“On 12 December 1942 the Gestapo came to pick me up from school. It was a Saturday, and I was ready to go to the theatre in the evening, I was dressed up for it, and what I did is that it happened that the headmaster came to me with two Gestapo officers, who’d come for me, and they took me to their headquarters, which was at Fifejdy, and I understood that I had to behave well. But they got at me with the sign they had on the door - our greeting is Heil Hitler - so when I went in I said ‘good day’ and got such a whack to the face that it broke my jaw.”
“I didn’t want to admit to anything, I was the youngest of the organisation, which was built up in threes, where only one of the group of three people knew about another group, again with three people, and that was classic responsibility for the people there, so that it wouldn’t all go to ruins at once.”
“So I would visit her, and one time she asked me to make some maps, which we’d stolen from the municipal office in Ostrava, and some maps which would show where it was okay to bomb and where it wasn’t. We Scouts were ready for everything, but she had a fever, so I told her I’d do it for her, and I handed them in, and then I had a contact.”
I tried to form the children into strong characters who’d stand by their beliefs. So they’d see evil as evil and good as good
Dobromila Vaňková was born on 5 January 1925 in Háj near Opava. When the Sudetes were annexed by the Nazis, her family encouraged her to leave her native village - she ended up in a refugee camp for displaced Czechs in Ostrava. While attending grammar school in Ostrava, she took part in illegal activities organised by Scouts. In 1942 she was arrested by the Gestapo and subjected to brutal interrogations, during which her jaw was broken. She spent two years in prison in Ostrava and in Wrocław, where she suffered from diphtheria. In 1944 she was cleared of her charges by a court and released. In 1945 she helped identify executed members of the Boy Scouts troop of Vláďa Čermák. In the post-war years she studied teaching and psychology and worked at the Research Institute of Pedagogics in Bratislava; she led a children‘s home in Bratislava for a number of years. In 1948 she was arrested by State Security. She has been active in Scouting her whole life.