Jiřina Tvrdíková

* 1923  †︎ 2010

  • "First, there was the infantry. Then submachine gunners, cannoneers. The mine throwers were somewhere else, they were awaiting the German planes. I was working outside in the field looking for the wounded ones. Sometimes, there was poor wounded soldier covered in ground and screaming. We were not allowed to be walking because the Germans were watching us and were throwing the mines that there was so much light in the sky like during the day. At night there was always an attack. I didn’t know what the war is. We even took cushions with us. The officer asked us: ´ Why are you taking the cushions with you? ´- ´ So we can sleep better. ´ We didn’t sleep for three weeks. When we were in Slovakia, some people wouldn’t even let us use their flats so we could sleep at least for five hours. We had to keep going, because there were injuries all the time. Our troops were approaching and so we had to take care of the wounded soldiers right away. We were on the guard - me, two other girls and two boys. The boys stayed on different position than we had. It was crazy. The Germans were bombing us, we didn’t have enough of the mine throwers. Then during the Christmas time there were no fights. It was quiet. They decided they all are Christians so they will not fight on Christmas. Then all of a sudden the radio began to play some American song. Col. Svoboda said: ´ Oh, boy, this can’t be good. ´ And they started shooting at us."

  • " My name is Jiřina Tvrdíková. I have a major position. I have served in the army of Col. Ludvik Svoboda for three years. I come from Carpathian Russia from the mixed marriage. My dad was a Czech from Prague and worked as a policeman in Carpathian Russia. He married my mom in 1923 when I was born. Carpathian Ruthenia - that wasn’t Ukraine. It was long ago after the WWI Czechoslovakian territory. We lived by Tiachevo village, located nearby Chust town. The Tisza River ran by the Romanian border. My childhood was beautiful until I reached 15 years. I was attending the medical school and I was doing just fine, because my dad was a police officer and my mom was at home. We had four cows, so we were doing great. I visited the medical school in Uzhhorod town. I wanted to become a doctor. As a five year old girl I used to give shots to other kids by using the thorn. I took care of them, I fed them the bread. I stole a loaf of bread from my mom and gave it to these kids. I had to feed them when I was treating them, right? Someone got even a skin infection , so I peeled the leftover skin off the thorn and burned it over the candle. And then gave the kids shot into their leg. There were about twelve kids. They kept coming back to me, because I provided them with food. "

  • "I have been seriously injured in Liptovsky Mikulas town. I got shot right into my spine. Thanks God it missed the spinal cord. I was just down on my knees providing the first aid when the bullet hit me. I had third eye and the German even ran over me. I have shot him after that. I shot him and I went to check if he’s death and I kicked him too. He managed to shot his gun before he died. I have been covered with dirt after the mine thrower explosion. They have noticed that I have a dirt inside of my ear. As I fell down on the ground all the falling dirt covered me up. When a bomb explodes, all the dirt is spread allover. It felt so fluffy. I was deaf, I didn’t hear anything. I wouldn’t talk, I didn’t even know my name or where I was. They dug me out in the afternoon. The bullet shot me in the morning. And just imagine, that I survived that. They found me...First there is the medical troop, the nurses, then the corpsmen who are picking up the ones we leave there, because we can’t manage to pull out everybody and give them the necessary treatment. So these men are looking for the ones who are still there, covered in the ground. I once pulled out one soldier, but he was to heavy for me. Our commander Dočkal was giving orders somewhere else when they started to look for me. They couldn’t find me. They thought, that I got captured by Germans that I was being taken away. But I wasn’t. But then, the angels found me, these collectors, who always come and save many other wounded people from the ground."

  • "The Germans were behind the bushes and we were hiding in the dugouts. We have been completely hidden with only our heads sticking out. Dočkal shouted: ´ Stay where you are! Don’t move! ´ There were about one hundred tanks going toward us. I saw them so I was really frightened. There was no infantry, only tanks. We stayed down in the dugouts. When the last tank passed us I threw one Molotov cocktail. The last two tanks were gone in instance and the injured Germans were screaming. I told to myself: ´ Good for you! ´ Also our soldier were at the logistic forces, so we left our wounded ones and were shooting at the Germans or beating them up. When the German was alive and called me ´Schweinerei tschechisch´ (You Czech son of a bitch - translator’s note) I kicked his ass. Not that I wouldn’t provide the first aid, I sure did, but he wouldn’t let me too. He was too proud." "Have you been treating wounded German soldiers as well ? " "We did, because we needed them to provide the information about their positions, shelters, what was their soldiery like...just like on the front."

  • "I wanted to die. So I laid down on the snow. There has been lots of snow, it even covered our house. So I laid down and wanted to die. I heard that when you freeze it’s painless and easy death. I was already being pale and didn’t know about the world when some Russian lady came and saved me. She was scrubbing the snow all around me that she woke me up eventually. Then she was very upset and was yelling at me why did I do that? She saved me. I told her : ´I wanted to die! ´ ´ No! ´ ´ Alright then, no...´ These Russian ladies were not afraid of anything. They were in jail for steeling and prostitution. When they caught a warder, they would put a bucket over his head and then they beat him up with sticks. He was unable to defend himself, so they just beat him to death. They were nuts, not afraid of anything. We lived there through a lot - hunger and misery. We spent year and a half there and we had about two months left to the release."

  • Celé nahrávky
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    Plzeň, 21.11.2003

    délka: 03:34:43
    nahrávka pořízena v rámci projektu Stories of 20th Century
Celé nahrávky jsou k dispozici pouze pro přihlášené uživatele.

„I slept. The snow underneath me melted in the morning and I saw a German soldier with his mouth wide open. I’m not afraid of dead bodies every since that.“

Jiřina Tvrdíková
Jiřina Tvrdíková

Retired major Mrs. Jiřina Tvrdíková was born in Severová, on May 15th, 1923 in the village of Tiachevo in Carpathian Ruthenia. Her father was a Czechoslovak police constable and her mom came from Carpathian Ruthenia. Jiřina Tvrdíková attended medical school, but she could not finish her studies due to the Hungarian occupation of the Carpathian Ruthenia. She helped the Jews to dig out the Hungarian shelters. She later followed her father’s wish and left for the Soviet Union, to finish her studies with five other students. Unfortunately, their group was captured by the Soviet border patrol and they were all imprisoned for one and a half years in the towns of Arzamas and in Ivanov. Being absent at the court hearing she was sentenced to three years of labor in Ukhta gulag. During this time, the Army of Colonel Svoboda was established.  Tvrdíková‘s whole group was transported to the town of Dzambul in Kazakhstan, where they worked in the local kolkhoz. Tvrdíková entered the Svoboda Army in 1942 by Buzuluk, where she underwent military training. She enlisted in the first aid battalion by the 1st. brigade and the 1st. troop led by the Engel´s couple. She participated in the liberation of Kiev and on the Carpatho - Dukla offensive battle. She was seriously injured in 1944 in the town of Liptovsky Mikulas after being shot in the spine right next to the spinal cord. She lived to see the end of the war at the Poprad Town Hospital. After the war, she was transported by helicopter to Prague. She finally demobilized in 1946.Due to her weak health condition she was only able to work in unexacting professions. She was employed as a saleswoman at a grocery store. She was forced to stay in the hospital often due to her war injuries (shrapnel in her body). She suffered from delusions caused by war trauma until 1955. Her brother John died during the Carpatho - Dukla battle has been called “Regiment child” when he was 15 years old. (He worked in the field kitchen). Jiřina Tvrdíková died on November 14th, 2010.