A Brave Young Woman & Her Bicycle

A Brave Young Woman & Her Bicycle

March is WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH when tribute is paid to the generations of women and their contributions to history, culture and society. One such woman is Charles’s sister Vlasta Jakubová (my sister-in-law). Vlasta was born in Ozdany, Slovakia in 1925 and died in Brno, Czech Republic in 2017. Like her brother, in her youth she bravely served in the Czech resistance during World War II and the Cold War against the Nazis and the Communists, risking her life for freedom. Vlasta was arrested for “treasonous” activity on August 6, 1949, and was given an 18-year prison sentence.

When I traveled to Prague in 2015, I visited an archive where Vlasta had deposited some of her family photos and documents related to the family’s in the Czech resistance. Many of these items were scanned and given to me by the archive staff. Last weekend I rediscovered the disk and located a photograph of Vlasta with her bicycle in Náměšť nad Oslavou, Czechoslovakia. Included was an image of a typewritten description on the back of the photo written by Vlasta. A translation is posted below.

“Náměšť nad Oslavou, sometime around 1943-1945. 

This picture is me on my bicycle, on which I was all this time while part of the resistance movement. I carried messages between various members around the whole Vysocina region. For example: In Velka Bites it was Fr. Robotka, brother of my uncle Josef; forest manager Mr. Sedlak in Kosikov; the mayor of Dukovany Mr. Okarec; farm owner Hasek – until his arrest. In Velke Mezirici Frantisek Zajicek who had a cover name Kamil, but he I had to reach by also taking a train in Studenec, on my way to school in Trebic. In Trebic I was contacting Major Korhblua.  

The most contact I had was with Lubos. We both connected/united our individual groups.

 I am mentioning my bicycle because it is a memorable/special bike. During the Protectorate there were not too many bicycles available for purchase, as they were hard to find and rare to see around. In Náměšť among all the girls I was the only one all the military or Wehrmacht could identify by my bike and a blue milk can I always had with me on the bicycle handles, which worked as an excuse or a distraction from being stopped and questioned. So this way, and without and incident, I was able to pass by them. They always uttered: “Oh, here Miss is going to pick up her milk again.. But one time they stopped me for real and took me to the Forest Management offices to question me. It was a close call that one time.”

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