Václav Novák

* 1928

  • “We came there and other trucks arrived there and they brought in army material and food and all these supplies. All the trucks were standing there in front of the convent. They started evicting the nuns. With everything they had. They made them board the trucks and they were taking them somewhere away, we did not even know where. Our accommodation thus started from scratch. Straw and straw mattresses were brought there and we thus had to fill our mattresses with straw and then some time later they brought iron beds as well. We thus had to prepare everything by ourselves. There was a field kitchen outside, and they were cooking meals for us and things like that so that we would be able to exist there. I saw when they were evicting the nuns; they did not even allow them to go back to their rooms if some of them forgot something in their rooms, like a picture, or something. They grabbed them and they brutally made them get into the cars and they were taking them away. Some of them were crying, some were shouting, and the abbess, I can see it vividly, she kept defending them all the time and she was resisting, but it was of no use. The operation, the eviction itself, lasted perhaps for three or four hours. And then we began furnishing the place for ourselves, and since I was a graduate of a secondary technical school of civil engineering and I had the second lieutenant’s rank, they appointed me the troop commander and therefore I participated in all this preparation. I could thus see in the chapel, for example, that they turned one of the chapels into a magazine of army food supplies, and from there they were issuing thousands and thousands of army food cans and stuff like that. And ammunition was stored in the other chapel.”

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    Ústí nad Labem, 23.08.2013

    duration: 54:52
    media recorded in project Soutěž Příběhy 20. století
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I always wanted to be the best, but my effort was being thwarted by the annual assessments

Václav Novák
Václav Novák
photo: Ilusrační

Václav Novák was born in May 1928 in Teplice. He completed a two-year secondary technical school of civil engineering, and in 1945 he continued in his studies at the Higher Technical School of Civil Engineering in Děčín. He did his compulsory military service in Ostrov nad Ohří and Cheb. Václav witnessed the eviction of nuns from the convent in Ostrov nad Ohří, which was transformed into army barracks immediately after. His son emigrated to Holland in 1969 after the occupation of Czechoslovakia by the Warsaw Pact armies in August 1968. Václav Novák devoted his entire professional life to construction of housing and public buildings in the North Bohemian region. He started as a foreman and later he worked as a production manager in the headquarters of the Civil Engineering Company (Pozemní Stavby). After 1990 he established his own business dealing with construction of housing.