Hana Bicencová

* 1938  

  • “My parents were taken away, we didn't know where, how long, what was next. Before my parents were told they were going away, the agricultural cooperative chairman and his associates came. Mr. Zbudil was the chairman at the time, and he said in the door: 'So we're going for the cattle.' They took all the animals to the cooperative, put the hens into the bags, they supposedly smothered, well it was October and they just took everything. Our house was locked and I was with my grandmother. During the week, Dr. Němcová, a social worker from Třeboň, came to take me to the nursing home, saying that my grandmother, my dad's mother, who was just wonderful, and I still remember her, she would apparently not raise me well in a socialist spirit. She would certainly not educate me in a socialist spirit, certainly not, nor anyone else. And so I got to Vodňany. It was quite a shock to me because I didn't know about these institutions, we lived just fine.”

  • “I remember that we were in Prague on a cultural trip from fishermens club, it was for the whole day. In the morning we took the bus, all day we were enjoying our hobbies and in the evening we had tickets for vaudeville. It was in a passage, I don't know exactly where.” “Was it at the weekend?” “No, I think it was Friday. Just before the culmination of that revolution. And I was with my husband at the grocery house opposite the statue of St. Wenceslas leaning sideways against the wall of the grocery house. A crowd of people went up from Můstek, as I see it today, a crowd of people approaching from the Bridge. Above the statue of St. Wenceslas a row of white helmets, the cops with batons in their hands were standing in that row, we were stuck with our backs at the wall and we did not know what was going to happen. We didn't know about the various protests, that they sprayed them with water and alike, when it was Palach's week and so on. We did not know the details about it, it was not on the public news. So we saw the crowd approaching up, those white helmets running down against them. It was cruel. Terrible disappointment for us. Of course, there was no program in the evening and then we went home when we met. Everyone had a heart in their throats because seeing it with their own eyes was something terrible we didn't know that from television, we didn't know that this was happening.”

  • “When we wrote the stories of the daughters of political prisoners in the 1950s and engineer Zuzana Vittvarová asked me, 'Hanička, tell me, what was the most difficult thing for you at the time?' So I went through many terms and situations. And finally I came to the fact that the worst was losing home. Losing home is terrible. Later, when I was in disability, I created our family tree. Our family was there three hundred years back, the family was rooted there. Relationship to the past, it was grown in the family, from grandpa to son and children. We all had to get involved in work. It was just that.”

  • “Sometimes I got permission to visit. It was very traumatizing because I went from Prague to Dolní Žďár at 7:30 pm. We got there at about four o'clock in the morning, and these were always the relatives who used to visit family members. And I remember there was such a wooden elongated shack. A bus with the prisoners arrived. Then they called us in, not that we were sitting at the table inside. There was a wall, wooden at the bottom, glass at the top, with a hole of about 20 cm in diameter at the height of the mouth. That way we could talk. I usually had tears in my eyes. We couldn't even touch our hands. Dad said, 'Learn, be good, obey.' What else could he tell me? There was a guard, a dog, a guard, a dog, a prisoner, a guard, a dog, a prisoner, always about five, six in the line. I can´t recall it anymore today. And it took a quarter of an hour. And the end of visits. We changed again and we could go home. We moved again and took a train back. Though we saw each other, the trauma was heavy, way too heavy. And my brother was young, and if you think there were 15 years ahead of him, not in sight at that time. And then I remember it was October 28th, the proclamation of the Republic, and we were patriotically brought up from home. My brother then said that him or one of his friends had painted a Czechoslovak flag and put it on the wall, and Jenda was punished for that to go to Leopoldov. That was such a fortress that I know from later documents. We were never allowed to see him, never, we had never been to Leopold all year long. It was only when he returned to Jáchymov from the punishment that he returned to the uranium works.”

