Věra Žahourková

* 1925  †︎ 2015

  • “Mrs. Commandant asked her whether she had a girl among her girls who could speak German and who could take little Manfred out in the pram if the weather was nice. That was something for me. When I was not in the reinigunskomando, when I was not doing the cleaning, Maruška told her about me. I was with Manfred. He had his cup of cocoa there, I drank it, and I only left him a little bit. He was crying, and I said: ´Mrs. Commandant!´ I was behind the corner, I could go there easily from our yard. Sometimes I had milk there or something. I said: ´Mrs. Commandant, he is crying.´ - ´And did he drink everything?´ - ´Yes, he drank everything and he looks like he is still hungry.´ And so she gave me keys and told me where milk was and so on. I was going there to eat her apricots. I thought, what if she finds out… Whenever I went there, I would open the rubber band and take one apricot and then close the box again. She had a shelf full of apricots there.”

  • “Kirchner was sitting behind a desk, there was a stenographer, too, and he asks me: ´What do you know about that paratrooper? You have not confessed about him!´ Originally, when he had asked several times before, at first I said that… because when Volfová returned from the first interrogation, she told me: Věra, we will be shot because of Franta. That was obvious, because there was capital punishment for contact with paratroopers and for not reporting them. And so I asked Kirchner: ´And what is this paratourist?´ That was for the first time when he shouted at me not to make an idiot of him and he hit me. ´I don’t want to beat you, but do not tell me that you do not know what a paratrooper is.´ He added: ´And you know him!´ - ´Mr. commissioner, how could some paratrooper get here when there are so many of you, so many soldiers.´ - ´You knew what your father was doing?!´ - ´What was he doing? He was acting in the amateur theatre, doing wrestling, and doing this and that.´ They wrote in their report: ´With the eyes of an innocent child.´ I had the nerves of steel; now when I look at how I looked before my arrest, I sure was a pretty girl.”

  • “Nothing will happen to you. Dress up properly, we will give you something more. Take the baskets and let’s go. I will write for you what you will be saying: This is Helga. Helga is disobedient and she does not study. Manfred is a good boy, he is still a toddler. But you (as if speaking to her husband), sir, you chase women in Litoměřice. You come home drunk. He had blonde hair and a sharp-looking face. I was masked with cotton wool and I had high-heeled shoes so that I would be higher than the girls. I was short, and so I borrowed court shoes from one of the girls. But my skirt reached all the way to the ground. I thought that she was still staring at me. I thus read it from the paper and ´children, so this is for you, but Helga, you need to study, do you promise?´ - ´Yes,´ she replied in German. She told him (her husband) that we were women from Litoměřice. I declared: ´Devil, do your duty! Chastize this Mr. Schmidt here!´ Anička was scared. ´Don’t be crazy, I cannot do that.´ I said: ´Oh yes, yes, you can.´ She pushed him toward the door and I thought, nothing will happen to us since he thinks we are the women from Litoměřice. She turned the light off, I knew where he was and I hit him with the upturned basket. The basket fell down, of course. He shouted (at his wife Mrs. Schmidt) to open the door. She led us away and she asked: ´What can I do for you now? Let him stay where he is, he does not have keys, he will not get inside. So what do you want me to do?´ I said: ´Mrs. Commandant, if you could please talk to Mr. Commandant Malloth and ask him if he would give us the letters. We have not received a single letter in two months.”

  • “All of a sudden he asks: ´What do you know about the paratrooper?´ I saw him as he was sitting and he motioned with his hand downward and somebody walked out from the other room, I didn’t know who it was, and he left the door open and I was sitting on the opposite side of the room, and there was Franta right in front of me, with his back turned against me. I thought, this is Franta. I recognized his winter coat, his striped shirt and the design of his hat, and they said: ´We got him.´ I said: ´How could he be here?´ They insisted: ´You will confess that he was coming to you house! That you know him!´ I said: ´I have nothing to confess, Mr. commissioner, I really have not.´ He believed it. I thought it was just pure luck. He probably rang the bell again and our warden came and he ordered: ´Take Vacková away.´ Then they wrote a report. He wrote that I knew what my father had been doing. I told him: ´I will not sign this for you, Mr. commissioner.´ Dřevo then came and brought a photo album and Franta’s photograph and he asked again, because my mom was being interrogated at the same time, but I didn’t know this. She was interrogated by this Dřevo, a Czech man. He asked the other man in German: ´Did you learn anything from that old woman?´ Mom was fifty years old. Dřevo answered: ´She is so dumb she doesn’t even know when she was born.´”

  • “There were three doctors, there are documents from doctor Saidler, for example, and it was him who gave me a little slip of paper from the joinery shop, and it said that they knew about me, that I was from the South Bohemian resistance movement, and that they would need my help. That if I was willing to help, all I had to do was to nod my head. In the morning we were taking blankets out to get them rid of fleas. In the women’s yard there were piles of planks and we were supposed to clean the blankets in that place. This was where Mrs. Commandant Schmidt had her office. I was curious. One day, when the window of the joinery shop opened, I saw a little lane, and so I quickly peeked in. Two days later I was already looking inside. They had one glass pane cut out there, and he was signaling to me to come closer and he handed me a slip of paper and I concealed it in my pocket. I went out again. I knew that it was playing with life and death, because there were signs posted everywhere that this was punishable by death. I thought that I would snuff it anyway, that they would shoot me somewhere, I didn’t know where I would end… I haven’t said anything to mom, of course, the poor mom was scared all the time. And so I agreed, and they told me to come when they needed to get hold of something or to bring something to docent Krajina. It was organized within the so-called reinigungskomando, which had access to Jöckel’s rooms when they were going to clean them, then there was Schmidt’s office, and offices of Wachhold and Malloth. And I was going there with the cleaning team two or three times a week. They also wanted information from the screening room, they wanted me to get to the SS cinema. In the screening room there was a little window and I was told that I would find Mr. Krajina there, that he was wearing blue working trousers and a jacket.”

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    Votice, 15.06.2008

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I thought that I would just snuff it anyway, they would shoot me somewhere

  Věra Žahourková (née Věra Vacková ) was born on March 18, 1925 in Tábor. She and her siblings grew up in the family of former legionnaire Jaroslav Vacek. After the outbreak of World War Two, their father joined the resistance organization Obrana Národa (Defence of Nation). Together with the Volf family, they were helping paratrooper František Pospíšil and thus being in touch with other resistance fighters. Věra served as a messenger during these meetings. However, their illegal activity became known and the resistance fighters were gradually arrested. The entire Vacek family was sent to prison awaiting trial. Věra experienced several interrogation sessions, which were focused mainly on František Pospíšil and her father‘s activity, but she did not give any information. After several months of internment by the Gestapo in Tábor, she and her mother were transported to the Small Fortress in Terezín. In Terezín she became involved in illegal activity again: she was helping to deliver encrypted letters to Vladimír Krajina, an important member of the resistance movement. In January 1944 she was transported to the concentration camp Ravensbrück where she worked in an underground factory. She left Ravensbrück in a death march at the end of April 1945 and she and her mother were subsequently liberated by the Red Army. She returned to her native region after the war. In spite of her advanced age, Mrs. Věra Žahourková died on June the 13.th, 2015