I tried to form the children into strong characters who’d stand by their beliefs. So they’d see evil as evil and good as good
Dobromila Vaňková was born on 5 January 1925 in Háj near Opava. When the Sudetes were annexed by the Nazis, her family encouraged her to leave her native village - she ended up in a refugee camp for displaced Czechs in Ostrava. While attending grammar school in Ostrava, she took part in illegal activities organised by Scouts. In 1942 she was arrested by the Gestapo and subjected to brutal interrogations, during which her jaw was broken. She spent two years in prison in Ostrava and in Wrocław, where she suffered from diphtheria. In 1944 she was cleared of her charges by a court and released. In 1945 she helped identify executed members of the Boy Scouts troop of Vláďa Čermák. In the post-war years she studied teaching and psychology and worked at the Research Institute of Pedagogics in Bratislava; she led a children's home in Bratislava for a number of years. In 1948 she was arrested by State Security. She has been active in Scouting her whole life.