Anna Doubková

* 1924

  • “There’s beautiful black soil that’s very fertile. The first settlers had a hard time working the land but the next generations were better off.” “The first Czechs came sometime during the 19th century right?” “Well, I don’t even know. They didn’t teach us about the Czech settlers at school. It is interesting that Czechs and Serbs have always gotten along with each other very well. But we weren’t taught about Czechoslovakia, we were taught about Japan or China. I’ve recalled this already many times. But when people got together, they got along very well indeed.” “So your education was more about life generally than about, for example, Czechoslovakia?” “Until that time there were no Czech schools at the place. They only started one when I already got out of the fifth grade. But I didn’t want to keep going to school, to achieve a higher education, because if I did, my parents would have to enroll me in one of the schools in the city and it would have cost them a fortune. I didn’t want them to have to pay all that money for my education. Look, back then you had to run the household economically. The principal told my dad to let my older brother study, that he is very gifted. But my dad told him: ‘I can’t. I won’t make one an intellectual and let the others become beggars’. Eventually, my older brother got it. The others were helping him. I left with nothing but empty hands.”

  • “My name is Anna Doubková, maiden name Stoklasová. I was born on May 22, 1924, in Daruvar. I was born in Croatia; I grew up there as a child. I lived there during the war and after the war ended I moved to Czechoslovakia. My little brother died and I still remember his funeral. Six years later, my other brother was born and I brought him up. As a child I worked very hard because I wanted to help my mom. She had so much hard work to do that she didn’t have any time off at all. She had to take care of the entire household. I felt serious pity for her and tried to help her as much as possible. I even did stuff she told me not to do because she thought I wouldn’t be able to do it. I would eventually persuade her that I could manage it on my own. So before I went to school, I would take the cattle to grass on the pasture. If I needed to read a book, I had to read it while grazing the cattle. It was tough to read while grazing the cattle because they were shaking you all the time. As a little girl I hated numbers. But when I grew up, I counted like a machine. I still don’t understand how I was able to count this well. I was quick in picking up all sorts of other things as well. For example singing and dancing. I had to sing at school and I had to sing when we went out with the girls. They made me sing all the solo songs in the pub – they came for me and I had to sing.”

  • “Once a gang of German collaborators (so-called ‘Čerkesy’) raided our house. I had some weapons for the partisans hidden at our place and I was terribly frightened. If they had found the weapons they would have massacred my whole family. Another time I was resting on the hay and covered myself with my coat. I left the coat on the hay and walked away when, all of a sudden, they came to our house again. They spotted the coat and wanted to know who left it there. I was pretty scared. I told them it was me, that I had just taken a nap on the hay and forgot my coat there. Once, they were pointing with a machine gun at me and asking me if I collaborated with the guerillas. An informant brought the Ustashi and German soldiers to our house. He told them that I was entertaining contacts with the partisans. He wasn’t quite a fool but he wasn’t particularly bright. He was rather dull. He kept telling them that I’m a liaison of the partisans. The soldier kept his machine gun pointing at my throat and said: ‘are you in touch with the partisans? Confess! What are you doing for them?’ I kept repeating that I’m not working for them. My mother-in-law was pale of fear. I realized the danger and turned to the informant shouting at him: ‘When did you see me with partisans? How can you say that I’m a partisan collaborator?’ He got scared and started to stutter. I got afraid that they might kill him. He had a wife and three kids. Then an army officer, who was neither an Ustashi thug, nor a Gestapo member, came in and saved my life. But I stood firm and didn’t waver. The more they pressed me, the stronger I was.”

  • „They would kill them and we weren’t allowed to bury them. They left them lying there. It was after a huge clash between army troops and guerilla fighters in the village. A number of partisans got killed in the village and the undertaker was digging holes to bury them in. I made wreaths to put them on the graves of the dead. But the Ustashi pierced the faces of the dead with their bayonets. It was in the summer and the grey mutilated faces of the corpses with open scars were swelling up in the heat. It was a horrific sight for me. It wasn’t enough for them to just kill these people; they had to mutilate them as well. I can’t say that the partisans ever mutilated their enemies. Another thing these barbarous Ustashi did was to kill babies. They pierced a little baby in its cradle! You don’t kill little babies!”

