It was a very hard day for my mother: she had no idea where they had taken my father, what to do with the furniture from a three-room-flat, and how to manage all this in a week. But we had friends, especially Lojzička Wernerová. She was an orphan from Vienna who was brought up by Mr Čásenský, the chairman of the České srdce society (the Czech Heart) who took care for all the Czech orphans in Vienna. He became so fond of her that he adopted her and looked after her as much as his own two daughters. She then never married but took care about her adoptive parents until their death. So this was our friend who helped us in all the hard times. I remember that she brought boxes and paper, everything had to be wrapped up: crockery, books. We had some relatives in the Kralupy area, my mother had a cousin at Olovnice, a miller. And I also remember that after the war we went there to witness the unveiling of a commemorative plaque that the authorities dedicated to him because he gave people flour under the counter to support them. Yet his sons were not admitted to study at any school, this was the way to punish them. So it was this uncle that had some free space at the granary to whom we brought most of the furniture. And when, many years later, we were bringing everything back, my parents told me that our belongings had been stored at altogether 16 places. We could not keep anything, only our personal stuff, as there was no place to put it.
My husband´s name was Dimitrij Blagodárný and his father came from a place near Rostov. He was the only son, the youngest, among a number of sisters. When the Civil War came, he was in the seventh form of the gymnasium and all the students together with their professors made a decision, because they thought it would only be a short lived passing phase of the riots, that they would embark a ship, cross the Black Sea and complete the eighth year of their studies somewhere safe. On the way, they were captured on an island where they were fed only garlic and I remember that my father-in-law hadn´t liked it since then. They disembarked in Šumen in Bulgaria, where the whole class with the professors were admitted into the Bulgarian gymnasium and were allowed to complete the eighth year of the studies. I can show a school report as a proof from the father-in-law´s study years in Šumen. There the best mark was, I think, a six, and the worst a one. It only caught my attention, and I showed it to my grandchildren, that he took his final exams in five or six languages. French, Russian as well, I´ve got it all written down. And in fact with the best results. In our country the republic was formed and Kramář was the Prime Minister. His wife came from Russia. And because Europe was full of Russian emigrants who were heading for France and Czechoslovakia, she pleaded for them with her husband so that they were accepted, were given housing, a chance to study further and could stay here.
Now after my father was held in custody, he was banned to teach in Prague. So he then commuted to Vepřek, which is further than Kralupy, to teach in “ménětřídka”, special small classes with a few pupils (once he took me with him to show me where he worked). The restrictions went on because he never stopped to protest against the nationalization of private lands. Later on he was not allowed to teach at all anywhere and worked in the Kladno iron and steel works. There were lots of people like him that´s why there was a bus operating from Prague´s Vítězné náměstí Square early in the morning with all of the workers. It went straight to the Steel Works and people worked there till two. He was home at about half past two. Then, and I remember that, I was 17 and the year was 1952, I came from school, my sister was playing outside and there was the Police ringing at our door. My mother was a housewife, so they asked her if any member of the family was outdoors, he or she should immediately come back. Then my mother sent me outside to fetch my sister. They produced a document to show they really were from the Police, that they had the permission to search the flat. They took out every single book from a shelf, shook each of them. They searched through the whole flat and when my father came back from the Kladno bus at about three, they arrested him at once and ordered my mother to move out of the flat within a week with us, her daughters, and leave Prague.
To keep an optimistic outlook on life is the best guarantee for happiness in life
Hana Blagodárná (neé Hnitková) was born on 3rd March in Prague. Her father came from a family of teachers in Kralupy and her mother of a farmer´s family in the Roudnice area. She has been living in Prague 6 all her life. After the 1948 February coup her father was taken into custody for being active in not accepting the land confiscation. After his release, he was banned to teach in Prague and later forbidden to appear behind the teacher´s desk at all. He worked at the Kladno ironworks until his arrest by the Police and sentenced in a show trial to 11 years in prison. He was released after over two years thanks to the amnesty. Her mother and two children were thrown out of their flat and the whole six-member-family had to share a one-room-flat. Despite all this, Hana was accepted to study at the Pedagogical Gymnasium, became a teacher of primary school children and later married a son of a Russian emigrant.