MUDr. Ivana Bouchnerová

* 1938

  • “My father came back not long after we did [following the air raid], but there was no one around... The house next door was intact. The neighbours told him an ambulance had been there, so he knew where to go. He went to the emergency station in grammar school [in Mikulášské Square] and asked where they’d taken us. When they told him it was Havlovice 41, he knew right away. He borrowed a bicycle and rode 72 kilometres to see us. On his way, he encountered Russian soldiers – a unit that was banned from liberating Prague. A soldier who caught him on the road – they were obviously guarding it – wanted to shoot him, but went over to ask his chief first, and dad went with him. And since dad had been in Persia until 1935, and there were many wealthy and well-educated Russians who had fled the Bolsheviks, he learned Russian. He was able to tell them what had happened and why he was riding the bike and where to. They heard him, and then they let him go see his children. Being able to communicate saved his life. He was blond-haired, blue-eyed, and tall. [He looked] like a German. After all, even his name was German; some families in Pasečnice were of German origin.”

  • “When we arrived, mum was amazed to see grandma emerging from the cellar, and in turn, grandma was surprised to see us coming. The reunion was really surprising mainly because of what we heard. We just learned the war was coming to an end there. There was a big two-storey mill house situated across the intersection from us, and the SS, trying to flee to the west, fired from its second floor. They hit our house. It must have been ricocheting bullets because the outer window panes were broken while the inner ones were not. They told us girls: ‘Bow down, walk below the window frame level…’ We were small, so that was not a big problem. We did. But then we went to the other half of the house. It was 23 metres long and divided into two halves. A pub used to be in one, and a former owner was living in the other. We tried to walk in there standing straight, and suddenly there was a shot, and the bullet went through the window and the bed head. Back then, beds were made with five-centimetre-thick boards to shield sleepers from the cold walls. The bullet ricocheted after that. Past the bed, there was a little aisle into which the wardrobe door opened… The door was punctured too, and only then did the bullet stop. From then on, we were careful and made sure to do as we were told [by adults].”

  • “The part of Slovany [Plzeň district] with recent low-rise villas was bombed out by a saturation air raid [on 17 April 1945]. American or English bombers came in with bombs to hit the main station where trains [full of] German equipment and soldiers fleeing Bohemia were waiting. When they came near, the Nazi guards [targeted them] and started firing at them, so the bombers turned round and went back. When they were coming, the alarm signalled [to hide in] the cellars, and when they were flying away, the alarm signalled the end of the raid. But the bombers then started dropping all the bombs they could, and those actually hit the villa quarter. As a result, we saw holes maybe 20 metres deep in the street – as a little girl, it seemed very deep to me. As we were returning, another alarm came, signalling to hide in the shelters again. If we did that, we’d have died there. Just three of us were in the house – mum and the two of us, my sister and I. We would most certainly die there because that entire part of the house, an annex with the kitchen and such, just collapsed onto the ground.”

  • Celé nahrávky
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    Plzeň, 20.04.2023

    délka: 02:26:59
    nahrávka pořízena v rámci projektu Příběhy regionu - PLZ REG ED
Celé nahrávky jsou k dispozici pouze pro přihlášené uživatele.

Speaking Russian as a result of his stay in Persia saved my blond-haired, blue-eyed dad’s life at the end of the war

Ivana Bouchnerová in the garden with a Persian rug
Ivana Bouchnerová in the garden with a Persian rug
zdroj: Archiv pamětnice

Ivana Bouchnerová was born in Plzeň on 7 January 1938 to parents Julie Flieglová and Karel Fliegl. Her mother’s uncle, writer Josef Císler, was a co-founder of the Czechoslovak Society of Otorhinolaryngology. Ivana’s father worked on a sugar mill project in Tehran in 1931–1935, and his fiancée came to see him there. Among others, even Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi visited the site. Ivana Bouchnerová witnessed the end of World War II in Plzeň and Havlovice (staying with her grandmother), and remembers the deportations of the Sudeten Germans. After the war, the family lived in Plzeň in a house vacated by the Germans, and then in a house left after a Plzeň family who were evicted over their protests against the currency reform. Working as a foreman at Škoda, the witness’s father joined the CPC, and so the witness completed her medicine studies without issues. Following the war and the currency reform of 1 June 1953, the family lost several million crowns. Her mother came from an affluent family and had inherited cash, and her father owned a country house and was earning a good pay. Ivana Bouchnerová and husband moved to Žďár nad Sázavou due to his job, and she worked as a physician there. They returned to Plzeň in the wake of August 1968 as her husband’s plant was relocated. She worked at a policlinic in Doubravka and became the district specialist representing GPs. Then she was employed at a policlinic on Denis Embankment. She worked at the Red Cross from 1991 and became the chair of a regional unit soon. She has son Luděk and daughter Sylva, and was living in Plzeň at the time of recording (2023).