  • “The second time was when we were transporting material for the Czech brigade. We had everything loaded on our carts. It was far away, at Požega. So we were travelling to Požega, carts loaded with material, all the papers ready. We came to the mountains and clashed with a German division that came there at the same moment unnoticed. Nobody had known that the Germans were coming. We were running away from them, everybody was because people were scared of the Germans. They knew that the Germans were killing people like flies. I was running like crazy and was telling myself: ‘they must not catch me alive’. It was a very dangerous situation. Eventually we assembled in another village and I met my brother there. I asked him about the whereabouts of my husband. He told me: ‘Girl, we’re so scattered that I don’t have the slightest idea where he is. I haven’t seen him since the battle’. The Czechs always suffered the lowest casualties. They fought like lions. So we all came together in that village, the guerillas set up their tents there. They had already transported the material to the brigade. It saw a battle like that several times.”

  • “You told me that the common people were helping Tito in certain ways. What ways?” “Well, for example, if someone betrayed him to the Germans, they would hide him at their place or inform him that his position had been compromised and that he has to leave immediately. That’s why he was always able to escape even from the most dangerous situations – with the help of the local population. They were risking a lot by helping him. After the war Tito did a good job in Yugoslavia. He borrowed a lot of money from abroad to reconstruct the war-shattered country and because Croatia lies by the sea, they earned a lot of foreign currency and Tito was able to repay the loans quickly. Everything was working in Yugoslavia. We didn’t put things together that quickly after the war in Czechoslovakia.” “You also told me that there were some songs about Tito during the war. Do you think you can remember some of them?” “There were many, but I’m not sure if I can remember them. We used to sing: Drůže Tito, Drůže Tito, oka dara voga, minečemo, minečemo Petra balavoga. That means: Comrade Tito, comrade Tito, your eyes are black and they want to swap you for King Peter from England. He fled before the war and left his people behind. Took his fortune with him and ran away. We don’t want that coward Peter.” “So people were angry at King Peter?” “Of course, the people were terribly angry at him. Nobody wanted him back. They were three boys - Tomislav, Peter and I don’t remember the third one (Andrej – note by the author). People were well off under King Alexander’s rule. The crop was great and he always sold it off to the United States, the people had it good. He cared for the people. The whole nation mourned for him when he was assassinated.”

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    Blatná, 02.11.2008

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They herded the village people together and ordered them to dig a hole

Anna Doubková
Anna Doubková

Anna Doubková née Stoklasová, (first married as Klapalová, for the second time as Vincencová), was born on May 22, 1924, in the village of Brestovac, Daruvar district, in the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, later officially renamed to Yugoslavia. She attended a municipal school and helped her mother with the daily household work. In 1941 she joined the resistance movement against the Croat Ustashi (the Croat ultra-nationalist anti-Serb, anti-Semitic and anti-Roma organization) and the German occupation forces. She became a liaison in the Moslavec brigade and later in the Jan-Žižka-from-Trocnov brigade. She operated as a messenger providing villages with news or supplying the guerillas with weapons and equipment. She remained in this position till 1945 when the war ended in Yugoslavia. Her husband Alois Klapal was a guerilla fighter and then later a captain. In 1945, he went to Czechoslovakia to represent the Czech partisans in Yugoslavia but unfortunately died upon his arrival. Anna came to Czechoslovakia to attend his funeral and thereafter stayed in Prague. She worked in the Tesla works and married for a second time (she changed her surname to Vincentová). After her second husband died, she married for a third time. Her third husband is Mr. Doubek from the south of Bohemia. She currently lives in Blatná.