Irina Juřinová

* 1930  

  • “Down there in Všehrdova street – I have to go check what is in there these days – there was a tiny shop which belonged to an elderly couple. They sold éclairs filled with cream and with whipped cream on top. Karel bought me one, this is just who I am. It was really a treat. I was looking down on them because we had our window just above their shop, and said: ‘How come they live there alone, those two?’ And Karel replied: ‘Well, they’ve had it like this for some twenty or thirty years.’ That they owned it for ages. And I said: ‘Is it private?’ He said: ‘Well, such a small shop – the state couldn’t take care of it. So yes, it’s theirs.’ I said: ‘So, they are capitalists?’ He replied: ‘Call them capitalists, if you wish. But they are businesspeople.’ So this is how I first spotted a capitalist shop in Všehrdova street.”

  • "I really felt the need to tell it to someone highly ranked. You can imagine that I wrote him how much I respected him and so on... But also that the arrival of Soviet troops wouldn't improve the situation - to the contrary, which was true. I was like - when in came to Czechoslovakia for the first time, people were waving like this out in the fields and now this?"

  • “Whoever was able and still had strength brought their dead relatives to the cemetery. Dad’s factory nailed us together a wooden coffin. So we put my dad on a sledge – every Russian family up north has one – and brought him there on foot. We had those food stamps for January with us. There, we found some clerk along huge, wide ditches, some 10 meters broad and 25 meters wide – several of these in a row. I could see cars driving in and dumping the completely frost bodies into these ditches.”

  • „I was on a business trip to East Germany with the head of our pedagogy department. A German man invited me to dance. I went to dance with him but I held a stiff posture. I just couldn’t get it out of my head: ‚Who are you dancing with? Oh God, who are you dancing with?‘ It was deep inside me even if I couldn’t have presented it publicly there. It was really terrible, you see. Even though Germans were normal people and he himself was probably also just a kid during the war – that man. But it was so deep inside me, you see? As if it were a sin for me to dance with this German guy.“

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    Hroznová ul., Praha , 10.03.2016

    (audio)
    duration: 02:12:40
    media recorded in project The Stories of Our Neigbours
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She put glue, bay leaf, and some spices in water and that was our meal

IMG_20160310_0001.jpg (historic)
Irina Juřinová
photo: Archiv: archív pamětnice, současná: Post Bellum

Irina Juřinová was born on 15 March 1930 in Saint Petersburg as the only daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Klučira. She used to play chess with her father after school; at times the whole family went to see a theatre show. After the outbreak of war he parents had to serve the military needs and she was looked after by her grandma with whom she lived through the siege of Leningrad. She had also spent part of the war in the countryside. Following her return she studied pedagogy where she met her future husband Karel Juřina. In 1954 she and her mother moved to Czechoslovakia where the couple worked as teachers. Both had clearly condemned the 1968 Soviet invasion which lead the her husband being expelled from the party. She still returns to St. Petersburg every year for 27 January to celebrate an anniversary of its liberation.