Helena Křížová

* 1928  †︎ 2015

  • "As soon as the whole transport was ready, they put us in an open carriage and we were gone. My mom didn't know where they sent me. One afternoon, we had to come into a pub before a committee that would chose some girls and women and since I've always had bad luck, I was among them. We had about half an hour to get ready and go. I took my school bag and put some things into it and one farmer took us on his cart to Javornik. We called it the red villa (Rotville). Now there is a post office in that place. I don't like going there with my mail since everything is still the same there. We could stay in Česká Třebová for the whole night. Luckily it did not rain. We stood crammed in that car. The next day, we arrived at the labor office in Boskovice where the peasants came to pick us up. Luckily, the farmer who picked me wasn't a bad guy. I stayed with that family for ten months. He had three servants and three maids, so I was the fourth maid. One of them was an angel. One Sunday she said: 'Helen, come with me'. She gave me a coat. I didn't understand too much of what she was saying. All I could say was just 'good day' and not much more. She led me to the church in the neighboring village. The people there went to the church. It was crowded there."

  • "The worst thing is that they took women and girls. I took the key next to the door and ran to the church. The church was our shelter. There was one girl and my cousin already there. The three of us ran to the church and closed the door. We went into the sacristy. There were carpets, so we thought that we would lie on them. And now we hear 'tap, tap'. In the church it resounds on the tiles. And I said: 'that's my dad, he's bringing some bread'. I opened the door but it wasn't my dad, it was a Russian. As he walked into the sacristy we quickly escaped through the back door. We hid in a field of grain next to the church. Then I went home but they came to our home as well. And one of them, some officer, wanted me to go with him. I resisted. And so my father said: 'I'll go and get the priest, he speaks Russian better than I do'. So we were about to leave and go to the pastor. Here was my mother, here my father and I held her like this and this is how we stood in the hallway. And he told me to let her go and come with them. But I wouldn't go, no! No!"

  • "I was in love with a boy from Zálesí who had to leave because he was among the group of Germans who were expelled. He had to go to Germany and I stayed here. I remained faithful to him for six years. I didn't want any other boy. I still hoped to go there as well. It was almost like a romantic novel or something of the sort. However, when I came back, I thought that I would like to have a family and kids one day. And as there was no chance to make it to Germany, the boy got married there and I got married here." Interviewer: "Have you ever sent him a letter to Germany?" H.K. "I'm still in touch with him."

  • "There were just two pubs there but very nice pubs with parquet halls and a pub downstairs. We had a great stage. They played theater. In Zálesí, we had our own band. Two shops, two pubs. All the crafts you needed were in the village. The blacksmith, the wheelwright and the tailor- everything was there. Then there were the peasants. We only had three and a half hectares. But all we needed to buy in Javorník was textiles and shoes, everything else was there. There was even a mill. The miller from Javornik went there with a horse-drawn carriage. He brought grain and took back home flour. My mother had it in the attic in wooden boxes keeping it safe from mice. We had everything we needed there. People used to bake their own bread. And those who did not have a field bought bread from the baker who came regularly to the village. Everything was there. And we had the most beautiful school."

  • "This is my poor brother Hanz. On December 4, 1944, he turned seventeen. We were skiing outside and the postman came and brought him a letter saying that he was enlisted in the army and had to be at the train station at six o'clock in the morning the next day. They took him to the army. He turned seventeen in December and in January he was gone. He was still just a kid. That was the last time I ever saw him."

  • Celé nahrávky
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    Javorník, 23.01.2012

    délka: 03:40:16
    nahrávka pořízena v rámci projektu German Minority in Czechoslovakia and Poland after 1945
Celé nahrávky jsou k dispozici pouze pro přihlášené uživatele.

We had to wear a badge on our arm and the school kids would spit on the ground in front of us

Helena Křížová (Hackenberg) in Jihlava
Helena Křížová (Hackenberg) in Jihlava
zdroj: archiv pamětníka

  Helena Křížová, née Hackenberg, was born in 1928 in Zálesí (Waldeck) to parents of German nationality. Today, she is the last remaining native of the village, which lies on the northern slopes of the Rychlebské hory Mountains. The Hackenberg clan has lived in Zálesí (Waldeck) for longer than anyone can remember. Since the 17th century, its members traditionally exercised the profession of the village bell ringer in the local parish church of St. Barbara and this occupation was passed on from generation to generation. The war affected the whole family. In 1945, Helena‘s brother Johan, who was 17 years old, was drafted to the Wehrmacht. He was captured and he later died in a Siberian labor camp. In 1946, the Germans were expelled from the village and the settlement remained virtually depopulated. New settlers were in short supply in this remote village. The Hackenberg family was not included in the transfer but Helena had to leave in 1946 and was forced to work in the village of Rosička near Kunštát for ten months. In 1948, the whole family was moved to the Jihlavsko region. After obtaining Czechoslovak citizenship in 1953, Helena returned to Zálesí where she soon after married a teacher named Zdeněk Kříž, with whom she then lived in Travná and Vlčice. Her brother Stefan emigrated to West Germany in 1965, for which he was sentenced in absentia to 18 months. The family was not allowed to visit their relatives across the state borders. She died in 2015.