Cyril Evans

* 1956

  • "I made a google search on January last year, 2021. And instead of putting in the usual Münchengrätz, I put Bukovina, Kláštěr and ´mlýny´ in my search. And then this magazine came up. All in Czech, obviously. I couldn´t read it, but I did see it said ´mlýny´. I went through it, started looking, couldn´t read it. And there was an article there about mills in the area. And all of a sudden, I found exactly the same photo as my father had in his album, the mill and the villa next to the mill in the snow. And then I thought, yes, that is a definite connection. I got in touch with the editor of the magazine, Michala. She wanted to know more details about the time and the area he escaped to, who looked after him. And also, my father´s story which my uncle has written. She than got Jiri involved in it and they reconnected all families and they have arranged these last few days, bringing the families together. There was a presentation yesterday in the town hall with the mayor and quite a few other dignities of Mnichovo Hradiště."

  • "I don´t know how long he was in the cinema but definitely in the Ruta mill he was between February and May 1945. He was well looked after and a great risk to the family. One time a group of Germans came looking after escaped prisoners of war, they came to the house and my father was sitting at the table. They had pretended he was deaf and dumb and working in the mill. And the way Josef Ruta managed to get rid of the Germans was to offer the officer some fresh eggs. The German officer took the fresh eggs and they went. But the risk they went through was incredible, which is why I´ve spent so long trying to find both Ruta and Pravda family to thank them. Thanking isn´t enough, it can never be enough. But it has been an incredible few days now, being able to meet with the descendants of both families and going to the graves of the original Ruta family and the Pravda. I´ve been able to pay my respects that way."

  • "I know the story that they were going up to the farmhouses listening by the door. Obviously during the time in the captivity with the Germans they had learnt some German words. So they went by the doors to see whether the families were German or Czech, Czechoslovakian. They went to one door, I assume it was Josef Ruta´s door, but I am not 100% certain. They knocked at the door, they thought it was Czechoslovakian people in there. The person came to the door and could not understand them. They didn´t know what to do really. But Eric, the British sailor, had a tatoo on his arm of the Union Jack, the UK flag. He lifted his shirt and showed that they were British. And they called them in to the house and hid them and got other people involved in the hiding and everything. It was a risk. Also for my father and Eric, they didn´t know where they were, some Czechoslovakian people were kind of on the German side. But they were lucky that they found this amazing, kind, brave people."

  • Celé nahrávky
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    Praha, 22.05.2022

    délka: 01:15:43
    nahrávka pořízena v rámci projektu Stories of the 20th Century TV
Celé nahrávky jsou k dispozici pouze pro přihlášené uživatele.

My father escaped death march and was lucky that he found these kind, brave people in Mnichovo Hradiště.

Cyril Evans, Prague, 2022
Cyril Evans, Prague, 2022
zdroj: Natáčení

Cyril Evans was born in Wales eleven years after the end of WWII. His father was Robert Evans, British soldier, who fell into German captivity in 1940. He spent almost five years in Stalag prisoner camps on the territory of today´s Poland. In January 1945, when he was in the last of them, Lamsdorf, the camp inmates were forced to join a death march across the borders towards the Czech lands. After having marched for a month, Robert Evans managed to escape. He found help and refuge in Mnichovo Hradiště and its vicinity. He was hiding in the community hall of the Sokol movement with the help of family Pravda, for the next three months he took cover in the mill of Josef Ruta. After the war, he returned to Wales and kept exchanging letters with both families until the Communists took over in 1948. From this moment, contacts were broken. It took until 2021 that his son Cyril found out, where exactly his father was hiding. With the assistance of local journalists and historians, he identified the descendants of both families. Subsequently he visited Mnichovo Hradiště, met the descendants and paid tribute at the graves of those, who saved the life of his father and other prisoner refugees.