Nina Bilijenková

* 1929

  • "The moon was shining brightly and from Dubna, from the ghetto, they rushed them through the station in Mirohošť. There were fields there, and a graveyard on the right-hand side. Further on into the woods is where we would send our cows to graze. They had to dig [the graves] first. And they were pushing them on in the evening during the moonlight, it might've been eight o'clock. They cried so. It was a crowd of people. I really can't honestly say how many exactly, but there were many of them. And then all we could hear were the shots. And it wasn't that far away from the station. Half a kilometre maybe."

  • "Then they asked me up to the secretariat of the CPC [Communist Party of Czechoslovakia - transl.] and straight away they asked me: 'What do you have to say about it?' [about the Soviet occupation in August 1968 - ed.] 'Well, what can I say? Of course I'm not happy. They had no reason to come here. Why? I can't tell you any more on the subject.'... Then it was unpleasant just being among people, because I felt that I belonged to them as well [to the invaders; because of her Russian husband - ed.]."

  • "I remember how during Polish rule, Jews had their shops here. And they sold chalva, I don't know if you understand that word... So our parents always gave us a few pennies and off we went... And I can see it like today. It was a cube like this in tin foil, good, white chalva. It was like a sweet, like sweets, but it was called chalva, and the Jews had it... They were really so welcoming, so nice, and often they'd say: 'Have this bit extra and share it.' It was great."

  • "And the Banderites, they wreaked havoc. They went right in among families. Whatever they wanted, they took it - a pig, a cow, a horse. Especially horses. And people were glad not to have lost their lives. Because they shot people, no one resisted. Simply whatever they want, take it, just leave me alive." (Q: "Did anything happen specifically to you or your aunt's family in connection with the Banderites?") "No, thank goodness, no. You could say they didn't kill anyone in our vicinity, but whatever they wanted, they took. They some of the people here were rich, they called them 'kurkuli'..."

  • "They came to visit when Dad was already dead and Mum happened to be ill. They came by and told Mum: 'Hurry up and pack, we're leaving.' And Mum said: 'Can't you see I'm ill, I have the children here, how am I supposed to do that?!' They took our cow, they took our horse, and said that we'd meet again. So we thought to ourselves: 'Christ Lord in Heaven, this is terrible!' Now imagine that they didn't come back. I guess they took pity on that mother, that ill mother, and with all of us clambered onto her bed, because we were afraid... Mum said: 'That's it, children. If they take us away, we won't even reach Siberia..."

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    Hoštka u Litoměřic, 09.02.2010

    duration: 02:31:40
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
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And then all we could hear were the shots.

Nina Bilijenková 1946.jpg (historic)
Nina Bilijenková
photo: foto: archiv pamětnice a Lukáš Krákora

Nina Bilijenková, née Veřbovská, was born in 1929 in the village of Chorov in Volhynia, into a farmer’s family. She grew up in Chorov, later living in the Czech town of Mirohošť, where she stayed even after most of the original inhabitants were deported to Czech land. In 1939, her family became the target of Bolshevik repression - she lost her home in Chorov and she was threatened with deportation to Siberia. During the war, Nina Bilijenková was witness to the repression of Jews and the robbing of civilians by groups of Ukrainian nationalists. In 1947, she married Dmitrij Bilijenko, a Soviet soldier, living with him in Volhynia till 1966, and then until his death in 1990 in Hoštka, Litoměřice district. They both worked in the paper mill in Štětí. They had two sons, Jiří and Vladimír.