Dana Paulová

* 1950  

  • "On Saturday, in fact, later in the evenings, my parents came to visit us and I must say that our grandmother´s acquaintances from Prague also came here or we sometimes went to Prague, where Mrs. Benešová invited us to visit her apartment on Loretánské náměstí. To this day, my brother remembers the details of those visits that meant a lot to him. Eventually, in 1954, my grandfather died, and my great-grandmother died a year earlier, and my grandmother and I were left alone. Due to the fact that sometimes some visitors came here to cheer up my grandmother, even some Russian legionaries took me by train to the theater in Mšeno or went with me to exhibitions so that my grandmother could also relax a bit. A local communist needed an apartment for his married daughter. So they took a half of the living part of the house, partitioned the garden, built a wall between the two rooms, and if a visitor wanted to come to us, they actually had to go through 'their' yard, so then usually no one had the courage to come here, and I'm not surprised. To make matters worse, the unified agricultural cooperative needed a maternity ward, so the second part of the house, where there were farm buildings, but granaries and threshing floor, they converted it into a pig maternity ward. They built a cesspool and a manure pit here, partitioned the yard, so my grandmother and I really only had two rooms. So the fields and forests were owned by all of us.”

  • "The police interrogated everyone very hard. Promises and a solitary confinement and threats forced everyone to speak, until the chain stopped at my grandmother, who announced during the interrogation that she had received the leaflet from a wounded soldier in the infirmary who had returned from the Russian front. The police did not believe her and the judge urged her to say what color he had, what the kitbag he had... They wanted to know the details. Grandma wrote in her memories that she tried to use her imagination a lot, but the police knew that she was not telling the truth, so the chain stopped with her and no one else was imprisoned. But when Grandma was tried, she was sentenced to death by a rope. She entered a prison in Vienna, where she was to await confirmation of the verdict by a military court. In prison, she met Dr. Alice Masaryk, which was something very wonderful for my grandmother, because Alice, who was even older, but not much more than my grandmother, was a very educated person. She was interested in history, philosophy, culture and she tried to pass on all her knowledge to my grandmother, so my grandmother didn't have much time to think about her destiny. They actually spent all the evenings and free time together in discussions and learning."

  • "So, the family is still sticking together, and the most beautiful experience lately was that the people from villages that belong together - Hleďsebe / Lhotka - gather for Christmas in the neighboring village by the Christmas tree and sing Christmas carols together. Last December, my Italian aunt and cousin came from America and we went to sing carols together. My cousin forgot it, and he said, 'I don't remember them all anymore.' So, they gave him the notes and he just sang and said it was one of the very beautiful experiences he had here. I hope that nothing bad will happen to us anymore and that the way how my grandmother raised me actually accompanies me all my life, although, as I said, sometimes it was not good, because my grandmother was a very honest and principled woman and during the communist era it was not that useful. However, I think at least I can look back on my life and say it is OK."

  • Celé nahrávky
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    V Hleďsebi u Mělníka, 17.07.2019

    (audio)
    délka: 37:56
    nahrávka pořízena v rámci projektu Stories of 20th Century
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I believe in friendship

Dana Paulová, a potrait photo of that time, Prague 1967
Dana Paulová, a potrait photo of that time, Prague 1967
zdroj: archive of the witness

Dana Paulová, née Hašková, was born in 1950 in Prague into a family that respected the Masaryk ideals of the First Republic. The defining figure in the family was her grandmother Aurélie Šestáková, called Rela, sentenced to death during the First World War. She became friends with Alice Masarykova and Hana Benešová in an Austrian prison. Her grandfather Antonín Šesták was a legionnaire and was imprisoned for four years during the Second World War during his resistance activities. Her father Antonín Hašek was expelled from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs after February 1948, the family had to leave Prague and found a shelter for some time on a family farm in the village of Hleďsebe in Mělník region. Dana was raised here by her grandmother Rela until 1960, then she returned to Prague and in a more relaxed situation in the 1960s she was able to graduate from a secondary school of catering and complete internships abroad. In 1969, the witness had the opportunity to emigrate with her aunt and uncle Šesták to Italy, but she decided to stay at home. After 1989, Dana and her husband Roman Paulů owned and managed the Adria restaurant in Prague‘s Národní třída. In 1996, the witness overcame a serious illness and then moved to a family farm in Hleďsebe in Mělník region.