All of the above also affected the Czech aristocratic family Bubny of Litice, whose descendant was Nicholas of Bubna-Litice (sometimes also written as Nicholas Bubna of Litice), born on June 14, 1897 on the family estate in Doudleby nad Orlicí. “I have always suffered under this policy,” he wrote in a letter written in German on October 7, 1938 to his friend Hedvice Kurzová. “I have never been Czech, but I am a Czech nobleman and nothing in the world can tear me away from it.”
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He spent the years of the First Republic as a hunter and forester, although the Doudleby district was also divided on the basis of land reform. He saw the Munich Agreement, which forced the Czechoslovak Republic to cede much of its border to Hitler’s Germany, as extremely unfortunate, and Kurzová wrote that he was very sad about this development.
A year later, when there was already a protectorate in the territory of the former Bohemia and Moravia for half a year and Slovakia became a fascist puppet state, together with 84 other representatives of the former aristocratic families, he decided to express loyalty to the Czech nation and Czech statehood.
To the protectorate government
The turning point came at the beginning of 1940. From April of the previous year, the second protectorate government “ruled” the Czechoslovak pre-war general Alois Eliáš. He was also one of the commanders of the central military resistance organization Defense of the Nation. The first protectorate minister of agriculture, Ladislav Feierabend, who worked in the central “civilian” resistance organization, Political Headquarters, also worked for the resistance. However, the Gestapo got his illegal activities on track, so in January 1940 he had to flee to the West with Elijah’s knowledge and consent. He succeeded in dramatic circumstances, among other things thanks to disguised as heaters on the locomotive in which he crossed the border.
“Remember, we are sacrificed people and we must have the courage to take note. ‘Wait to swear allegiance to Hitler and deny and perhaps curse foreign resistance in our speeches, but not in our hearts. Today, it is difficult to say what the Germans will ask of us. It’s up to you to explain it properly in London and Paris. At the same time, tell them that they do not need to take any care of us. Let them do what they deem useful and necessary for our liberation, no matter what the consequences will be for us.
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After Feierabend’s departure, he needed to fill his vacant position, and despite the risk, he insisted that another Minister of Agriculture must also be a reliable Czech. The choice fell on Mikuláš of Bubno-Litice, because as a member of the pre-war nobility he had a better chance that the Germans would respect him. The aristocracy also represented a certain elite for the Nazis, and the Nazi chiefs liked to see each other in its company. In addition, Elijah promised himself from Bubna-Litice that he, as a nobleman, could deal with the then imperial protector Konstantin von Neurath.
“At that time, there was a general opinion about Bubn that, as a nobleman, he would build a positive relationship with the so-called protector Neurath, also a nobleman, which could be beneficial to the whole Czech cause,” agrarian politician Josef Nebeský described it after the war. He added that Bubna tried to do so, but his activity was wasted mainly because Neurath himself did not actually decide on anything and the protectorate was led by Secretary of State KH Frank instead.
After Heydrich’s arrival
In September 1941, Reinhard Heydrich came to Prague as the deputy imperial protector, who had Elijah arrested on the day of his arrival. In this situation, Drum tried to push for the abdication of the entire protectorate government, but the vote ended in a draw: four members of the government, including Drum, were for, four against. Protectorate President Emil Hácha also decided to remain in office, fearing for the fate of his other and Eliáš’s close associates, specifically lawyer Jiří Havelka. The Germans also arrested him and, like Elijah, he was threatened with the death penalty, but unlike Elijah, Hách still managed to claim him.
Arrests also began at the Ministry of Agriculture. The Gestapo took Bubnov’s collaborators Otokar Frankenberger, Jan Pedál and Ludvík Vaňek and had Frankenbergr and Vaňek executed through Bubna’s personal intervention with Heydrich; only the Pedal was conditionally released.
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The indignant Czech nobleman then resigned Hách. At the same time, Heydrich himself took office, appointing Jaroslav Krejčí to head the protectorate government and, despite Hách’s initial resistance, promoting a number of his people, including Emanuel Moravec, to the post of Minister of Education. The drum was replaced at the head of the Ministry of Agriculture in January 1942 by Adolf Hrubý.
“It is indisputable that Bubna was known during his tenure in the protectorate government for his intransigence and fearless attitude towards the German occupiers and purely Czech thinking. According to Hubert Masařík, Eliáš’s close collaborator, there was confidence in the Drum in all situations where it was necessary to speak out against the Nazis… He proved to be a staunch anti-Nazi and a good Czech who performed his office conscientiously and honestly, as Hubert Masařík stated , “Wrote historian Dita Jelínková from the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes in the publication Mikuláš Bubna from Litice and his role in protectorate politics.
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According to Masařík Bubn, he knew about Eliáš’s and Havel’s connection with the exile, but it is not demonstrable that he himself was actively involved in their resistance activities. After the war, Bubna himself mentioned only that, according to the instructions of the resistance, he moved some supplies to industrial areas, which he secretly removed from German records so that they would be available if necessary.
After the assassination of Heydrich, Bubna was arrested during the ensuing bloody German retaliation on June 1, 1942 and interrogated for three hours, but the Gestapo eventually released him because he apparently evaluated him as insignificant. In this sense, he was happier than Elijah, who was executed on June 19, 1942 at a shooting range in Prague-Kobylisy. Drum spent the rest of the war in seclusion on his native farm.
Shortly after the end of the war, on May 14, 1945, Bubna, like many other protectorate ministers, was arrested and spent 14 months without trial in the Prague Pankrác Remand Prison.
During this time he was investigated on suspicion of collaboration on the basis of a so-called large retribution decree, but because he handed over his office to Alois Hrubý in January 1942, his case did not go to court – those members of the protectorate government who held their positions from 1942 to 1945. Thirty people testified in his favor, including the widow of General Eliáš, Jaroslava Eliášová, who stated that Bubna behaved fearlessly, supported her husband in his illegal activities, and after his arrest he urged the abdication of Hácha and the entire government. She also added that Elijah fully trusted Drum.
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Based on these testimonies, Bubna was cleared of suspicion in February 1947 and the criminal proceedings against him were stopped. Unfortunately, his wife died shortly before.
After the February coup in 1948, he decided to leave his homeland. In October of the same year, therefore, he left with his already grown son Adam under the pretext of hunting in Moravia and crossed the border into Austria. Drum’s daughter Eleonora, newly married to forest engineer Petr Dujka (she married him at the age of nineteen in May 1948), finally decided to stay in Czechoslovakia.
“My husband blamed me a lot. He wanted to leave, maybe he was right. We have even been to Austria once, we crossed the border on foot, it was still possible in nature at that time. But I wanted it back. The husband then helped Dad and brother Adam to cross the border. I’ve never seen Daddy before. He lived in Austria, and when he died in 1954, they didn’t even let me go to the funeral, “she recalled in 2016 for Dotyk magazine. She only met her brother after 35 years.
After going into exile, Mikuláš Bubna-Litic lived in Vienna, while in Czechoslovakia he was prosecuted for the crime of illegal crossing of the Czechoslovak border. The investigative file described him as “a landowner from the company of the leading capitalists and burghers of the First Republic, whose relationship to the current people’s democratic establishment was extremely negative.” The family seat in Doudleby was nationalized after February 1948. It was returned to the family only after November 1989.