Gertruda Ješonková

* 1941  

  • “They beat prisoners in the Mexiko camp as well and an acquaintance of my mother’s had to clean up blood in there. In those rooms they tortured prisoners. It was cruel… I remember only some of the moments myself. I don’t know whether it was in that collection camp in Vítkovice or later in that Mexiko camp. I do remember, though, that it was always dark in there and that we slept on some rags. And my mother would hug me all the time.”

  • “My mother saved that girl’s life. She would bring her semolina wrapped in newspaper sheets. She was imprisoned in that camp and because she was a dressmaker, she would sew suitcase covers for Russian women. Russian women had lots of suitcases and so my mother sewed covers for them. That’s how she could get some food and she secretly brought semolina to the girl. I remember one particular moment. I don’t know where exactly it was but we were standing in some sort of a queue, there were children too, and soldiers were walking around. I held on to my mother and was not afraid because I knew that my mother protected me. Since I was born I was always with my mother only so she was great support for me.”

  • “Here is the confirmation that my mother received on the 9th of July 1945: “The National Committee in Vítkovice gives permission to the German Lydia Talagová to move into her former flat with [= “s” in Czech, here spelled as “z” – translator’s note] her daughter.” See? Written with a spelling error… “The address is Vítkovice, Nerudova street 30. This permission is to be considered provisional until the responsible authorities deliver a verdict.” Such uneducated people, who weren’t even able to write a text in correct Czech, were deciding whether a German can move into her own lousy single-bedroom flat.”

  • “Confirmation: “The Security Department of the National Committee of the Statutory City of Ostrava raises no objections to the commute to and from work by the means of electric railways from Vítkovice to Moravská Ostrava of Lydia Talagová, employed by Miloslav Konečný’s dressmaking company. She is allowed to remove the marking of German nationality during the commute and during working hours.” So if my mother was allowed to enter the tram she was also allowed to put that “N” label into her pocket. Probably to prevent others from being offended.”

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    Ostrava / Stará Bělá, 09.04.2017

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We spoke Czech at home. I hated German in school

zdroj: archiv Gertrudy Ješonkové

Gertruda Ješonková, née Talagová, was born on the 21st of December 1941 in Ostrava-Vítkovice. Her father Josef Talaga was an engineer, her mother Lidie was a dressmaker. They were both of German nationality. After the occupation of Czechoslovakia her father had to join the German army. He served with the air force and was injured in Poland towards the end of the war. In May 1945 Gertruda Ješonková and her mother were interned in camps intended for Germans from Ostrava. Following her release she grew up in the family of her uncle Miloslav Konečný who owned a dressmaking company. From 1945 to 1949 her mother faced persecutions directed against inhabitants of German descent. In 1949 the uncle was sentenced to half a year in prison and he had to close his business down. Gertruda Ješonková only learnt the historical facts concerning the integration camps for Germans from Ostrava after 1989.