them there started shooting from the submachine guns. The only survivor of the massacre was František Mlýnek, who managed to escape, which after the war became the subject of speculation about a possible betrayal. Among those ones who were shot was Jitka’s father František Pravdík and her brother František. Jitka Zemánková began to suffer from nerve attacks after the horror, just like her mother. When she married Jaroslav Zemánek in 1949, the pain partially calmed. She and Jaroslav lived together for eleven years and gave birth to three sons. As if the loss of her father and her brother was not enough, Jitka Zemánková also lost her youngest son and husband, who died from a long illness in the early 1960s. She never fully recovered from the tragedy that happened in her family.