Marie Kurková

* 1937

  • "It's always hard work with people, but it was harder with the guards than with the convicts. That was different." "Was it because of the times?" "It's not the times, it's the people. With convicts I had natural authority, whereas with guards you had to be really careful. Double-crossing existed and still exists today. I worked in the secretariat for a long time, so I got to know what it means to work with people."

  • "I admire myself that I made it through. Until 1989 they were still convicts who had class, but later there were women who thought they could dare treat us any way. They used to insult us. Before 1989, there were even women who had been wrongly sentenced. For example, there was a shop manager convicted of embezzlement. She was innocent, but how could we help her? On the other hand, we had a completely different approach to these women. They needed to talk, they had a family, and at the same time they were afraid that they would lose that family, that their marriage would break up. They needed our help. I had one convict who begged me to talk to her in my office. She was not able to find a friend among the convicts to whom she could tell everything, so she looked for her in me. And she didn't forget. She still writes to me at Easter or Christmas. But I don't exchange letters with her."

  • "The Germans crucified a Soviet scout on the gate of the Zíka´s farm. After they took him down, they buried him at the small chapel. Later his remains were buried in the local cemetery in Štítina. On the grave there is a memorial in the shape of a cross with a depiction of his crucifixion."

  • "Our house was located at the end of the last street in Štítina. There was a footbridge a short distance from the house and then there were fields. During the World War II there were trenches in the fields up to Nové Sedlice. After the war there were many fallen soldiers in Štítina and their bodies were thrown into the trenches. There were big fights there and that was only because the Germans came back to Štítina. I remember it very well. Then the Russians were looting just after the war and taking everything to Russia. They even brought in sewing machines and young women had to sew big bags in which the soldiers put their stolen things. These were then loaded onto a small horse-drawn cart and taken away. They even took our bicycles."

  • "I lived through the war in terror. There was a distillery in Štítina. Nové Sedlice is on a hill and Štítina in a valley. The Germans were retreating from the Russians and the Russians got into the distillery. They got so drunk there that the Germans came back to Štítina and a big fighting started. The school, the mill, the kindergarten and all the houses that had thatched roofs burned down. Štítina ended up so badly as a result of the Russians getting drunk so much. We were hidden in the cellar and there were young girls with us. Among them was my pregnant sister or Květoslava Volná from Otice. They [the girls] were all lying under the beds because the soldiers were breaking into the cellar to us. There was a new barn next to the house where a goat was kept. My mum and her sister would go out of the cellar to milk the goat, because there were small children with us and they needed milk. We had water in the cellar, which was an advantage. My mum and her sister came back to the cellar with the milk and a bomb fell on the barn. There were things hidden above the barn, including a shoe box. And once the bomb fell on the barn, the shoes were scattered all over the gardens."

  • "Then, when the Russians got to Štítina, hard times began because they felt they were in power. Young girls were hiding from them, it was terrible. They were looting, and the local women had to sew them canvas bags to put their stolen things in and take them home."

  • "There was bombing in Štítina. There were Germans there, and the Russians were coming from Kravaře. It's not far from Štítina to Kravaře. The bombing was heavy. We were all hiding in the cellar. We were cooking on a spirit [cooker], there were small children with us. The other part of Štítina, where the old thatched cottages had stood, burned down. Above Štítina is Nové Sedlice, so the Russians were at a disadvantage, because the Germans got up to Nové Sedlice and attacked downwards. Many people lost their lives in Stitina at that time. The old thatched houses were burnt down."

  • Celé nahrávky
  • 1

    Otice, 12.07.2012

    délka: 01:26:18
  • 2

    Otice, 25.07.2023

    délka: 01:10:07
Celé nahrávky jsou k dispozici pouze pro přihlášené uživatele.

The Germans fired from the hill, the Soviets from below. Our house was in the middle

Marie Kurková in 1942
Marie Kurková in 1942
zdroj: Witness´s archive

Marie Kurková was born on 29 June 1937 in Štítina, Opava region, to Anna and Jan Prokša, the youngest of three sisters. At the end of the war they were hiding in the cellar with other families. The passing front heavily damaged Štítina, many people lost their lives, including the Soviet scout Ivan Kubinec, who was tortured by the Germans. Marie Kurková mentions his crucifixion on the gate and also recalls the post-war reconstruction of the village. From her parents she received an album with photographs of the damaged Štítina. After completing her studies and specializing in psychology, she worked as an educational counsellor in the Opava prison from the mid-1950s. In her opinion, the prison staff was harder to work with than the convicts. Of the more than thirty years she spent working in prisons, a large part was under the communist regime. In her retirement, she pursued the passion of her youth - Sokol. At the time of the recording in 2023, she was living in Otice.