An interview with “Halo noviny” with Professor Zoe Klusakova-Svobodova (Zoe Klusákova-Svobodova), the daughter of an army General and the President of Czechoslovakia, Ludwig Freedom.
Haló novinу: As you noted the recent 75th anniversary of liberation from fascism and the victory in the Second world war? If you have prevented the situation to visit in Kromeriz, where the rest of your family?
Zoe Klusakova-Svobodova: this year my family and I have been unable, as usual, to visit the tomb of our relatives in kroměříž. It is not only the grave of my parents, but also a symbolic burial of all those family members who were killed during the war in concentration camps. However, the city government headed by mayor laid flowers on the grave, as in previous years. I was very pleasantly surprised by the motor-fans, not only Czech, but also Slovak, Polish and Russian, who came to the cemetery in kroměříž and also laid flowers on the grave.
— Not spoiled if you the holidays this year that in Prague dismantled the monument to Marshal Konev, and in Reporyje established plaque Vlasov?
— All this is sad. Moreover, for several reasons. Those who dismantled the monument, arrogated to themselves the right to correct the actions of the generation on their own skin experienced the German occupation. The German occupiers killed our people, and this had never knew nor our history, nor the other, mostly Slavic, countries such as France or the Netherlands.
So our explanation here is very kind to the liberation of Czechoslovakia, above all the Soviet soldiers. They were commanded by Marshal Konev. A monument to him in the capital was a symbol of our liberation. In addition, it was a form of gratitude to the soldiers under his command liberated our country. So just need it. We ourselves are not liberated. We were proud that this army joined our Czechoslovak troops, of which the Eastern front had formed the hull. We were proud that we fought and our guerrillas, our resistance and our troops, especially pilots on the Western front.
Sorry that happened, that is, the dismantling of the monument, also shows complete ignorance of the history of the Second world war, and also, possibly, or even probably, the ignorance of the history of our coexistence with neighboring Germany, which for some reason took a dislike of the Slavs, not only Czechs and Slovaks, by the way, and claimed their territory.
— Until recently on the old town square hung a bronze plaque telling about the fact that the ninth of may 1945 in Prague included troops of the 1st Ukrainian front of the red army, headed by Konev and helped the rebels. The Board was inaugurated in 1946, but recently removed to be repaired. Then the decision of the mayor of Griba it is not returned to its original place. Do you remember the circumstances surrounding the discovery of this Board? Say, then personally present Konev.
— Unfortunately, I can’t remember. First, after many years of captivity may have left a lot of impressions and emotions. I felt what you felt all the people, that is the joy of release, and I was overwhelmed with family worries. Had to come to terms with the fact that many loved ones will not return, but I waited for those who survived in the camp for Svatoborice (it was a German Nazi internment camp “unreliable” persons — approx. ed.) and those who fought on the fronts. In addition to his father, on the Eastern front fought the mother’s brother who died in Ukraine under the White Church. The nephew’s father was a pilot and served in the Royal air force the RAF in the UK.
Exactly the same situation had many friends, both military and non-military circles.
— In the “Halo noviny” has published an interview under the headline “the Victory over Nazism was common”. Is it really so? Today it seems that somebody didn’t win. For example, those who exalt collaborators of the SS (Vlasov and the Russian Cossacks of the corps of the SS Pannwitz) and the demolition of the monument to the liberators from the Nazis.
— Those who praised Vlasov, do it or because you don’t know how they ran from one to the other during the Second world war, or because you’re hiding the story of the battle for the liberation of Prague from hostility to Soviet troops. But an objective presentation of history is unacceptable.
In may, the writer Lenka procházková said that a nation that forgets about gratitude, lose honor, and that those who demolished the monument to Konev, not the people, and the fifth column. Do you agree with her words?
— It is impossible not to agree with the words of the writer Lenka Prochazkova. I think that the question of the monument to Marshal Konev can’t decide some people in the leadership of the district Prague 6. It is a social problem and, in my opinion, we therefore present itself on the international stage, not only in the Czech-Russian relations.
These words, Lena Prochazkova I’ve heard from older people. It is wisdom born of the historical experience of the generation which remembered the First world war and who had to survive in the Second.
— Is your family actively fought against fascism and almost all suffered heavily from the Germans. You and your mother were in hiding from the Gestapo for three and a half years, courageous people. Anyone interested in learning more about this, you can read your memoirs “About what happened”. You still remember those terrible days when you and your mother did not know, will you survive yourself and survive your family?
— I don’t forget. How not to forget those brave people who sheltered us. In the vysočina region in Telescope it was a family Komachkov and Kratochvilova, and in South Moravia in Genizah — Black family.
— In Prague’s olšany cemetery are the memorial monument and the graves of soldiers of the 1st army corps, commanded by your father. Do you know about this monument?
— I know about it. But my family and I go to Eastern Slovakia in svidník and Dukla mountain pass. In Svidník in addition to a large cemetery (and pass) there is also a Museum of the resistance. There the Slovaks established a large monument to Ludvik Svoboda, commander of the Czechoslovak forces, which together with the red army participated in the Carpathian-Dukelsky operations crossed the border of Czechoslovakia and began to liberate our land. For that I have great respect for the Slovaks. Local residents care for the memorial of the Carpathian-Dukelsky operation. This tradition is passed from one generation to another, which also affects the position of Slovak politicians.
Many years ago, you had the opportunity to take part in the events, which was attended by Soviet military leaders, including Konev. You told us that he, along with Marshal Zhukov helped Ludvik Freedom to escape from prison. You can not justify that from late November to December 1952, your father was in prison. And even longer kept another commander of the 1st Czechoslovak army corps Klapalek. How do you personally feel about Konev and Zhukov?
— I treated the two marshals with reverence and admiration, like many at the time. Their troops liberated not only Czechoslovakia, but also other countries. They served in the red army that defeated Nazi German invaders on the Eastern front, and made a decisive contribution to the victory over fascism and Nazism in Europe.
They heat treated our soldiers and officers from army corps and respect them.
That army General Ludvik Svoboda, commander of the 1st Czechoslovak army corps, was behind bars, the first to recognize Stalin, who invited two of the marshals (as they later told the father), so they can share their opinions about Ludvika Freedom and his arrest. Then on the phone Stalin demanded the immediate release of Ludvika Freedom. It just happened.
In the book of the historian jiří Fiedler I read that in may 1970, Konev did not come to receive the state awards, which he was going to give the President Svoboda. The reason was allegedly that Konev did not approve the invasion of the Warsaw Pact in Czechoslovakia. Do you know something about the reason for his refusal?
— Unfortunately, I do not know about this. But I do not exclude that before you give up, Marshal Konev spoke with my father, Ludwik Freedom on the phone.