And this, readers, is where the letter gets depressing. As I read it over again, I wonder where the writer of this letter, Lidka, received information about the Russians. As opposed to the information that she wrote about in the first part of the letter which she saw firsthand, the Russians didn’t come to her village, so she must have heard this information from the radio, letters, or word of mouth. It isn’t to say that what Lidka writes about is untrue, but I think that we must apply a layer of skepticism to a secondhand account.
Also, this part of the letter contains a lot of updates about people and their lives which gets a little confusing. Mixed in with who got married to who and how old their children are are some very interesting pieces of information that are worth reading. Don’t lose steam if the names get a little daunting!
On the other hand, places liberated by Red Army are not doing so well. It is sad that I have to write about it, but it’s true. They are stealing everything they can. People were hiding in the cellars for days, especially girls and women. They were raping them. They are very barbaric. They are robbing homes. They stole everything they could get their hands on from Slovakia and Bohemia. There is nothing left. They are acting very silly. Some of them are wearing twenty wristwatches, from their wrists to their elbows. When one of the watches stops, they throw it away, because they don’t know they have to wind them up. A few times, they brought a big chime clock to a watch master, and they told him to make them smaller wristwatches out of the big one. They are stealing water taps from homes. They are looking forward to sticking it in the wall, and they believe it’s going pour them water in their houses. They don’t even know what a toilet is for, they are washing in it. I can write about this only because the American soldier is going to mail this letter for us, otherwise, we cannot write about stuff like that, “they” don’t want the truth about Russians to be revealed in the world. They are dirty, unwashed, stinky men, what they want, they take it, no matter what, if you disagree or protest, they shoot, simply like that. People in Slovakia and Bohemia are saying, they are WORSE then Germans. We’d like to see them leave our country already, but it seems like they like it here, they don’t want to leave.
Now, I’m going to write something about our families. You already know about Karel. He is still sick. His leg his healing slowly. He had no skin on his leg, that’s why it’s taking so long to heal. Our Mana left her husband. She lives in a one-bedroom apartment. The boy is with her. He is nice. He attends an elementary school. Her husband has to pay her 800Kcs a month as a child support. She applied for a job in the factory, I hope she gets it. She is doing much better now, without him. Mother is going to stay at the hospoda (note: a hospoda is a Czech pub. This one must have living quarters attached) for now. It’s written under her name. It should belong to her anyway (because of some widower law). At least until Karel gets better. We’ll see, if he goes back to his old job in the office or he retires and take care of the hospoda. Anicka and her husband are still in Susice, I think they are going to move to Plzen soon. She’s supposed to get a job there. Their boys are studying in Plzen, they can save a bunch of money by moving there. My husband is still working as a bus driver. He got a chance to get a better job somewhere else, but we don’t want to leave Susice. We like it here. We have been living here for the last twenty years. He is going to be promoted next year. The guy who is above him right now is going to retire in a year. I’m in politics. Just like before the war. I didn’t want to do it anymore, but we are building new republic and we all have to work, otherwise there would be just one party, and that would be communists; we cannot let them to take over the republic. I’m a member of city hall, besides me there is another woman, she is a commy. I’m in a party National-socialist, that’s the party of our president Eduard Benes. Before he became a president, he used to be the leader of the National-socialists.
I’ve already written something about our girls in my last letter, and they are writing a letter on their own to your Lada. They are looking forward to getting a letter from him. And now a little something about the Kyznar family. Jindra’s been married for 3 years now. His wife is teacher. She is not very happy. As every teacher, she doesn’t want to work, she just acts posh. They bought new house. It is right next to the old one. It has three rooms and kitchen, a big yard and a garden. Aunt Kacenka likes it there a lot, especially the garden. Ota got married as well. He is a bank teller in Pisek. His wife is nice. Their newborn baby died after eight weeks. Lidka’s husband is teacher. Her boy is 6 years old. Something about Vlasta. Her husband is teacher as well. He is very nice. They have a girl. She is one year old. They live in Cukyne. They had to leave Vimperk six years ago because of Germans. They had to leave everything behind. They found a shelter in Cukyne. They are moving back to Vimperk now. Matilda is with them, she doesn’t look good, she is sick, she’s got stomach cancer. The Pilars have two children, the boy is 10 and the girl is 3 years old. There was an old store in the house and Franta rebuilt it into a little apartment; a kitchen with one bedroom where Pilar’s mother lives. He also built a new barn. They were doing fine during the war. Everybody with farm had a better life then the people in the cities, they had something to live off of. Mana was writing to Bozena some news about the Zikmunds. Yesterday we went to visit the Zikmund family. My husband drove us there. Aunt Pilar was there too, we missed her for minute. She was at Vasek’s place. We couldn’t stay for long. I wrote them a letter about Bozena’s newborn girl. She was crying when she got the news. She is so happy for Bozena, she’d like to see them once again. She is sending a lot of hugs and kisses to them. The Zikmund’s are going to move in Pucherak’s sawmill. Bozena knows it there. Pucherak is German, he has to leave the country so the Zikmund’s are going to take over.
