“GRANDMA HAD A STRONG WILL TO LIVE AND A POSITIVE ATTITUDE TOWARDS THE WORLD.”
Míla Kalibová was deported to Ravensbrück at the age of nineteen together with her mother Anna, her younger sister Jaroslava and 193 other women from Lidice. This village was chosen by the Gestapo as a place of revenge by the Nazi regime for the assassination of Reich Protector Reinhard Heydrich, which had been successfully carried out by the Czechoslovak resistance fighters Gabčík and Kubiš. The male inhabitants of the village were shot on the spot and some children were selected for Germanization, but most were murdered. The village was plundered, burned and razed to the ground.
All three of the Suchánková women survived three years in Ravensbrück. On 28 April 1945, they set out with others on the death march. They walked in the wild conditions of the war that was coming to an end, slept wherever possible, lived off whatever they could find and walked about thirty kilometres a day. They later formed a national group with male prisoners from Sachsenhausen. Eventually they reached Neu Brandenburg. On 1 June they returned to Czechoslovakia. As they crossed the border at Cínovec, they were greeted by soldiers who had tears running down their cheeks as they chanted the national anthem. It was there that the Lidice women learned of the fate of their loved ones and the village that had been destroyed.
My grandmother was a very clever, modest and energetic woman. Until her old age she worked in her garden and around the house, she was interested in world events, she did exercises and enjoyed spending time in the sun and the fresh air. She was very disciplined in everything she did. I felt that she took life as it was, with pleasure. She is an inspiration to me.
I think Ravensbrück was a place that affected her for life. She survived three years in terrible conditions and with no freedom. She found friends there from other countries. After the war she returned home where there was nothing. Although she would have liked to have gone to university, she started work a week after returning home. She had to support her mother and younger sister. Later she became a member of the International Ravensbrück Committee and was actively involved in keeping the memory of the story of Lidice alive.
Miroslava Kalibová’s granddaughter