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Dobromila Janáková (1932) - Biography


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If Hitler hadn’t attacked the Soviet Union, I wouldn’t be here today

Dobromila Janáková, née Vlková, was born on 22 October 1932 in Český Boratín in Volhynia, present-day Ukraine. The families of her parents came to Volhynia from the Czech lands in the nineteenth century. The witness's grandfather from her father's side, Václav Vlk, was a teacher and a prominent figure of Czech society in Volhynia. Her father trained as a mechanic and worked as a repairman, later he ran a taxi service; her mother stayed at home and looked after the house, farm, and their two children. The Vlk family was of Evangelical faith, just like most of the inhabitants of Český Boratín. The family later moved to nearby Lutsk. The witness attended a Czech lower primary school in Boratín and then an upper primary school in Lutsk. The western part of Volhynia, which is where Boratín lies, fell to Polish administration after World War I; in 1939 it was appropriated by the Soviet Union, until Germany attacked and the area was occupied by the Nazis in June 1941. Dobromila Janáková witnessed the mass executions of the Jewish population of Volhynia and other atrocities of the war. In summer 1944 her father joined Svoboda's army, just like most men from her extended family; he saw combat at Dukla as a car repairman, and after the war he remained in Czechoslovakia and helped repatriate Volhynian Czechs to their original homeland. The witnessed stayed in Boratín with her mother and her younger brother until February 1947, when they left in the first repatriation transport to Czechoslovakia. They were reunited with their father after three years, and they settled down in Žatec. Dobromila Janáková studied at a school of social work and was later employed as a teacher. She passed state exams from three languages and worked as a guide, she later joined the department of historic preservation at Prague Castle, where she worked for twenty-seven years until her retirement. Dobromila Jandáková is widowed and lives in Prague.

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