Slávka Altmannová

Portrait of Slavka Altamova

Slávka Altmanová was born on 8 August 1923 in Volhynia. She witnessed the Soviet invasion in 1939 as well as the German invasion in 1941. In 1944, she joined the Czechoslovak 1st Army Corps as a radio operator and signaller and fought against Nazi Germany alongside the Red Army.

Slávka Altmanová (née Ficková), was born on 8 August 1923 in the village of Semiduby in Polish Volhynia, (now Ukraine). Her native village was one of many traditionally Czech settlements in this region.

Slávka witnessed the terrible events of the Second World War. In 1939 Eastern Poland was invaded by the Soviet Union. Slávka’s family was temporarily displaced and several of her neighbours were deported to Siberia. In 1941, she witnessed the German invasion of Volhynia which was followed by the destruction of several villages and the annihilation of the Jewish population.

In 1944 the tide of the war had turned. The German invasion of the Soviet Union had failed and the Red Army once again entered Poland. When it reached Volhynia, Slávka joined the Czechoslovak 1st Army Corps as a radio operator and signaller. Unlike in the armies of the Western Allies, women were allowed to serve in frontline units in the Red Army and Slávka fought in several major battles including the crucial Carpatho-Dukla operation on the Polish-Slovak border. She faced danger many times and saw many of her friends die, but she herself remained unscathed and participated in the triumphant arrival of the Army Corps in Prague.

After the war, Slávka settled down in Czechoslovakia. She was given a house that had belonged to the local German population, which had now been expelled. She started working as a dental nurse and after marrying in 1952, she moved to Pilsen, where she lives to this day. Because of her war experience, she had to fight both physical and mental health problems.

Slavka with her sister in 1926. © / private archive of Slávka Altmannová
Slavka with her father in 1936. © / private archive of Slávka Altmannová
Current picture of Slavka. © / private archive of Slávka Altmannová