Petra Erbanová

* 1948

  • "I think that actually the guys who shot were so young, even after we saw all the photos. I think they didn't know where they were and what they were doing. Because when they ordered them to shoot, they probably shot and apparently didn't know why. Because then there was a lot of talk about it and that's what we were told. When I saw the photos, how the boys themselves were scared, because I saw a lot of those photos, from newspapers, magazines, then from the people who took the photos, I thought that the boys really did not know where they were and what they were doing and why do they do it." - "So, you don't have a grudge against them?" - "Not against those boys, but certainly against the establishment."

  • “I know that in 1969 I personally took a flower for Eva Livečková, wh had worked in the health service. I think she was a nurse, I’m not sure which ward she worked in. She had a plaque installed on the post office because they’d shot her through the neck there. They took her straight to hospital. As a nurse, she knew what that meant - she was paralysed in practically her whole body. I think someone else also laid a flower there for her. I also laid my flower there, and I know that across the street, where there’s the travel agency now... these two blokes came out from the arcade, they came up to me, took the flower from where it lay, and threw it on to the road. A bus drove by and squashed it. I asked them: ‘What are you doing? I brought that flower to a health-service colleague of mine, a lady I worked with, who was shot here.’ Because she’d lived a few days and then died [she died on 23 August 1968 from injuries caused by a shot to the neck - ed.]. They said: ‘If you don’t want to end up at a police interrogation, you should get out of here fast!’ I stared at them and said: ‘Gentlemen, you’re in civvies, what’s your deal?’ They answered: ‘We’re in civvies, but we’re watching this spot. If you don’t any trouble, you’ll leg it nice and fast!’ I stood there for a moment, absolutely aghast... but then my heart started racing and I thought to myself: ‘Well, what’s this?! A year later and it’ll be just the same as in sixty-eight, except these are our own people?!’ I was totally aghast. I felt so terrible that I had absolutely no idea what to do. What I really wanted was to give someone a proper beating, but I couldn’t do that, could I?”

  • “To get back to the Liberec hospital. I admire that time, when - compared to all the medical equipment and options nowadays - people worked from scratch, so to say. It was so amazing, the teamwork, the willingness, that great community of all the doctors, nurses, assistant staff. That was something unforgettable. They treated us fantastically. They allowed friends and strangers to come visit us, to record interviews. They let us read articles, they brought us newspapers, cakes, flowers. Every behaved just wonderfully to us. The way doctors, nurses, and assistant hospital staff behaved back then should be set as an example for others - I don’t want to say who exactly - for how to behave today, because that was just spectacular. The conditions and circumstances and with what was going on, when they had practically nothing to work with, it was something wonderful, something amazing, unforgettable. I’d wish I could thank them year after year, even now, to thank them again and again. I want to thank them all again because that was really unforgettable.”

  • “At first I didn’t even pay any attention to it because I was trying to stand up, and my friend and I wanted to run and shelter in the dentistry [the dental practice where the witness worked - ed.], but suddenly I fell down again. I looked at my leg, because I felt something warm on it, and I saw the blood gushing out. And seeing that I later found out that they had shot through the primary nerve in my leg, that was why I didn’t feel much pain. Not until when they treated it, X-rayed it, stitched it up, that hurt a bit, of course, because all the secondary nerves were working, even though the primary one had been damaged. But during the X-ray in hospital I discovered... the doctors thought there wasn’t anything in the wound, so they just cleaned it and told me they’d send me for an X-ray. And there they found that the whole bullet was lodged in my knee. So they operated me later that night.”

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    v Liberci, 17.05.2017

    duration: 01:35:33
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
  • 2

    Liberec, 24.06.2021

    duration: 50:52
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
Full recordings are available only for logged users.

My leg went slack like a rag when the bullet hit me

Petra Erbanová (secondary school graduation photo), 1966
Petra Erbanová (secondary school graduation photo), 1966
photo: archiv pamětnice

Petra Erbanová, née Šoršová, was born on May 31, 1948 in Liberec. Her parents led her to sports, playing volleyball racing since the age of twelve. She graduated from the Secondary Medical School in Ústí nad Labem, a dental laboratory. Then she worked in the dental laboratory in the center of Liberec, where she went in the morning of August 21, 1968. On the way to work she was hit by a bullet fired by a soldier of the Warsaw Pact occupation army. She was saved from further shooting by two unknown men who led her to the hospital. She underwent treatment for seven months and the consequences are still carried to this day. During normalization, she was repeatedly exposed to a suspicious and insensitive approach of officials of the state power and her employer. She actively participated in the Velvet Revolution. Since 1995 she has been working in the Speramus Asylum House in Liberec. She raised two sons. She lives in Liberec.