Ok, now a little something about Zdikov’s families (note: Zdikov is a small town in Sumava, and the place that the recipient of this letter, Agnes, lived). Horejsova Emila was collaborating with the Germans during the war. Now she is in jail in Volyne. The Bauer’s house and all their belongings were forfeited. Honza Horejs died last year, cancer in the face. Their son was a Germans soldier. Nobody knows anything about him. We think he died in the war. Finally, God punished her for all the bad things she did to us during the war. Anda Valdrichu lost her husband. He died. She lives in Konopice close to Randak’s forest. She is retired. Bozena Havelka’s son was in a concentration camp for four years. Now he is back at home. Lojza died in a concentration camp in Terezin. Bozena lives alone, the old Havelkas are dead. Fuks is still alive. Tonka is taking care of him. Hadrava’s grandmother is alive too. All of the Novaks are dead–old Rosa, Roska, and even Novacek. The Harvariks are both dead. Their older daughter Anicka married a German; she was a big German fan during the war. I think she lives in Germany with him. I think Bozena is going to be more interested in this.
Cyril Degneru died, Tonda, Franta and everybody from Jirku are dead. Rataj is running his hospoda, he doesn’t work in city hall though. Pepik Buberle died. Chalupoj’s family runs a hospoda as well. They have a daughter. She married a teacher. Tonka Simkova and Adolf are very old and still hard working, but they don’t work for themselves, they work on somebody else, that is bad. They have nobody to live for now, when their Anka left them and went to the USA. Herman Zdekauer, his sister Marika and her kids died in a concentration camp. I don’t know what happened to their belongings. When the Germans took them away, they locked them up in a barn in Cukyne– all Jews were in that barn. Herman was crying and begging for some food, but they didn’t let anybody to bring them anything. All Vimperk’s Jews you knew and you used to go shopping with are dead. Zamecnikova Nany from Cukyne is dead. We went to her funeral two years ago. Pepicka got the house after her. She sold it at the beginning of the war. Then she regretted it. She let it go too cheap. She was going nuts all war because of that. Sieber died one week after Zamecnikova’s death. They had a house in Malenice. We got the obituary, we didn’t go to funeral though. Old Sieberova is still alive. Ela and Greta got married to Germans during the war. I think they are both locked up. I know nothing about Branc. Franta Pilar would know something. When we get together sometime in a year or two, we have so much to talk about. I left Zdikov 21 years ago. I don’t know anybody there anymore, the old ones are dead, and I don’t know any of the young ones.
I hope I’ve written something new, something you might be interested in. In your last letter, you asked me if we need some help or something. Well, we lost almost everything during the war. I know, you don’t live in luxury yourself, that’s why I don’t want to ask you for anything. We hope times will change for the better. I’d like to pack some dried mushrooms and a vase made of glass and send it to you. I have to ask the soldier if he could send it you. What we need the most is lard. Now, when the war is finally over, it is even worse. Everything we have goes to the Russians. We have to feed the complete Red Army. They have nothing, it’s not like the Americans.
Lidka from Pisek was here. She took your letter you sent us. She wants to read it to everybody in Kamence. Post services are improving fast. We can use airmail. All letters from the USA come to Susice by airmail. You wrote us that Jirik is getting married, don’t forget to send some pictures to our girls, they are really anxious to see an American wedding. We’ve already have five weddings in Susice where the bride is a Czech girl and the groom is American. Today there was one. The whole city is celebrating these weddings. But what’s going to happen when the soldiers leave, nobody knows. I’ve heard soldiers (husbands) are going home first and their wives have to wait for their visas here, or something like that.
We are looking forward to hearing from you asap, and write us something more about yourselves.
I just came across your blog. I’m an American living in Prague. My wife is from Susice, in fact she’s there just now with our little boy visiting her parents. I just linked to your blog from mine due to your post on Rumcajs, but I also just read your letters from the postwar period. The people really suffered, its difficult I think for us to imagine such fear and troubles as they had. And having lived here for ten years, I think I can say that the black misery still lurks in the psyche here. Anyway your letters sound fascinating and I wonder if they would be of interest to Czech readers. Anyway just a hello from Prague to you. My blog is here http://bikerbar.livejournal.com/