Lidmila Černá

* 1936

  • “Then I had some awful experiences with Russians in Bystřice. Back then there were two streams and a field and some soldier was shooting into the air at some old lady’s houses because he wanted some eggs. That granny was scared to death. My brother and I went to see what was going on. He told us that he wanted some eggs, I think he’d already had a bit to drink. Then came an officer on a horse, as they were settled up in the next village over, Albeř. He came and took away his gun. When they came back to the camp without their weapons, they were shot. And that soldier knew it. So, he caught that horse by the tail to try to get his gun back from that officer, and the horse kicked him. It kicked him to death right in front of us. And when we talked about it with other people they said that they had no respect for those soldiers, those boys who’d been through the front. They would say: ‘There’s a lot of us.’ And that was that. They didn’t value people at all. So, that was one of my horrible experiences from Bystřice back in forty-five.”

  • “That was terrible too, how those Germans were in those villas in Zlíchov. And it was cruel, I was already nine years old by then. They had them dig a grave. Putting aside the fact that they had them dig a grave so they could shoot them into it afterwards, our Germans. But there was and old man there and they pinned that swastika on his back, and that was too much. That was so cruel that they shouldn’t have done it, gone ahead and humiliated him like that. I remember that. I remember how I cried then and mom said: ‘Get away from there, or there’ll be trouble for us, too.’ They were those people who for the whole war had been hiding in the basement afraid, and when they war ended they signed up and took revenge like that. My brother and I went with my mom to see it. Mom wanted us to see it with our very own eyes how things were. We didn’t sit around at home reading fairy tales. That’s why I remember these moments.”

  • “There were patrols, you could go a few meters past the house but not any further because they would catch you immediately and take you to the station. They would come to our house – it’s surrounded by beautiful nature there – a family of doctors named Kuthan would come visit, he was an optician and his wife was a dentist. They were Evangelicals from church, Mom would always have them over in the summer, we all spoke to each other informally, I had known them since I was a little girl. Once they went to forage some mushrooms to the forest, and they probably ended up going a bit too far. A soldier popped out of nowhere, brought them back to us saying that they were coming to the station. Mom answered: ‘Excuse me, what is your name?’ He answered: ‘My name is Masaryk.’ And she said: ‘Such a beautiful name and this is how you act?’ And would you believe that he didn’t take them in after that. His name was Masaryk, that soldier. Well, the barracks were situated directly in Bystřice and still a bit into the forests there, but I can’t remember right now what it’s called there, Hůrky, everywhere. It was full of soldiers there.”

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    Praha, 19.02.2020

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Mom wanted us to see it with our very own eyes

Lidmila Černá, née Skuhrová, was born on 22 February 1936 in Prague. Her father, František Skuhra, served in the bodyguard service of Presidents Masaryk, Beneš, and Hácha. During the Second World War, according to her own words, the witness started school at the Russian lyceum in Pankrác, Prague. At the end of the war, at the age of nine, she witnessed the bombing of Prague, the liberation of Hlubočepy by Vlasov‘s army, and the atrocities committed against the German population. In Nová Bystřice, where she has been visiting part of her family all her life, her father František Skurka smuggled people who were inconvenient to the communist regime across the border after the February takeover. Near the southern border, she also experienced the constraints typical of a border zone. She studied at a secondary school focused on graphics, graduating in 1954. She worked at the Svoboda printing house. In 1968, she became a member of the Club of Committed Non-Party Members (KAN); in 1988 she took part in a permitted demonstration on Škroup Square in Prague and in November 1989 in the November demonstrations. In 2020, at the time of the interview, she was retired and living alternately in Prague and Nová Bystřice.