Eva Břízová

* 1937

  • "In October we started working on the State Farm and in a month I went for my pay. The secretary asked me: 'Miss, are you going to curse at us?!' I just stood there watching, why would I want to curse at them. I went to get four thousand money per month and before I labored for fifty crowns. That was my rescue, I would have come away from the farmer like a plucked chicken. Those were sorry people, who served those farmers. Hungry and naked. Like the little girl, who came away from there, she had nothing. I was deep in it, but the State Farm saved me."

  • "After the war Štefan was killed by a mine. When the Germans retreated, they laid mines everywhere, in front of doors and everywhere. From Miková we travelled to Malá Poľana, because they gave us to the eldest sister. Mother put me away, so that there would not be so many of us at home. The eldest sister was also married, and so we went to her, and we saw mines placed everywhere. Us three girls went. Julie, Helena, and me. There were so many dead people on those mines."

  • "And so he [brother] puts reins on that horse, after the war, when the Germans all left during the night and laid mines. He reined the horse and Ondra was sitting in the carriage and Štefan guided the horse, so that they would go for planks, somewhere there where there were bunkers. He stepped on a mine and it blew him up, the right side of his body. Nothing happened to the horse and brother Ondra was sitting in the carriage, nothing happened to him either."

  • "And so he [the agricultural laborer Adam] gave me the clippings and I sewed myself a doll. That doll, when I lay in the kitchen, and aunt in the bedroom - elsewhere, I always hid the doll under the straw mattress. One evening I was telling Adam, that we were going to continue for another evening and that I will take out my doll. I took it out, he drew on it eyes, a nose, a mouth, he made a head, and I had a beautiful doll. I was a little girl, I liked sewing, and aunt figured that out. And she said: 'Look, we did not take you on for this. We took you on so that you would work hard, not so you could play around with dolls!' She took the doll and threw it in the fireplace and it burned. I cried terribly and was very sad about it. And then my whole life ended up, that I was only crying and crying with the farmer."

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    Příjemky, 03.02.2023

    duration: 02:01:02
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
  • 2

    Příjemky, 17.02.2023

    duration: 01:09:41
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
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The post-war poverty of northeastern Slovakia caught up to her in Czechia

Eva Břízová in her work outfit, Hlasivo, year 1957
Eva Břízová in her work outfit, Hlasivo, year 1957
photo: archiv pamětnice

Eva Břízová, née Zavacká, was born on the 19th of February 1937 in the municipality of Miková in northeastern Slovakia. She grew up in a numberous Rusyn family which was of Ruthenian Greek Catholic faith. The American graphic Andy Warhola, whose parents also came from Miková, was her cousin. At the end of the Second World War a stepped on mine killed her elder brother Štefan. Due to the severe humanitarian crisis present in the whole area she was transported to Czechia along with other children by the Czechoslovakian Red Cross. From Košice she travelled through Prague all the way to the municipality of Hlasivo na Táborsku to a local farm, whose owner Josef Mareš worked on about 27 hectares of agricultural land. About after half a year spent on the estate the girl returned to her family in Slovakia. Of course at the behest of the Czech family she went back to them to Hlasivo and worked as a helping hand on the estate, where she remained also in her later years. In the first half of the 50s the Mareš married couple got seriously ill and gradually both of them died. The care of three underage orphans fell to the witness and in addition to that she had to do all of the agricultural work, which now found itself in a desperate situation when the owner in the preceding years faced pressure in connection with the collectivization of agriculture. In the end the estate came under the administration of the Czechoslovakian State Estates of Tábor. In the same period the witness met her future husband and got married off to Chotěbořsko. Until going into retirement she worked in the agricultural unitary co-operative. At the time of filming she lived in Příjemky in the Vysočina region (February 2023).