Růžena Zouharová, roz.Vyhnálková

* 1928

  • “I don’t remember her name. It was when we had exercises at school and there was a girl and she was taller and me and more round and she was smiling at me. We started talking and she said she was from Bessarabia. And she took me to the hall where they all lived. They lured them to Bohemia with a promise that they would get the farms after the Czechs who had to leave, who were displaced or just left. So Germans came to settle the houses. So this is how they attracted them and when they came, they were placed in a gym, six families, four lived in each corner and two in the middle. They had a spinning wheel and sacks of wool and they were weaving it for sweaters, they all had very fine clothes and it was plain to see that they were all from well off families and they had beautiful photographs of the old farms which were taken by the Germans, the real Germans. That was hard even for them. And they were very disappointed with the way local Germans treated them, they looked at them with disdain. And before the end of the war we saw all those families from Bessarabia loading their wagons and leaving. It was a long line and we could see them from Polanka, that is the castle on the hill and then they came to the main square and they had cakes prepared and asked people to let them bake it somewhere.”

  • “Every Christmas, we could come to the castle, all the children whose parents worked at the grand farm could come and there was food prepared and we got some flannel clothes so then we looked like if we had uniforms. Those were fine clothes and warm. It ended in 1937, after Hitler, all those charities ended. And Kinský children had to attend normal schools and they were not allowed private teachers.”

  • “The Russians had bombes the city down on the last day, but there way no reason. The headmaster of the school came for his family, his daughter, mother and grandmother who had a candy shop. He came with German soldiers. Somebody sent a message to the partisans that the Germans had come back. And Russian bombers came and bombed the city down. But the German soldiers were already gone because they left immediately.”

  • “My brother worked with dynamite at the landmine and he stole it by little pieces and kept it to blow up bridges and rail tracks so that the Germans could not escape. I don’t know if there were any special missions. But I know that he was in a committee with the partisans and that they counted on him. And he also saved my mother from a concentration camp. There was a farmer called Dohnal and he wanted to my mother to go to a concentration camp because she had sent me to a German school. My brother told him to let my her be, that it was none of his business and that I stayed a Czech girl anyway. Sometimes it was really tense during the war… nowadays it’s normal but then it was really intense.”

  • “They had a garden with a greenhouse full of yellow roses. It was so beautiful. And the gardened shot himself after the war, he shot his wife as well. Those were completely useless deaths. He was in the NSDAP and he was always marching with his nose up in the air. And the mayor also shot himself, he was a hunchback. But they never hurt anybody.”

  • “The Count family didn’t want to leave to Austria where they had family and they were waiting until the very last moment. Then they loaded all the wagons with everything they could. They were on the way to Austria and of course the Red Army was after them and they came to Austria as beggars. And one of their servants who was very loyal gave them food and shelter. And then the countess took hold and started a fashion boutique with hats and the count was just sitting in the chair and looking nowhere. And then some of their relatives took care about them, because one of their sons had become a priest and the other one was working as a forester at some other relatives. And Mucki, the one which we envied that she could have a bath every day and ride a horse, she worked as a companion for some rich American lady. The only ones who had stayed were the butler and the porter which then, when I brought him a glass of lard, gave me three old rugs for my mother.”

  • “The last memory of her was when she called at me silently from the window to buy her a lollipop next door. She threw me fifty cents, so I bought the lollipop and threw it back to the window and her mother immediately dragged her inside so that the Germans wouldn’t spot her. That was in September 1938. I told myself that I could at least give her the lollipop, I didn’t understand at that time what was going on, that it was something so absurd. At home we didn’t talk about it. My father always came from work tired like a dog, he washed himself and went to bed and fell asleep. He got up early, at six the horses had to be ready, and it took two hours to feed the horses. At noon he always came for an hour or two to have a lunch. And then he went to feed the horses again. Everything was evolving around horses and cows.”

  • “We also had shorthand and typewriting, that was taught by Mr. Zogelman, but then he had to join the army, he had a bad stomach but they took everybody. Even my Father was called to join the army and when he came there, they told him: ‘Vyhnálek Johann Wie suchen sie da, sie sind doch Tschechen?‘ And my father said: ‘You bet I’m Czech.’ ‘So what are you doing here? Get out form where you came!’ So he came back home. It was really hard back then, my father was fifty three years old.”

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There were no racial tensions during the First Republic and the nations lived side by side without conflicts until Hitler came

737-portrait_former.jpg (historic)
Růžena Zouharová, roz.Vyhnálková

Růžena Zouharová, was born as Vyhnálková by the end of 1928 in Moravský Krumlov as the fourth and the last child of a coachman and a housemaid Jan Vyhnálek and Anna Vyhnálková, born as Watzinger. It was a nice example of a bilingual family with different national origins. As Germans, both Jan Vyhnálek‘s brothers were displaced to Austria after the war. From the mother‘s side, the Watzinger family was also divided by different attitudes. The family lived in the so called Distillery. In 1934 Růžena started attending a Czech school, which she attended until 1938. She didn‘t speak German, at home they spoke Czech only her parents sometimes spoke German. In September 1938, Moravský Krumlov became a part of the German Reich and the Czech school was closed. She would have to visit the Czech school in a nearby village, about an hour distance on foot. Her mother decided the Růžena would attend a German school. After finishing the school, she started working as a nanny in a Czech-German family. She witnessed the bombing of Moravský Krumlov, the arrival of the Red Army and the displacement of the Germans. She also speaks about the last count of Moravský Krumlov, count Kinský.