Mgr. Krista Brotánková

* 1934

  • "My mother said: 'Mein Vater war doch ein Beamter.' That her father was a city hall employee. The old man, we used to call them the old woman and the old man. He was an excellent violinist, but he also ran a pub. Such a handsome, bald, tall, thin gentleman. He came from Šumava and married a Jewish girl. The Jewish girl was Gisela Samková, I'm saying this for the first time in public, because people don't like Jews. And he married a Jewish girl. He was supposed to be a conductor or violinist in some orchestra in Vienna, but because he married a Jewish girl, he didn't go anywhere. He kept teaching violin and playing in a band. And grandmother, an old woman, a Jewish woman named Gisela, had seven children, and one of them was my mother. So, my mother was half Jewish. And I was about a quarter Jewish, but they didn't count these anymore. And he, when he was working at the town hall, he filled out some papers, official books. Somewhere they were registering the population. So, he corrected a page. He had seven children, Roman Catholic population, no Jews. And he really got them out of it. Of course, at that time the war was in the very beginning.”

  • "By then, my mother was walking with my brother in the stroller. We were walking down the street normally and instead of that warning, that alarm, we heard it was bad. It was a different siren sound. We went into some house on Roosevelt Street, if you know that area, there's a restaurant there too. We just went into the house with the carriage. My mother was holding my ears and the baby was in the stroller and... I hadn't heard such a noise since then, so I remembered it now, when the bombs were flying and still are flying in that Ukraine. What are these people experiencing? I heard that noise once and it was terrible. It was coming from the Vinohrady or from the waterfront like that. It sounded like it was banging in front of your ears. Well, the Americans did it by mistake they say. That they didn't hit Dresden."

  • "They mostly attended Bílá Street, which is the former French Grammar School in Dejvice. A beautiful white building. It's one of those Zlín buildings, tiled with tiles. It's a beautiful building. It still serves as a school. And German children used to go to the Hitler Youth, because families with children moved to Prague. And they used to come, they used to dress like the scouts used to, in beige suits, beige shirts, brown ties. They looked like Boy Scouts, but they didn't have those Boy Scout hats. And they had a dagger in their waistband. We didn't know what it was. They were pretty long knives. And they carried it like that in front of them, the German kids, so we'd be afraid of them, of course. There were many parks around, such a nice environment. And so, we would hide in the park or crawl into the house when the German children were marching. And the ones with the whistles, they were older. They were learning to march like soldiers. I don't know how long they stayed there, a year or two, then they became just soldiers."

  • "And what had a terribly effect on me as a ten-year-old girl at the time? Cows. They expelled the Germans, in that forty-seventh year. And they put the cows out to pasture. I'll never forget that. That was dozens of cows on that one hillside. They didn't have anything to [eat] anymore, they were just digging with their hooves to see if they could find a blade of grass, because nobody was feeding them. That's when the big infection started, the polio epidemic. We didn't get it, and then they started vaccinating. Then we didn't have polio anymore, but at that time our classmates were dying. No quarantine, anyone who got polio was taken away. So, we were still there in the fall, we stayed away from Prague, away from the epidemic, so my brother and I wouldn't get it. And now we saw the cows, how cold they were. Just that cow, when she broke away, she went to her abandoned house... That was such impressions. Those cows went from that so-called pasture to their house, and there they were poking their heads into a bucket where there was nothing. The killed the cats, they shot the dogs, I guess, but the cows stayed there. I was furious: "What about the cows?’ So, my mother called from the post office, there was the only phone in the whole village. Year 1947, 1948. I can't say the exact date now. They called the county town to come and get the cows, for God's sake, so they did. Forgotten cows that didn't have owners, well. It was sad. So, they took them away, that's what I remember. But where to? To the slaughterhouse. Nobody took the cow, of course."

  • Celé nahrávky
  • 1

    Praha, 03.03.2023

    délka: 01:32:35
    nahrávka pořízena v rámci projektu Stories of the 20th Century TV
  • 2

    Praha, 08.03.2023

    délka: 01:26:29
    nahrávka pořízena v rámci projektu Stories of the 20th Century TV
Celé nahrávky jsou k dispozici pouze pro přihlášené uživatele.

My generation was affected for life by the war

Krista Brotánková, five years old
Krista Brotánková, five years old
zdroj: archiv pamětnice

Krista Brotánková was born on 22 December 1934 in Prague in the family of Vladimír Tenora, a clerk. Her mother Markéta, née Samková, was of Jewish descent. However, at the beginning of the war, her father, as an employee of the town hall, removed all references to his wife‘s Jewish origin from the registry books, so that the family escaped Nazi persecution. Krista grew up on Fleming Square in Dejvice, and during the war she began attending a makeshift school on Latvia Street. As a child she witnessed the air raids on Prague and Brno, the events of the Prague Uprising and the liberation of Prague. After the liberation, she entered the French Grammar School in Bílá Street, but after 1948 and the introduction of the so-called unified school system, the lower grammar school was closed and she had to continue at the primary school. She graduated from the pedagogical grammar school and the higher pedagogical school, later the Faculty of Education. At the age of eighteen she married so that she would not have to take up a placement as a teacher in the borderlands, but the marriage lasted only a few months and a quick divorce followed. All her life she worked as a teacher in Vysočany and Prosek. She emigrated to Switzerland with her second husband after 1968, but her husband became mentally ill there and they had no choice but to return to Czechoslovakia. Her daughter and son attended Daniel Kroupa‘s flat seminars in the 1980s, and Krista Brotánková herself signed the petition Několik vět (Several Sentences) in 1989. On 17 November 1989, her daughter experienced the violent suppression of a demonstration on Národní třída. Despite her old age, Krista Brotánková continues to follow politics closely today.