Rostislav Novotný

* 1928  †︎ 2014

  • "A mortar grenade dropped right into our chimney. It tore up the chimney but nothing happened to us. The next day, the front lines had reached the village and it wreaked havoc. Our barn as well as the barn of the Dedecius family was blown to pieces. They burned to ashes. On the third day, a mortar grenade hit our sleeping room. Luckily, it was already empty as we had hidden in the basement. We were afraid that the Germans would retreat and that they would want to take us with them. They might have use for boys like we were, my brother was even four years older than I was. We had two cellars – we bricked up one of them and we entered the second one from the stables. There was such a little gap there with a lid and we would always crawl through that hole into the basement. We were about 8 men there in the cellar. We somehow survived the melee. On the fourth day, we ran away to the Russians. But we didn't have to anymore since the Germans had already left."

  • "In the evening, the Ukrainian nationalists – followers of Stepjan Bandera – came to our house. They wanted my dad to show them where the mayor lived. That was already at the time when the Soviets were running the place. Before, when the Germans were still in charge of the place, the Ukrainians had murdered our godfather Řezáč, his son and a Pole who was there with them. That was the first murder, but it had happened under the Germans. The Ukrainians came sometime in March. They told them to yoke the horses. The Řezáč family was very rich. They had two pairs of horses. The godfather was a bit fat and his son, Jirka, was already married. He had two children. So they went to yoke the horses, but then, when they rode out into the garden, the Ukrainians killed the godfather on the spot. Jirka probably tried to escape and he was killed on a nearby field, near the barn. The Pole was killed in the garden. It was the first funeral. Three funerals at once. (...) At dawn, the neighbors came and spread the news that the Řezáč males are dead, that they had been murdered. But by then, the Ukrainians had already disappeared. So we somehow lived there after this incident. Then the Soviets came back and drove out the Germans. My dad probably spoke his mouth a little bit. Then the Ukrainians came again. They were eight guys and they wanted my dad to come with them and show them where the mayor lived. But my dad recognized one of the Ukrainians who had served at the mayor as a cowherd boy. With the Ukrainians, it worked like this: when they took away a Czech, he would never come back again. He was automatically murdered. That's how they killed teacher Křivka. But my dad recognized that Ukrainian who had served with the mayor as a shepherd. My mother was kissing their feet and begged them not to take my dad with them to show them where the mayor lived."

  • "The first was Maria who got married and moved to Holoveň – that was still at the time when it was under Polish rule – and remained under the rule of the Soviet Union. She stayed there until 1937 or 1938. We hadn't seen her then. At that time, the border was closed and that was the end. In 1931, when the kholkhoz started, they moved the whole family to Kiev. She had five kids – four girls and one boy. Her husband had been taken away from her. He was riding on horses somewhere nearby Kiev. Do you know what it is? A sovkhoz is a state-owned farm and a kholkhoz is a farms collective. She baked bread there. But then, one night, a black car came – they called it a 'černoja kožka' – and they took away her husband. Nobody ever saw him again and no one knows what happened to him. They say that they took him to Siberia where he perished. He was a kulak. She was left behind with five kids to feed."

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    Velké Losiny, 23.04.2013

    délka: 02:39:36
    nahrávka pořízena v rámci projektu Stories of 20th Century
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It was impossible to live there any longer

Rostislav Novotny aged 17
Rostislav Novotny aged 17
zdroj: archiv pamětníka

Rostislav Novotný is a Czech from Volhynia. He was born in 1927 in Novostavce that back then belonged to the Polish part of Volhynia. During the war and immediately in its aftermath, he became a direct eye witness of a number of murders perpetrated by Ukrainian nationalists – followers of the extremist Stepjan Bandera. Right after the war, he secretly left to Czechoslovakia. As he had made negative experiences with the Communist regime in Volhynia, he decided to escape to the west together with his friends after February 1948. However, they got caught nearby Cheb and Rostislav Novotný then spent a year in prison. Among other places, he was held in the judicial farmstead in Mlékojedy. After his release, he was commissioned to the auxiliary technical battalions (so-called „PTP“), where he subsequently served for nearly three years. Died in 2014.