Sylva Šimsová

* 1931

  • "There were voices which advocated a change of style – everything was to be done in a completely different way. This happened to me. In 1948, I was approached by two people who I barely knew. It was a sort of a random encounter of Scouts. One of them was a brother from Moravia, the other one was a student of the Faculty of Natural Sciences in Albertov. They told me: 'Švestka, go and meet Pavel Křivský'. 'Why?' 'He'll be organizing a voluntary work camp in the summer'. And it was worth it because the camps were compulsory for us. I was thinking to myself if I should do it. My parents always advised me to be careful so I didn't tell them about it and went to see Pavel Křivský. And I found out that I trusted him. I became a member of what was later called 'The Circle'. I went to that summer camp where we collected blueberries and where the circle was started. Pavel was of the opinion that we should dissolve the troops because people knew about their existence and start something new instead of them. I strongly disagreed with him. It was unthinkable for me to do something like that because of the children that were members of the troops. But he told me that I don't understand the political situation, that this regime is here to stay for a long time and that there is the risk of a loss of civilization--he liked to use big words. Some people in the Scout movement carried on their work in the troops and these people usually didn't join the circle. But many did and became very active in the circle."

  • "Standa thought it would be too risky to go as a big group and therefore he separated us into two groups. Standa and Joviš went first and we were supposed to cross the border a few days later. But the guy who was supposed to take us across the border kept telling us that it was too dangerous to do the border crossing at the moment and he kept delaying it day by day. Eventually, we crossed the border and it was safe. We walked for 12 hours and arrived at the German border at seven o'clock in the morning. Eventually, they sent us to Cham which was a pretty big city."

  • "There was one block that belonged to the YMCA. The young and the students lived there. You had the feeling that the young and decent are concentrated there. Scouts were there as well. I and Joviš decided to organize the life in the camp as if it was a Scout camp. Therefore, we organized a morning warm-up exercise and people would really attend it. Not everybody of course, some of them slept a bit longer. I was into culture and therefore I thought that there also has to be a warm-up exercise for the mind, not just the body. So I would read them poetry. As I didn't have anything else there I would use the poems of Březina. Some of these boys had never heard of Březina before but they patiently listened to the reading anyway."

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    Praha, 11.09.2012

    délka: 01:25:32
    nahrávka pořízena v rámci projektu A Century of Boy Scouts
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Czech scouting is unique

Šimsová Sylva
Šimsová Sylva
zdroj: archiv Sylvy Šimsové

Sylva Šimsová, Scout nickname „Švestka“ (plum), was born on 24 February 1931 in Prague. Her father, Karel Maiwald, was a member of the headquarters of the PVVZ (the Petition Committee „Faithfull we Remain“). Her family helped the persecuted during the times of the Protectorate. After the war, she was a member of the 13th troop of the river Scouts in Prague. Their clubhouse was located underneath the Olšany cemetery and later in the house U Křižovníků. In 1949, she, her future husband Karel Janovický-Bohuš Šimsa, and her parents managed to escape via refugee camps in Bavaria (Valka) to Great Britain. She studied library science and worked in this sector until the mid-1980s, when she started to teach people how to use personal computers. She currently lives with her husband in northern London.