Ivan Kosenko

* 1941  

  • “None of us had much money. And the way things were there, you’ll find it ridiculous, but some of the children there were from farmers’ families, who were slightly better off. Well, and they would send for bread, for food, or for a snack from the shop in the town. And I offered to go get it for them. And they always paid me twenty-five hellers [25 hellers = 1/4 crown, the equivalent of a British farthing – trans.], right, twenty-five hellers for each delivery. And I saved those hellers up, those twenty-five-heller coins. I got myself a little wooden box. And we had, in the boys’ club room we each had a kind of locker, which closed with a bolt but couldn’t be locked, it just had the latch. Well, and I had it there. Never a coin did I lose. Not a single twenty-five hellers. The children were poor, but no one ever – they knew I had it there, I had as much as a hundred there afterwards, or more – but no one went there, no one took a single heller.”

  • “When my mother died, my father was left on his own. He was fifty-one. Well, and one Mrs Pinčíková from Mariánské Lázně paired him up with some lady, and he ended up marrying her. But, you can imagine, I had unruly blood, and I didn’t respect it. She was, I admit, it was a kind of intrusion into our well-ordered family, so I didn’t accept her one bit. Which caused certain problems and conflicts and ended up with them sending me, they told me I was skinny, malnourished, which was true, and they sent me to a sanatorium somewhere in Bukovany near Písek, or wherever. That was for a month. When I came back, I found that Grandma was gone. They’d stuffed Grandma into a care home in the meantime. And my father, I don’t know what magic he used, he then somehow got her to go to Yugoslavia.”

  • “I was a big rebel, I acted up terribly. Look, what can I say, Chechnyan blood is Chechnyan blood. Everything, I’ll tell it to you straight, I smashed and bashed everything I could get my hands on, I broke everything to bits. I was uncontrollable. Well, so I ended up in a children’s home, and it was a children’s home for war orphans.”

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    u pamětníka doma, 29.11.2017

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    duration: 01:16:59
    media recorded in project The Stories of Our Neigbours
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The children in the children’s home were poor, but no one took a single heller from me

Ivan Kosenko
Ivan Kosenko
photo: Pamět národa - Archiv

Ivan Kosenko was born on 28 July 1941 in Trnava. His father was from Russia - he had left the country during the Russian revolution in 1917. His mother came from Lublin, a part of her family lived in Yugoslavia. After his mother’s death, his father remarried, and because Ivan did not get on well with his stepmother, he was sent first to a sanatorium and then to a children’s home for war orphans. He was expelled from the secondary school of economics he attended, and he worked in road construction before starting military service. After his discharge from the army he married, and he and his wife completed their education at an economic school. He worked at the National Security Corps (the police force) and investigated economic crimes; he lost his job after 1968 and worked in public services in Chomutov. In 1990 he returned to the police; he is now retired.