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Klaudie Podlešáková (1931) - Biography


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The deaf people were missing so much information during the totalitarian regime

 

Klaudie Podlešáková, née Kulhánková, was born February 28, 1931 in Taganrog in the USSR where her father had served in the WWI. He was captured and imprisoned after the war and he married after his release from prison, but his wife and the baby died during childbirth. He then married his second wife, who became Klaudie's mother. They had three children, of which Klaudie was the youngest. In 1932 the family moved to Czechoslovakia. As a little girl, Klaudie suffered from brain fever and inflammation of the middle ear which resulted in the loss of hearing. In 1936 she therefore began attending the Prague Institute for the Deaf-Mute in the Smíchov district. At the beginning of WWII she contracted hepatitis and diphtheria and she was hospitalized for a long time. After the completion of her treatment, she did not return to the Smíchov institute anymore and she began attending a school for deaf children in Prague-Radlice. In 1943 the school building was taken by the Germans and the school was relocated to the Bohnice district. Since her parents were afraid for her during the war, they took her home from the school and she began studying in an ordinary school for hearing children, where she had difficulties communicating. She was thus happy when she was able to go back to the school in Radlice at the end of the war in 1945. This year, however, was not fortunate for her. Her brother, who served as a border guard near Karlovy Vary, unknowingly consumed a poisoned drink, which was being handed out in a pub and intended for the Germans who were returning home at the end of the war. He died several days later as a result of the poisoning.

After completion of elementary school in 1946 Klaudie learnt the seamstress' trade in (in a school for hearing students) and she began working in the company where she had been doing her training. In 1960 she married and three years later, her son was born without any hearing disability.

Since hear early childhood Klaudie has been among other hearing-impaired children. Apart from school she was involved in many sports activities (she took part in sport events for the hearing-impaired, she played table tennis and later she took interest in hiking). After leaving school she continued meeting with the hearing-impaired in their social clubs, which served as a source of information for her - especially about the current political situation. Klaudie Podlešáková now states that she would never trade the present times with the socialist era.

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