Milena Šťastná

* 1929

  • "The sixties were interesting in that '68 started with the teachers suddenly telling each other things in the teachers´ room that they had heard on TV or radio that they normally didn't say at all. So I told one of my colleagues after six months, when we had sort of gained a little bit of confidence that we could say that, that it was going to be socialism with a human face, Mr. Dubček told us that. So we didn't believe it at first, people were afraid to express themselves, of course. And then the guys (soldiers) came here, you know, they showed up. And suddenly it changed again. I met one of my colleagues, the day we were occupied, and I went to the post office and I was wide-eyed. My husband had just gone to Slovakia with some relatives and got stuck somewhere and the Slovaks were amazing. He said that there were lines at the petrol stations and the Slovaks were so great that when they saw the sign for Dečín, they let him go ahead. He needed petrol in Slovakia, but they were just so amazing that they really said, 'That's a Czech, give way to him, let him go, he's got a long way home.' There was such solidarity, people would put the signs the other way round so that the Soviets, like they were wrong, wouldn't go to Prague, they would go somewhere else. There was great enthusiasm. And I met my colleague that day, she's deceased now, too. I said, 'You know, I'm afraid that in ten years they'll be saying how they helped us.' Oh, how wrong I was, it was already within a year. It wasn't ten years, it was a year. And already everybody was shutting up in the teachers´room, everybody was afraid to say anything. Because we didn't know who had any intentions, who wanted a position and so on."

  • "I was playing with the butcher's German children and Daddy called: 'Milenka, go home'.Well, if Mummy had called, I would have said: 'Mummy, not yet, and leave me here'. But Daddy called, I came upstairs, Daddy said: 'Milenko, there will be a war, you and Mummy will go to Hradec Králové, because there will probably be fighting here'. That was the first time I saw my father cry. And he was the commander of the so-called SOS, it wasn't like the Morse code, but it stood for the Union of State Defenders, that's what it was called (SOS in Czech). Daddy was the commander, and I have a picture here that they were guarding Kunštát and they had built a kind of a hut, like a forest guardhouse, I have it here. They built a kind of a hut in the woods and they guarded Kunštát, they had our radio. Daddy had it there and listened to the Germans telling how the Czechs were hurting the Germans in Kunštát! They heard it and nothing like that happened there."

  • "Kunštát was about eight kilometres long and mostly Germans were there and I was actually, at the end, the only Czech. Because the year thirty-eight came, 1938, when Germans had already won the elections here, 48% of the population of Mikulášovice, I read in the chronicle, I may not be saying it quite accurately, voted for Henlein. They even got into parliament and were in a very good position. Of course, they had no idea that when they got back, they still wanted 'Heim ins Reich', which means 'Home to the Reich'. Well, what happened was that first they took away the border area and in Kunštát, where we lived, we even had to flee. I was playing with the butcher's children, the children of a butcher, a German family, at the beginning of September, 1938. I could speak German and it was funny, the German. It was different everywhere, here they used to say 'Komm bisschen hier', which means 'Komme bisschen hier', whoever learns German knows it means 'Come here a little bit'. But in those Orlické Mountains they said everything with the 'la' ending. 'Kommla bissla hiera'. And my mother and I used to walk through Kunštát and giggle at the German language. But those people were awfully nice, they were humble, awfully nice people who worked hard in those fields, they carried manure in their little buckets to the fields because they didn't even have any wagon. They were really poor people, and I know my mother used to say to them, 'Why are you selling those eggs for so little? You can ask for more.‘ Here in Lipová we paid more for an egg than there in the Orlické Mountains. But they were just awfully nice, really modest. But they had no idea when they chose Henlein that the Sudeten Germans would be the first to go to the front. At least that's what I heard. Later on, when the financial guard was abolished during the war, my dad worked in the financial office of the district governor's office in Rychnov nad Kněžnou. Where he got to then, and he knew that it was the Sudeten Germans who got up against the Soviet Union, and they were terribly..., they were being driven almost all the way to Moscow. So they suffered a lot, a lot of them died there, they hadn't known it at the time. Hitler didn´t promise them that they would lose their lives and lose the roof over their heads. Just war is extremely cruel, isn't it."

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    Praha, 06.11.2018

    délka: 03:22:31
    nahrávka pořízena v rámci projektu The Stories of Our Neigbours
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I want to be happy even after I die

Milena Št'astná in her childhood
Milena Št'astná in her childhood
zdroj: Milena Št'astná

Milena Št‘astná was born in Krásný Les near Chabařovice in the North Bohemian border region. Her father, as a former Italian legionnaire, worked for the financial guard and the family moved sixteen times. She experienced the escalation of national tensions between Czechs and Germans in the late 1930s. She herself attended both Czech and German schools, often being the only Czech pupil. At the time of the Munich crisis, the family settled inland, and they spent the war years in Hradec Králové. She graduated from the Faculty of Education in Pilsen and taught in the borderlands all her life. She met her husband in the education sector and together they worked at the primary school in Mikulášovice. Her husband, Bohumil Šimůnek, lost his job as headmaster of the school in Mikulášovice during the normalisation checks. Because of the unsatisfactory cadre profile, his daughter had problems getting into university. She overcame a serious illness and was living in Mikulášovice at the time of the interview in 2018.