Lenka Kocierzová

* 1950

  • „And now imagine that they would pour those carts out one after another. It was hot, the temperature was immense, it was always red as lava. They would empty the coquilles. And because I’m a hopeless romanatic, I don’t see a mine dump and slag mess, I see that shine. We would pass by on the bus and the molten slag flowed in streamlets down the hill of the dump. It was something stunning. And because it was hot and shiny, it reflected off the sky. There was this shine all over Ostrava. Hrabůvka [neighbourhood] was just next to the dump and it was like a pink daylight.”

  • „I can’t say that the children would go to school dirty but the truth is, there were many families with eight or nine children who lived in two rooms. Before the children took their turn by the wash basin, some boys might escape the morning ablutions. That was the source for the demeaning checks of ears and fingernails at school. But there was a reason for it. Boys’ collars were checked whether they weren’t dirty. But children are children, we did not care about things we care about now. We were all smudgy. We all lived outside in the yards. Mom came and wiped all the noses with one handkerchief. And we knew each other well, obviously.“

  • „Unfortunately in about 1954, because there were not flats enough, they divided ours and moved another family in. The flat was still large enough for us. Everything ended because our house stood in the so-called hygienic zone. When I climbed up to the attic, there were two rooms for maids. We had no maids, obviously. I used to go to the attic to steal my brother’s trashy novels about Indians. My first artwork was an Indian with a war bonnet. The attic was wonderful. It’s a pity that we had to move away from there and leave huge chests with old clothes, mainly my grandma’s costumes. She was not only a milliner, she ran a costume rental. There was a Carmen costume and a stunning Haná folk costume which my mother used to wear for festivals. When we had to move out, everything stayed there, we had no place to store it.”

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    Ostrava, 16.02.2022

    duration: 02:05:55
    media recorded in project Stories of the 20th Century TV
  • 2

    Ostrava, 10.03.2022

    duration: 01:45:01
    media recorded in project Stories of the 20th Century TV
Full recordings are available only for logged users.

The snow turned grey before morning and children would lick dust-covered icicles

Lenka Kocierzová in 1955
Lenka Kocierzová in 1955
photo: archiv pamětníka

Lenka Kocierzová was born on the 23rd of August in 1950 in Ostrava – Vítkovice. Her family was deeply interconnected with this region – her great-grandfather was the first policeman in Vítkovice, her grandma had a millinery salon. Lenka spent her childhood in a house which had belonged to one of the directors of Vítkovice steel works and after the nationalisation, employees of the company were moved there. The family moved to a newly built neighbourhood after their flat was divided into smaller ones and strangers moved in. In August 1968, her life was changed by the Soviet occupation. At first, she participated in protests but at the end, she was so disappointed when the general opposition to the occupants waned that she left the university, got married and devoted her time to caring for her two daughters. She studied advertising design in evening courses and got a job in the advertising department of the Bastro company. After the 1989 revolution, she started her own business in advertising where she could employ her art skills. She worked as a chronicler of the Vítkovice district and helped to save the local industrial archutecture. In Ostrava, she worked as a tourist guide and she organised various city events. Her life was changed by the covid pandemics in 2020 when she got seriously ill and her partner died of covid. In 2022, she lived in Ostrava.