University of Oxford
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Memories of life in Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia

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posted on 2024-06-05, 18:14 authored by Their Finest Hour Project Team

My great-grandmother, Božena Jeřábková, was born and lived in Czechoslovakia (today the Czech Republic). She lost much of her youth to the Second World War and the Nazi occupation of her country. She shared her recollections of this period with us before she died in 2015 at the age of 89.

Before the war ended in 1945, Nazi soldiers escorting a column of Russian POWs briefly stopped in her village, located almost two hours east of Prague. The soldiers warned residents not to interact with the prisoners, but some gave them food and cigarettes regardless. However, my great-grandmother was noticed giving something to a POW by a German guard, who threatened her at gunpoint. Fortunately, the situation did not escalate further. Before the march continued, the POW gave her a ring as a token of his gratitude. His eventual fate is unknown to us. She kept the ring for many years, though we are unsure of its present whereabouts.

In September 1945, my great-grandparents relocated to a village in eastern Bohemia for my great-grandfather's work. My great-grandmother was pregnant with my grandmother at the time. She recalled how they slept with a loaded gun at their bedside due to either the rogue fascists or criminal partisans "” more commonly known as 'bandits' "” still at large in the surrounding countryside.


Person the story/items relate to

Božena Jeřábková

Person who shared the story/items

Mirek Gosney

Relationship between the subject of the story and its contributor

She was my great-grandmother.

Type of submission

Shared online via the Their Finest Hour project website.

Record ID