Marie Maixnerová

* 1922

  • "Well, and then in Pardubice it was kind of normal. I did sowing, in a work-room. We were supposed to work on Sudnays, so mostly I hardly sowed at all, just some bags, so we had something to carry... We didn't have anything for anything. Because, you know, we didn't even have bags, we didn't have anything. So when we at least made something like that, at least so we had a bag. A bag to take the few vestments we got ourselves in time. So that's how it was in Pardubice in the sowing room. When we fulfilled our quota, it was just about alright. When we didn't, because for instance, sowing prison caps... unthinkable. Even though my mother taught me how to sow on a sowing machine, I still couldn't fulfill it, obviously. And so, whatever was missing, well, that was trouble. And so you wouldn't be allowed visits. I wasn't allowed a single visit the whole of my stay in Pardubice, same as Marie (talking of the sister sitting next to her). The last day I got told off by our foreman, because I was laughing. I was laughing because I knew I was going home the next day, but he thought, I dunno, that I was laughing at him, so he needed to put me down a peg. And then I went home."

  • "In the morning we went to mass, and I could already see them standing behind every pillar, peeking at us. Then the priest came, he was standing in at the time, and he told us: 'Someone's looking for you, come downstairs.' There was this, well... you know what they were like, and he said: 'I'm supposed to deliver something to you from Štěpánek.' And he opened something like a cigarette case with this rolled up piece of paper inside, and he wanted me to take it, that it's from Dean Štěpánek. I told him: 'Dean Štěpánek has no reason to send me anything!' And just then Mrs. Štěpánková, his mother, was passing by. I said: 'This is his mother, he would write to her, not me. Give it to his mother.' No, he got fed up. He turned away and didn't give her anything. And when he left, the priest said: 'You know what, let's phone the police.' Because that was clearly played on us. So we phoned the local police and told them that there had been someone here... someone who had as if brought some message from prison. Well he wrote this great big protocol, and while he was writing, the first man came back in and called him off, so that he wouldn't waste his time writing it down. Then they took me to Hradec and I was questioned. I thought that they wouldn't let me go at all, but after some three days they actually did release me."

  • "They found the disease in my lungs already in Ruzyně. So I was sent to hospital about a month later, together with the old granny, the granny had a weak heart, and I had tuberculosis. That was a hospital in the same building, the top floor. And we had an advantage. Because downstairs, normally, we slept on straw mats that were leaned against the wall during the day and pushed on the floor for the night. But afterwards, when I was ill, I got put in a room. That was quite nice, there were beds there, those metal ones, like the hospital beds used to be. And they lasted in hospitals for long long time I think. So that's the sort of bed I had. And I even had a wash basin in the corner, like this, so that we didn't just have an XY toilet and basin in one. The french one, as they called it. So that's how it was in Ruzyně. Then in Pardubice. In Pardubice we had freezing cold water for everything, even baths. But we were together and so nothing bothered us. It made us tougher."

  • "It was a Sunday, I happened to be on duty in the children's ward, and the doctor phoned me to say: 'You're to go the secretary's office.' Well I didn't expect to be taken right at that time, so I took one child for the X-ray, I left him there and stopped by the secretary's. There were two of them sitting there, they got up. I said: 'I'm supposed to go with you, right?' And they said yes. So we went out in front of the hospital. And I said: 'I should at least tell them at the ward, so that they can fill my spot.' And then there was a car in front of the hospital, and off we went. I kept saying to myself: 'Where are we going? This isn't the road to Hradec!' I thought we would be in Hradec, all of us, because we were one group, that the interrogations would all be in Hradec. But they turned towards Košíř, that way up. I wondered: 'Where are they taking me?' In the meantime we had already found out that Sister Helena, she's here too, well, that Sister Helena is going too, and they took us to Ruzyně. They left one waiting half a day in a cell, alone, and so on, and then they questioned one the whole night. He would ask questions the whole night, all sorts of questions. And he wrote up protocols. Also Sister Alena from Prague. She was the third. The three of us went, and then Pavla later on in May. So they questioned us, questioned, and then they put us in prison. To start with we were in Ruzyně - nine months of custody. I was sentenced to only fifteen. I didn't want an advocate at court. So I could manage myself... Sister Helena had an uncle who was a lawyer, so that he could defend us. But the advocates couldn't do anything anyway!"

  • "During the trial, all I know is that they asked me what I had told them. What they blamed me for. That I was a member of some seditious group and so on. I told them: 'So when I pray the Our Father, and I say 'Thy Kingdom come', then that's seditn?' And they said yes! So I got fifteen months for that. Because I had, well, I don't know. Because I was introduced there, and I copied and passed on the Prayer for Strength. Because we passed those sorts of various spiritual texts around, when we found something good or nice, then we copied it and sent it on. And they didn't at all, to torture me, they didn't give me any letters at all when I was in prison. At the start, in Ruzyně, they told us... they didn't have physical punishment there until Christmas, apparently. And we thanked the Virgin Mary for that too, that she helped us, when we had already come... Before that they were, by what the girls said, they were tortured something terrible. But we weren't beaten anymore. But even though we could write home each week, or each month, then my mum could only write to me once a month. And when they held me in custody, until the trial in August or September, they didn't give me a single word from her. As if she wasn't alive even. Like they wanted to break my nerves, that I didn't have any message from home. Just for name-day I got card, where mum had written: 'I don't know how I should write this anymore.' She just wrote correspondence cards. 'We're fine, no problems. I don't know how I should write this anymore, that they don't give it to you.'"

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    v Rokoli u Nového Města nad Metují, 12.08.2008

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So when I pray the Our Father, and I say Thy Kingdom come, then that‘s sedition?

M. Maixnerová - old foto
M. Maixnerová - old foto
zdroj: archov pamětníka

Marie Maixnerová was born in 1922 in Verměřovice (district of Ústí nad Orlicí). In her younger years she worked at Baťa‘s shoe factory in Zlín. When growing up she came into contact with the Schoenstatt Movement and decided to join the Sisters of Mary order, leaving for Switzerland. In 1948 she returned from abroad and together with her fellow sisters she started to spread word of the Schoenstatt Movement. She was arrested for the first time in 1953, but was only in custody for three days. She was arrested a second time on the 4th of April 1957, in Prague. She was held at Ruzyně for nine months, before being sentenced to fifteen months of jail, which she spent in the Pardubice prison. After her release she was not able to find work. In the end she got a job making „olomoucké tvarůžky“ (a traditional Czech matured cheese) in Letohrady. She worked there until her retirement. After 1989 she joined up with her fellow sisters to build a chapel and provincial house of the Sisters of Mary in Rokol near Nové Město nad Metují.