Jiřina Borecká

* 1935

  • “I remember it was something of a largish village. There was a big school, and they took the wounded soldiers there. We went there to watch them, always when they brought them. And I also remember there were some such, partisans, how they dragged them from the forest. That was horrible too... And we also ran from there once. My grandpa lived directly at the track and there was a high bridge there, and they started bombing it again, so we fled into the forest. And we stayed there the whole night and went home in the morning. So it was there as well, but it was better after all. But we heard that they really did bomb Brno often. We could hear it there. Even though it was fifty kilometres away.”

  • “My father, he always had this kind of business spirit, so... There was absolutely nothing here. No curtains, no cloth... Cloth was rationed, food was rationed, everything... And I got double ration stamps because I was underweight. And he always sent some things, and that kept us alive somehow. First of all an excellent French cognac. ...wait, but actually that was still during the war. It was during the war because that was when my little brother was born. A my mother told me – it was a home birth, and a doctor was with her there, and he kept pouring himself that French cognac. But the other people saw the postman was coming often. And so they snitched on us. The Germans came and took everything, everything.”

  • “That day was awfully hot again. We went the whole day, the whole day. It’s twenty-seven kilometres to Pohořelice. And so we went whole day. But of course the things I saw around the road were awful. Because the march was only for mothers with children and old people. No one else. The Germans were at the battlefront, you know. And we knew nothing about Dad. And the war was over and we had no information about him. And now my mother was supposed to go somewhere with three children. Well, it was awful. So we arrived in the evening... But you should have seen all the things thrown by the road. Because people took things with them and weren’t able to carry them. And the old people who weren’t able to go on simply lay there and didn’t care what would happen to them... That’s it. In the evening we arrived in Pohořelice and they led us into some kind of... I don’t know what it was, if it was a barn or what... We also lay on the ground, but we were so tired we just didn’t care. But some Russian came and my sister was fourteen. And he said she has to go peel potatoes. But apparently he wanted something different. And some man saved her, some man saved her there. Oh, how she screamed.”

  • “And unfortunately there were so many diseases back then, so many children died there... I was as thin as a rake and didn’t catch anything. But my mother got typhus. So I remained there alone with that little boy. Nobody cared about me. I was ten years old. And he wetted his bed in the night. Then there was a woman who also had a little child and she always beat him up. And I was really worried about that. She beat him because he wetted his bed in the night. Of course he didn’t wake me up, I was only ten. And so it happened that already as a child I had various thoughts. And as if my sister realised what was going on, she saw me standing on the balcony. And she came to me and said: ‘There there, Mum’s already getting better. She’s out of the worst of it.’ And she really did come back. She recovered. But she always gesticulated at me like: ‘Go there, we’ll meet there...’ She meant I should go there with the little boy. And he got it from her, the typhus. He got the whooping cough and died soon after. And the woman who beat him, she was younger and had to work. And my mother cared for her boy. And suddenly he got the whooping cough, the boy did, and me and her took him to hospital in the tram. And he... we didn’t even get there and he was dead.”

  • “I remember that... if you don’t mind hearing about the first moment when it came without the siren. They didn’t warn us there would be an air strike. My dad was here for a short vacation and so he wanted to be with my mum alone. So mummy asked a neighbour to take me and the little one out. I had a little brother, he was less than two years old. So she took me quickly to the pram and we went to Radlas Street for a walk. And suddenly – back then there were trains going there, nothing goes there any more, but back then there were trains. And suddenly we saw, no sirens - that somebody was shooting at us. In fact they were bombing the railway line, to stop the Germans from using it. She took the boy from the pram and lay down over him, like this, by the water. And the pressure ripped the pram away from me and drove it right up to the rails. And I was next to her. And when it stopped we put the boy straight into the pram and rushed off home. On the way I saw a woman, I saw it as a child – her whole lungs exposed, and a handbag on them. She was dead, of course. That was on the way. That was the first air strike when nobody warned us that they were flying here. I don’t know how that could have happened. And my friend who lived in the same house as me... It was right on Sunday. So she was in Cejl – I’m from Cejl, you know, I was living there. And she was there at cinema Rádio, buying the tickets, and her life ended there. On that Sunday. She was as old as me.”

  • “Mother reckoned: ‘Well, nothing can happen to a child.’ So I used to go either with the women, or with the men to work in the morning. And we would go on foot from Maloměřice to Cejl., and I always left the group and went to our house, where I used to live. I would visit one lady there, she always let me catch up on my sleep. And she also bought new shoes for me because I already had none. The only shoes sold at the time were clos, and I remember she bought me clogs. And in the evening I waited for them agani, after six o’clock. As they came back I joined them and went back with them. And because my father was drawn to the place as well, because he thought he might find out something about us there, so we met there one day. And he cried so much when he saw me. Because my head was all shaven, I was gaunt. Well, and... I’ll tell you something that probably hurt Mum. When we came to the camp we stood in a line in one big room. And he kept saying: “You’ll hand in everything here, all your earrings, watches, you’ll put it here on the table...’ And he said: ‘You won’t leave this place alive anyway.’ I looked at Mum and said: ‘I hate Dad.’ And that hurt her terribly.”

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    Brno, 20.05.2014

    délka: 02:33:08
    nahrávka pořízena v rámci projektu The Stories of Our Neigbours
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It was heartless revenge on old people, defenceless women, and little children

Mrs. Borecká (cca 1960)
Mrs. Borecká (cca 1960)
zdroj: Archiv pamětnice

Jiřina Borecká, née Hrdličková, was born on 13 February 1935 in Brno, as the second of three children of a Czech family. During the war the family changed its citizenship to German. The decision was pushed through by her father‘s mother, who was worried because she was worried for her illicit child, whose father was a Jew. Jiřina Borecká and her sister attended a German primary school in Bratislavská Street in Brno. In 1941 her father was drafted into the Wehrmacht and sent to France. In spring 1945 all three children and their mother temporarily moved to her mother‘s father in Vladislav near Třebíč for fear of air raids. In May 1945 they returned to Brno, where they witnessed the many bombings of Brno at the end of the war. On 30 May 1945 Jiřina Borecká with her siblings and her mother were taken to the prison camp in Pohořelice, they were later moved to the camp in Maloměřice. In November 1945 they were transferred to the monastery in Jundrov because of her younger brother‘s young age. While there, her mother and brother contracted typhus, her little brother died. In 1946 Jiřina Borecká was released together with her sister and mother, and they returned to Brno, where they met up with her father. Jiřina Borecká started work as a draughtswoman at the Brno company Projekta. She took an active interest in figure skating. She later married, and together with her husband she raised two sons. In 1953 she lost her job after failing to pass political background checks, she considered emigrating. In 1989 she went on a business trip to Syria, she returned to her homeland shortly before the Velvet Revolution. Her husband passed away in 2007. Jiřina Borecká now lives alone in Brno.