Marie Klusáčková

* 1939  

  • “They employed our fathers in the war industry, in factories. Dad was also in the English Home Guard, the militia. They served in the streets. To have some place for all of us Czechoslovaks to gather, they also organised a Czechoslovak Club there [in Newcastle - ed.]. We were even visited by President Edvard Beneš. Jan Masaryk also came to say hello to us, and other members of the government in exile. We children performed Czech dances and songs for them there. So that was the Czechoslovak Club.”

  • “My background report didn’t matter in the lower years. But then at grammar school, the old professors were gradually forced out. The only ones who remained were those who taught mathematics, physics, or chemistry, in other words, subjects that you couldn’t really stick ideology in much. And for history, Czech, and civic education they brought in new professors, Communists of course. We were given a young class teacher, hardly out of school, and he was a dreadful Communist. He saw my background report, he didn’t like me much, and he kept giving me various tasks, kept trying to get me involved. Then I graduated, and my parents were acquainted with the professors who had had to leave, and they told them that I wouldn’t receive recommendation to study at university. So I didn’t even apply, so I wouldn’t give them the joy of denying it... Then I undertook an undergraduate course, for a nurse, which I completed here in Brno.”

  • “After some years they fired my father from the Vsetín Arms Works, we had to leave our factory flat and move somewhere else. We were constantly under the attention [of State Security - ed.] because when my parents came to visit me or went somewhere else, Mum would give the keys to the neighbour, to water the flowers. She was a good woman, but I guess her husband was in State Security. Mum always locked everything, handed over the keys... And then Mum told me she knew they’d rummaged through her writing desk. So I guess we were under constant surveillance.”

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    Brno, 12.10.2017

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To feel safe and to live your life your own way

Marie Klusáčková, the Childhood in England, 1940 - 1945
Marie Klusáčková, the Childhood in England, 1940 - 1945
zdroj: archiv pamětníka

Marie Klusáčková was born on 20 July 1939 in Brno. Her father was employed at the Brno Arms Works. In 1938 he joined the experts who oversaw the construction of a new factory in Romania. The families of the construction team went with them. Marie‘s mother returned to Czechoslovakia only to give birth. However, the territory was already part of the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, and so she only managed to leave the country with her baby daughter and rejoin her husband after many difficulties. As soon as the war broke out, the arms-factory families in Romania decided to leave continental Europe. Their journey to England and their subsequent war efforts in the foreign resistance were organised by General Heliodor Píka. After the war Marie returned to Czechoslovakia with her parents. When General Píka was arrested by the Communists, the family was afraid they would lose their father as well. The family soon found itself caught in the attention of State Security due to their connection to the foreign resistance. For this and other reasons, fear and caution became an inseparable mark of Marie‘s life in totalitarian Czechoslovakia. As of 2017, the witness lives in Brno with her daughter and granddaughters.