Mária Hejdová

* 1934

  • "The cattle had been slain there. There was nothing left there. Not only the Hungarians, but also the Germans were stationed there for two years. So they took and killed whatever they could get hold of. They had to live of something, so they slaughtered all the cattle in the village and then the misery began. Or those land mines. That was something terrible. You had to be afraid on every step you took. You never knew if there wasn't a land mine that's going to kill you on your next step. I saw personally two boys being killed by a land mine. My mom shouted after them: 'don't go there boys, there are land mines'. We had to dig out the potatoes to save our lives. The boys went there and stayed there forever. They died there. This is something terrible. The land mines had been laid everywhere. His name was Vasil and after the war, he was searching and dismantling the land mines there for five years. And finally he lost his legs because of the landmines."

  • "They took us away. They took us to Košice, where we were treated, washed and deloused. We were all infested with lice. Lice were jumping on the beds there. These nuns washed us and changed our clothes. We got two complete sets of clothes and shoes. They then took us to Prague, where we spent two months. We were malnourished and so they had to give us food. They were giving us cocoa. Until then, I've never seen cocoa and I didn't know what it was. I weighed twenty-seven kilos. We were malnourished and thus they gave us vitamins, medicines, everything. They took care of us there for two months and then they split us up and posted us to our foster families. I got into a family in Pacov."

  • "I witnessed firsthand the shooting of the Jews in Ulič. I still have this dreadful sight in my mind today. These poor souls had only been home for a fortnight or maybe three weeks after they had returned from the concentration camp. I don't know who reported their return but someone must have told about it because the Ukrainian nationalist insurgents came four times to our village. They came on carts and they were armed. I saw them with my own eyes. It was a terrifying sight. They had their weapons and the ammunition clips wrapped around them. Ten minutes would have been enough and the Jews would have been saved. My dad alone wasn't able to save them. I was instructed to quickly go to the Vajdík family. My dad was there. So me, a child, had to run to the Vajdík family at night to tell my dad that the nationalists had arrived in the village. Even today, I still don't know who reported that the Jews had returned. They shot all of them there. Just one sixteen-year-old girl was saved. My mom hid her in our attic. Then she was transferred to the Czech Republic, but it was all organized by my mum. She was about sixteen or seventeen years old. She was saved. My mother had arranged for her to be saved."

  • "I furthermore have to emphasize that my dad was a great partisan. All of a sudden, a plane flew over the streets and everyone wondered what it was. German generals stepped out of it, or I should say, it was Russians disguised as Germans. My dad did not say a word. He organized this with his friends. It was Russians in German uniforms. They came to take pictures of the German fortifications that were being built there. They even got invited to the castle of Ulič to take part in a major celebration that they organized for them. My mother cooked for them there. I remember that I came over there and my mother gave me some food that was left over from the feast."

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    Olomouc, 17.04.2013

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    nahrávka pořízena v rámci projektu Stories of 20th Century
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UNNRA saved my life

Mária Hejdová
Mária Hejdová
zdroj: archiv pamětníka

Mária Hejdová, née Maliňáková, was born in 1934 in the village of Ulič in Sub Carpathian Ruthenia, which was then part of Czechoslovakia. Today, Ulič is located in the easternmost valley of Slovakia. Like the vast majority of the inhabitants, the family of Mária Hejdová was of Ruthenian origin. Her father was one of the leaders of the local resistance movement and after he had escaped from prison, he lived for several months in the woods with the partisans. Her native village was located next to the Arpad line that was built to fend off the Soviet army during WWII. Therefore, Hungarian and German troops were stationed in the village for several months during the war and the local people had to supply them with food. Many inhabitants of the village subsequently died as a result of malnutrition and disease. After the Soviet Armies broke through the Arpad line, the village was terrorized by various armed gangs that harassed and killed the local inhabitants and especially the local Jews, who had only just returned from the concentration camps. As Marie Hejdová says, her life was saved by the UNNRA that evacuated her from this dangerous region in 1947 and took her to Bohemia together with 89 other malnourished and often sick children. Mrs. Hejdová then lived for four years with the Macurovi spouses in Pacov, before returning to Slovakia. In 1957, she went to Rýmařov, where she married Antonín Hejda, who bought a license for the production of prefabricated wooden houses Okál in Western Germany and set up a factory for their production in Rýmařov. In the beginning of the period of the so-called „Normalization“, he was fired for this. Today Mária Hejdová lives in her apartment in Olomouc. Just recently, fraudsters tried to steal her apartment from her and they left Mária Hejdová with a debt amounting to 500.000 CZK.