Drawing an historical subject while capturing a touch of Mr. Hauzner's childhood adventures was a great challenge for me. I had the honor of meeting him in person and listening to his story with all the details, which helped me better visualize the historical elements and depict the atmosphere more authentically. Since I come from Belarus, it enriched me to be able to learn how the war affected other countries, especially the city of Plzeň, where I have been studying for four years. I chose digital painting as a technique. I was inspired by the style of old photographs and limited the color range of comics to white, gray and red-brown.
The Collector (p. 1–2) by Katsiaryna KarolikMemory of Nations
The Collector (p. 3–4) by Katsiaryna KarolikMemory of Nations
“When the Hitlergungend played and wore the flag, we had to stop playing, stand still and take off our hats. But sometimes we didn't do it while playing football and then their commander stoot on an elevated lawn by the Skoda housing in Dvorak street and he ordered the boys to go for us. They outnumbered us so of course we got a thrashing hiding. It wasn't so bad, though. And then we heard a whistle, they lined up, went to the park and we went on with playing football.”
The Collector (p. 5–6) by Katsiaryna KarolikMemory of Nations
The Collector (p. 7–8) by Katsiaryna KarolikMemory of Nations
The Collector (p. 9–10) by Katsiaryna KarolikMemory of Nations
Mr. Hauzner (* 1936) experienced all eleven air raids on Plzeň during the war.
“As a boy of about ten, while running for the shelter in those last air raids, my father was not at home, and I had a sister born in October ‘44. So, the first thing was that mother puffed at her, as they called it, and packed the most necessary things for her and we ran to the shelter, which had been built across the street in Škoda company houses that had good cellars and were quite high, so the cover was good enough. I ran and carried the hand luggage.”
Pavel Hauzner by Post BellumMemory of Nations
The arrival of the Americans marked a fascinating time of discovery for Mr. Hauzner. American soldiers were very friendly to children. Whoever came to their tent town always got something to eat and could see what a jeep or military canteen looked like close up.
American camp in Borsky park by Post BellumMemory of Nations
However, he probably experienced his greatest wonder on the day when he and his friends found out that the American soldiers had dug a large pit for unnecessary materials right next to the entrance to the camp. There, the nascent stamp collector discovered envelopes from letters.
“We were fascinated by the fact that those letters had stamps stuck to them depicting the same planes that were flying over us. We really liked the planes, because the stamps were in different colors according to their value.”
These stamps became the basis of his collection and led to Mr. Hauzner becoming a recognized legal expert in the field of philately.
The Collector (cover) by Katsiaryna KarolikMemory of Nations
Post Bellum, Katsiaryna Karolik, Kristýna Plíhalová
English translation: Rick Pinard