Marta Čechová

* 1940

  • “When I was finishing primary school in Česká Lípa, I wanted to continue at a secondary medical school in Liberec. My father had to sign the application form, but he tore it to pieces and slapped me in the face: ,You’re going nowhere. You’ll have to pull in an income. Get yourself a job. You’ve got to bring in an income, you can see for yourself how it is.’ And so, I had to do as he told me. I found a job in Česká Lípa as an invoice clerk in a fruit and vegetable warehouse.”

  • “Our father seized the farm, but there was no workforce. My siblings born after we’d moved here were still young. So, initially, it was all up to my mum; I was five when we came here. I started off at the age of six by grazing cows. I had to stay out in the fields until it was pitch dark, I wasn’t allowed to come back before. Even after I had started attending school in Česká Lípa, I still had the same responsibilities. I came running after school, surviving on four bread rolls a day, I rushed the cows down to the edge of the forest, and still I wasn’t allowed to come back until after dark. When I learnt to read, I could only read using a torch, we couldn’t have the light on.” – “Once you had started going to school, did you work on the farm only after school, or did you also have to help in the morning?” – “When I was going to school in Česká Lípa, I had to help muck out the stables in the morning. My mum had trouble walking by then and this was the least I could do for her. She then milked the cows. After, I had to wash myself down properly before I ran to catch the train to school, which went at 6 am.”

  • “My brother was nearly sixteen. He and his friends were always on the move and on one of their excursions, they discovered that the Germans were hiding in their tombs. They found a pipe sticking out of a tomb and smoke was coming out. They couldn’t resist the temptation, so they opened the tomb and there was a small wood stove. Apparently, they had it well furnished: my brother and his friends even found some cake, which he brought home. Mum told him not to eat it. They were hiding and staying in the tomb. It was a large tomb, but all the same, it was hard to believe. My brother and his friends were running up and down, speaking to various soldiers, and sometimes they got given stuff. You know, a badge here, a dagger or a pocket-knife there. Boys will be boys, but I was afraid to join them. I was still only little.”

  • Celé nahrávky
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    Liberec, 16.03.2022

    délka: 01:49:57
Celé nahrávky jsou k dispozici pouze pro přihlášené uživatele.

She worked like a dog on the family farm and was happy when the cooperative took over

Marta Čechová in 1965
Marta Čechová in 1965
zdroj: Archiv pamětníka

Marta Čechová, née Málková, was born on January 31, 1940, in Štrampouch in the vicinity of Čáslav as the fourth of seven children. At the end of World War II, her father decided to take over a large farm in Volfartice in North Bohemia, before the expulsion the possession of Sudeten Germans. The family struggled to manage the extensive farm with plenty of crops and cattle. Most labour was done by the witness and her mother, which is why the father forbade the witness from studying at a secondary medical school. The family gave up the farm and handed it over to the socialist cooperative with considerable relief and the witness got a job as the cooperative’s accountant. She got married in the early 1960s. On finishing his military service, her husband started working as a teacher. Later, the witness found a job as a forewoman at a glassworks in Skalice in Nový Bor area. The couple had two daughters, Ilona and Romana. In 1973, Marta Čechová lost her husband and had to raise the daughters by herself. Despite the tight budget, she decided to support her daughters in getting a university degree. Her older daughter Ilona became first a teacher at, and later the director of, the Nový Bor school of glass. Her younger daughter Romana became a doctor and was running a surgery in Česká Lípa. Marta Čechová left the glassworks and transferred to the uranium mines in Stráž pod Ralskem. It was still during the communist times that the witness visited Vienna, where her younger sister had relocated after her marriage, and other West European countries. After the fall of the Iron Curtain, she continued travelling around the world, visiting faraway countries such as Brazil, the USA or Thailand. She continued working for the uranium mines until 1995, when she retired. In 2022, she was living in Česká Lípa.