“When we were occupied, when the Russians came here, she went to volunteer as a nurse to the hospital to help out. She was on her way back, they didn’t need help, and as she was crossing the bridge – back then we lived by the riverside – there was an armed Ruskie standing opposite her. He stopped her and invited her somewhere. She had to learn Russian, it was compulsory at school, she had to graduate [from it], she was an excellent student, so she learnt everything perfectly just as her mother did before, so she understood him perfectly and retorted in perfect Russian that he should go search in Moscow, not Prague. And he pointed his gun at her and “suchi”, or however the Russians say it. Luckily, an officer was passing by and saw it happen. He realised what was going on, leapt up to them, turned the weapon away, and the shot went off into the air.”
“Dad went down with a fever, and he was friends in Dachau with Josef Čapek, who was also there from the beginning. And if Karel Čapek had still been alive, he’d have been there too. And Josef Čapek saved my father’s life. He found out that Dad had disappeared, and he asked one German guard, of whom it was known that he wasn’t in the SS but that he was recruited from prison – Dad also said: ‘all Germans aren’t the same’ – so he asked him if he knew what had happened with Dad. And he said: ‘He’s dying.’ And he told Čapek that he was down with a fever and that he was upward of forty [degrees Celsius]. But Čapek, when they came to arrest him, he’d prepared a bag, and he’d smuggled some pills into Dachau, especially ones to treat fevers. He sent Dad those pills via the German. The agreed that the German would hide him, Dad said they were stuffed away behind a chimney somewhere, and that he’d tell him how many pills to take. He arranged with another Czech to respond during roll call, when they’d call out Dad’s number. Čapek organised this and saved my dad.”
“It’s not true, as they wrote in papers again the other day, that Čapek died of typhus. He didn’t. Čapek was killed by the German, Dad told me that. The turned Dachau into a camp primarily for clergy – several prayer houses of various churches were built in Dachau after the war. Buchenwald was being built, it was finished, and all the Czechs were taken from Dachau to Buchenwald because it was big. Dad and Čapek were transported there as well. And Čapek was still alive in March ’45. In March the Germans took him somewhere and brought him back to the crematorium in Buchenwald. They killed him. [Q: You said that your dad claimed that Josef Čapek didn’t die of typhus...] They write it was typhus. Dad didn’t say what he died of, but he expressly told me: ‘They murdered him, Bergen-Belsen.’ And because I guess Bergen-Belsen didn’t have a crematorium, they had to burn him here. [Q: But theoretically it’s possible that they took him to Bergen-Belsen, where he contracted typhus, died of typhus, and then they brought him back, no?] Yeah, but he’d have died – no, this happened pretty quick somehow. It wouldn’t have been such a fast death.”
“You didn’t recognise a stetsec [State Security officer or agent - trans.]. We didn’t even recognise the one who started work on 1 July in Berlin together with us, and it wasn’t until 1970, much later, when everyone – him included – was fired that he confessed with the words, I repeat: ‘Roman, I’m a big bastard.’ He was sitting in our place with a glass of wine, we were chatting, we used to meet up as friends with him and his wife. Roman responded: ‘Come off it, what’s that nonsense’ and so on. ‘No, I have to confess, my conscience is gnawing at me. I was a stetsec planted to inform on you. That’s why I went to Berlin with you on the same day, because it was my duty to monitor you and give reports.’ [Q: And at the time when they travelled there, did he pretend he was a friend?] He was a friend for years! They were colleagues. And yet Milan Tokár was many years younger than us. About twenty.”
Miloslava Smolíková, née Veckerová, was born on 24 May 1927 in Načeradec. At the age of five, she lost her mother, who died of myocarditis; when she was eleven, she lost her father as well, who was taken away by the Gestapo in March 1939 for his explicit opposition to the annexation of the Sudetes and the Nazi occupation. His father was interned in the Dachau concentration camp, where he befriended Josef Čapek, and later in Buchenwald, where he joined in prison resistance efforts. After the war Miloslava joined the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia (CPC) and married Roman Smolík, who worked at the press department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. However, the political trials of the 1950s brought disillusionment to the Smolíks, and they were put under surveillance as „enemies“. In the years 1966 to 1968 they lived in East Berlin, where Roman Smolík was employed as a secretary at the Czechoslovak embassy. In 1968 he organised a protest there against the Soviet occupation and was subsequently fired, accused of the crime of abuse of power and aiding unauthorised entry in to Czechoslovak territory; he and Miloslava were expelled from the CPC. The witnessed worked as a secretary - during WW2 at the Masaryk Social Studies Society, after the war at the Central Committee of the CPC, and after 1968 at the Rail Workers House in Prague-Vinohrady. Throughout the whole time of the Communist rule, Miloslava Smolíková‘s family was monitored and persecuted. She now lives at the Sue Ryder Home in Prague-Michle; she has two children and several grandchildren and great grandchildren.