“I remember they came in the night. We were living in Dvořák Street. I know that we suddenly heard a car, some cars stopped there, and my brother said: ‘They’re coming for me.’ I remember it to this day. The first they did: they opened the stove to check if we hadn’t burnt something, some documents or pamphlets. It was empty. Either way, they grabbed him, and that was the last we saw of him.”
“They built a mock wooden Škoda Works in the fields between Vochov and Tlučná, they installed lights in just the same way as they were in the real Škoda streets and everything. The only thing is they turned the ground plan in a slightly different direction. When an air raid came, they lighted it up to confuse the pilots, to make them think: ‘Look, Škoda is over there, we must be flying the wrong way.’ To baffle them. We were terrified that they’d empty their load on it - it was just a few feet away from the village. When an air raid came - quick, everyone who could ran to hide under the viaduct. To be safe if the bombs fell. But Mum and I stayed at home, we didn’t go anywhere. And we survived.”
“We were living in Hostoun in Šumava, it was in 1938. It had already started to get bad with Hitler, and the local Henleinites were holding rallies for the Sudeten [SdP, Sudetendeutsche Partei - transl.]. There was one in Hostoun, too. I can still remember it, I was eight years old at the time. The Henleinites had a rally there, Henlein was there, he spoke to them. The town had an oblong square, it was packed with Germans. They marched to and fro, they got some stew, and started heiling [doing the Nazi salute]. It was terrible. The few Czechs who were there - there was a post office in one of the housing blocks in the middle of the square - the postmaster was huddled in the doorway, later joined by the train dispatcher, the station master, the garrison commander and a farrier or someone. And those were all the Czechs that were there, I can’t quite seem to remember. We watched on, full of alarm, and the flood of Germans around us, all heiling, food dripping from their mouths how they’d crammed themselves the moment before.”
None of my relatives had anything to do with communism
Jarmila Doležalová, née Brichcínová, was born in 1930. She comes from a teacher‘s family, her father was head teacher at various schools in western Bohemia. Throughout Jarmila‘s childhood, the family often moved from town to town so her father could teach. She completed grammar school in Pilsen, and graduated from the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics at Charles University in Prague. From when she finished her studies in 1953 up until her retirement in 2005, she worked as a teacher of mathematics and descriptive geometry at various grammar schools and secondary schools. She was also an adjunct lecturer at the Institute of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering, and later at the Faculty of Education, both in Pilsen. Her older brother Vladimír Brichcín, a law student, was arrested in autumn 1948 by an undercover agent, and sentenced to four years of prison for planning seditious activities. He served his sentence in Pankrác, Bory and in the Jáchymov labour camps, mostly in the uranium mines. In the 1960s, he was allowed to finish his studies of law and work as a company lawyer. Jarmila met her future husband Zdeněk Doležal during her studies - he was also a math student. He came from a family of kulaks, his father was jailed for failure to fulfil the impossibly high supply demands, his parents were thrown out of their home and their property was confiscated; Zdeněk was expelled from school for political reasons. He was only allowed to complete university after having gone through compulsory military service. After a distressingly difficult search for a job, he finally found a place as a programmer at the Škoda Works, and after 1968 he taught at the Institute of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering in Pilsen, later at the West Bohemian University.