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Stara Lomnica


July 1999


The narrator grew up in the Czech Sudety and has fond memories of her life in this area before the war. Her family then moved to Mloty. After the war, she stayed and married a Pole but the rest of her family left for East Germany: “Oh Jesus! When they were packing up, going, how I cried!” As the only Czech who stayed in Mloty after the displacement, the narrator had little choice but to assimilate into Polish life. She “didn’t have any problems with anyone, they all liked me”. She adopted the Polish traditions of her husband: “we did everything the Polish way, the way they did in the east”. At first, she spoke to her children in both German and Polish, but “later, my late husband said ‘Don’t speak to them, other children will laugh at them at school, they will speak both languages at the same time and nobody will be able to understand them’. So I didn’t, but now I wish I had. There’s money in languages now. You travel in the world, you have to speak languages”. She does not regret staying though and considers herself to be Polish; “now I am a Pole”.

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Section 1-2  Born in Tryczków, in the Czech Sudety, where “there were a lot of Germans and Czechs”. Her family had a farm. Wasn’t educated beyond primary school. Left Tryczków for Mloty during the war. She stayed there until 1974, but had to leave “because of the power station … everybody got displaced”. However, the “investor” seems not to have carried out his plans for a power station.
Section 3  Remembers life in pre-war Tryczków: “there were no schools … it was nice, we would go to the forest, boys and girls, to plant young trees”. Remembers blueberry picking, Christmas, Easter celebrations etc.
Section 4-5  “Nothing happened during the war. It was after the war that things happened” – remembers how sad she was when her family was “chased away” to East Germany. Her mother “swore at Hitler”, at all the loss and death he had caused. More sadness and disruption when “the investor” forced her and husband to move to Lomnica in 1974: “Jesus, how I did not want to move”.
Section 6-7  Recalls how she had to have endless papers to prove she had no Jewish ancestry. Memories of the “beautiful” church fairs they used to have in the Czech Sudety, as well as aspects of post-war life.
Section 8-10  She considers herself to be a Pole now, but feels sad when she sees the ruined Czech church, “collapsed graves, headstones, plaques – all overturned”. Her village “no longer exists”. Regrets she gave up teaching her children German. But likes where she lives; “I feel I’m returning home”.