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Pictures from Norway Were Discovered in the Closet by Adult Daughters / The Story of František Vaňek from Jindřichův Hradec


František Vaněk (1914) worked in Kardašova Řečice in South Bohemia as a carpenter. He got a job to work in Nazi Germany as an older one. During our recent visit to Jindřichův Hradec, his daughter Jitka Ondráčková told how, as a child, she viewed her father's five albums of photos and views from Norway. She usually looked at them secretly when no one was at home.

His father did not tell his family about the hardships of the war, not even his son-in-law, who asked him about Norway. He always changed the topic. The same was repeated in the case of his wife, who was deployed in Nazi Germany. Only during the common family meals, sometimes were said that they cooked "terrible mashes" in the Nazi Germany. Jitka still remembers how dad scraped his plate to the last crumb and said that "during the war, it was important for every bite to survive."

He brought from Norway a dozen painted color pictures depicting breathtaking Norwegian nature, fjords and mountains. These pictures appeared hidden in the closet until his adult daughter. At that time, they were arranging their own house, so they had the pictures framed and exhibited them at home. It hangs on the walls to this day.

When asked why their parents did not tell them about the war experience, Jitka says: “It was probably not pleasant, so they did not want to talk about it. They wanted to forget it, push it out. ”

In the late age of her parents, various things were solved, but she never thought of asking her parents more about the war.

In the spring of 2021, she received a letter from our team sent to her father's old address, where the family cottage is now located. The request to provide materials for the research led Jitka to examine her father's estate in detail. She read her father's diary from Norway for the first time. She summed up its contents with the words: "Actually, he doesn't write anything terrible there. But it was probably not pleasant. He writes what they did, what they had to eat. Where they went, where they were in the camp. Maybe they didn't write the worse things in that diary. "

Jitka and her son Jan made the estate available to our team and showed us other artifacts - a shaving set (a razor) and daggers - that father brought from Norway and which they still use at home. She decided to transcribe the diary on a computer so that other family members could read it as well.

With the kind permission of the family, we publish here the photographic legacy and examples of the diary.

František Vaněk was deployed in central Norway in the Mosjøen area - first in the city, later working on the construction of a railway and as an auxiliary worker far from civilization in the forests. The images also show other places of deployment: Nesna, Nerlien and Hattfjelldal.

Photos comes from the family estate, Jindřichův Hradec.

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