  • “It was Thursday, May 12, 1960, and my brother returned from Jáchymov for parole. It was joyful and sad too; a difficult time. Because my dad, he hated the communists, hated them and criticized them. I remember that my father and brother Jenda were sitting on a bench in the garden, certainly discussing Jáchymov, the two of them together, all the years they had lived there, the people they met and knew there, and there were various wonderful personalities. Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday there was a pilgrimage in Stříbřec; there is a church dedicated to St. John of Nepomuk. I was in a high degree of pregnancy, I was expecting Eva and I was in church with my dad. My mother was at home, she was cooking, daughter Hanička was at home and there was also my sister with her family. It was a festive fair day. Now when I look back at it, I see it rather sadly. It was more of a farewell day, to say goodbye, that is how I see it today. Because on Monday morning, May 16, 1960, it was about 6 o'clock, my mother came and said, 'Children, something happened, something happened!' We didn't know what happened. Daddy took his life. My dad took his life because he knew he wouldn't keep himself from criticizing the communists, he knew it. Jenda, my brother, when we talked about it, he remembered how he said to him: 'Dad, please don't say it, leave it alone, you know they're watching us, and I don't want to go there anymore, I don't want to go there anymore. 'And daddy, in order to prevent it, otherwise he was as healthy as a beep, our daddy made this step, but I know they have driven a lot of people to suicide at that time. So we went through this difficult time.”

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Losing home is terrible.

Hana Bicencová in 1956
Hana sent the photo to her brother John, who was in prison in 1956, and on the back she wrote: "Jandulka, do you recognize me?" The back side of the photo also contains the name of brother, Jan Liska, and his prison number AO 16 978 and the stamp "AUTHORIZED until 30 October 1956". The prisoners could only have a photo of their beloved ones for a certain period of time. The back of the photo is stored in additional materials.
Hana Bicencová in 1956 Hana sent the photo to her brother John, who was in prison in 1956, and on the back she wrote: "Jandulka, do you recognize me?" The back side of the photo also contains the name of brother, Jan Liska, and his prison number AO 16 978 and the stamp "AUTHORIZED until 30 October 1956". The prisoners could only have a photo of their beloved ones for a certain period of time. The back of the photo is stored in additional materials.
photo: Archiv pamětníka

Hana Bicencová, né Lišková, was born on 22 October 1938 in the village of Stříbřec in the Jindřichův Hradec district. She was the youngest of three children. Her parents, Jan and Marie Liška, owned a smaller farmhouse in Stříbřec. The witness graduated from the elementary school in Stříbřec and continued her schooling at the secondary school in Stráž nad Nežárkou. Hana’s brother, Jan Liška, was trained as a cook in Tábor since 1947, where he made friends with his classmate, Alexander Bělohlávek. Bělohlávek fled abroad in 1951. In the summer 1952 he illegally crossed the border back to Czechoslovakia and spent the night at Liška family in Stříbřec. Hana had no idea of his stay abroad, so she was surprised when the state police arrived on 6 October 1952 and arrested her parents. At that time her brother Jan was also arrested. A social worker came for Hana and took her to the children’s shelter home in Vodňany. She suffered hard during her stay. On 16 June 1953, both parents were sentenced to four years’ imprisonment for anti-state activity, unconditionally. Her brother, Jan Liška, left the court with a sentence of fifteen years, including the confiscation of property. Although the witness graduated from elementary school in Vodňany with excellent results, she was sent to the vocational school in Červený Letov, Prague, where she was trained as a toolmaker. Due to loneliness, stress and mental distress in the children’s home and the apprentice school, nerve and epileptic seizures have occurred at the witness. After her apprenticeship she worked in the department of technical drawings in Červený Letov. In March 1955, the mother of the witness was conditionally released for good behavior. Together they returned to Stříbřec. They lived in their home, which then belonged to the Local National Committee (MNV) and they had to pay rent. Her mother worked in a single agricultural cooperative, Hana found a job in a wooden toy factory in Stráž nad Nežárkou. In 1956 the witness married Jaroslav Bicenec. Two daughters were born. His father, Jan Liška, returned from prison for a conditional release in the spring of 1956. In May 1960, the brother Jan also received conditional release. Shortly afterwards, the father Jan Liška committed suicide. In 1964, the Liška family received an order from MNV to move out of their “house” in Stříbřec and then moved to Třeboň, where the witness began to work as a grocery saleswoman since 1965. In 1967, MNV had the house of the witness in Stříbřec demolished. In May 1973 the mother of the witness died. Brother Jaroslav died in 1987. Since 1988, the witness is in full disability pension. After 1989 Hana achieved rehabilitation of her loved ones. She received the land belonging to the family in restitution. Hana managed to get a compensation money for the demolished birth house in Stříbřec after 2000 and amounted to 450,000 crowns. On 20 March 2007 Hana became a widow. In 2019 she lived alone in an apartment in Třeboň.