Nina Burláková

* 1938

  • "Because Ukrainians have always not wanted to live under Russian rule, they have always rebelled. That's why they joined the Germans a little and made a pact. This was made public. But when the Germans came, they were evil. They were really very bad. They killed, and not only killed normally, but killed in a horrible way. Three barracks behind us was a Catholic church and there was a well. After the war, when people came back and cleaned their wells, the well was full of people – thrown down, killed, murdered in a horrible way, I won't tell you. That was not nice.'

  • “After the war, when all the nations in Europe agreed that the Germans, Czechs, and Ukrainians would all return to their homelands, we decided that we would also return. Those who didn't want to, didn't have to, those who wanted to leave, came back. The journey was long, we travelled over three Sundays. We drove such cattle drives. Do you know what it is? These are the closed wagons in which cattle are transported. That's how we lived for three, almost four Sundays. But we were the last, so we drove the fastest. It used to take six to seven weeks. Since there were no locomotives after the war and everything was broken, we always drove at night. We had protection with us - Russian soldiers. But first we had to get into those wagons. There were four to five families in each wagon. We couldn't take much - mostly just clothes, some duvets, but hardly any furniture, we only had a chest in which we put a few pieces of dishes. There was a hot stove in the middle of the wagon and could cook potatoes here.”

  • "The war began on June 22, 1941. I remember that day very much. I didn't know it was that day, my mom told me later. I was sleeping, I was three and a half years old, and sometimes at two thirty in the afternoon my mother woke me up. There was a terrible noise and rumble. We had it a hundred kilometers to Brest. The Germans started the war on Russia via Brest. Airplanes flew right up to us. Nobody knew what was going on. Suddenly, planes were dropping bombs in the afternoon. Everyone ran to the fields. There are large spaces in Russia. We had the nearest forest, I don't know exactly, between the fifth and tenth kilometers. We were there for about a fortnight. The men dug dugouts there and we lived in them. When we were lying down, as the ground trembled and shook under the bombs, dirt was falling for miles. It rustled so much that it was impossible to sleep."

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    Ústí nad Labem, 17.01.2022

    duration: 47:54
    media recorded in project The Stories of Our Neigbours
Full recordings are available only for logged users.

Maybe my life could have been better, but I thank fate for the way I lived it

Nina Burláková in the end of 1970s
Nina Burláková in the end of 1970s
photo: Archiv pamětnice

Nina Burláková was born on April 3, 1938 in the village of Volkov in the Volhynia region in the territory of today’s Ukraine. Her mother was originally Czech, while her father was Ukrainian. In Volkov in 1941, Nina experienced the beginning of the invasion of the Soviet Union by German troops. Nina and her family and other residents of Volkov repeatedly hid in dugouts in the nearby woods. In the first months of the war, her father Viktor died in battle. At that time, German soldiers occupied part of the house in which Nina lived. The family could therefore use only a few rooms. The soldiers killed almost all their livestock. Nina recalls that after the end of the conflict, the area was left in ruins – houses were burnt, fields destroyed and their well was full of corpses. In 1947, Nina went on a three-week trip to Czechoslovakia with her mother, sister and stepfather. Upon arrival, Nina completed the first grade and in 1948 attended the fourth grade. In 1953, she began studying a three-year course for teaching in kindergartens at the Pedagogical School in Litoměřice. Later, she worked in Jílové near Děčín, in Ludvíkovice and for five years she held the position of director in a nursery school in Děčín. After the wedding, she moved to Ústí nad Labem, where she experienced the invasion of Warsaw Pact troops. In 2022, she lived in Ústí nad Labem.