The persuasions of the Good Soldier Svejk
In 1951, Bibiana Wallnerová attempted to escape from communist Czechoslovakia to the free world with her parents and her sister Dorota. The escape ended when her young sister was killed on the borders with Austria. The border patrol took Bibiana and her parents to the guard house, where they stripped them of all valuables before escorting them to the Border Guard barracks in Château Malacky. She and her mother remained there for approximately two weeks. While there, she encountered one of the methods through which the interrogators attempted to pry information from the detainees – they baited her with a young guardsman. Seeing as he did not introduce himself, Bibiana gave him a name of her own. She called him Good Soldier Svejk, (a famous comic Czech fictional character – transl.). She recalled: “He was a spy who was supposed to get information from me. He would come to visit and would help out in some small ways. When I saw that he sympathised with us, I asked him for a towel, a toothbrush, and toothpaste. He procured that, at the expense of the state I guess.” Good Soldier Svejk visited her frequently and flattered her. Finally he suggested he could save some of their property: “You know, if I was to bring it to you, you'd have to tip me off to some really good bloke who I could pass it on to.” Although Bibiana refused to react to the suggestion, Good Soldier Svejk was persistent. He even came to her when he was on night duty: “Those were situations like from Romeo and Juliet. I – behind the bars in my white blouse, marked by the bars’ shadow, the moon shining. In front of the bars stood Good Soldier Svejk with his bayonet, entreating me to change my mind.” Bibiana refused, however, and Good Soldier Svejk came back no more. “It was not until then that I realised why he had stood out there so all those times, the purpose he had had. And that it hadn't been for my blue eyes,” she remembered.