Helena Nováková

* 1928

  • “They came to me during the break and said: ´On the May Day, you must walk in the parade.´ I replied: ´I don’t have to, I can, but I do not have to.´ - ´Fine.´ Mrs. Pařízková then tells me: ´Ms., they are writing something down.´ And I said: ´But this does not concern me, they are just writing down the names of the people who will put those red rags around their necks and go walk in the parade.´ Nothing happened. It was on Friday, then on Saturday we did not work, and on Monday I come to work and the gatekeeper tells me: ´Ms., you are to report to the State Police.´”

  • “Then I had to go to listen to the ´announcements.´ They were reading us our sentences and what we were sentenced for. He was announcing the sentence to a guy who was in front of me, saying: ´The prosecution requests triple hanging.´ And I stared at him and kept pondering just how they would carry it out. Binding three pieces of rope together? At that moment I thought it was great irony. He ordered him to leave, started to read my sentence and added: ´And the same applies to you as well.´”

  • “I told them: ´I was told to report here.´ And they replied: ´It’s probably not here, it would be the State Police.´ So I went to Vansdorf to the State Police department. Those two ´lady comrades´ denounced me to the State Police in Vansdorf. There was a guy, big as a gorilla, if he hit me, I would be smashed to pieces, but luckily nothing like that happened. He told me that they have received a letter about me, informing them that I allegedly said: ´The 1st of May celebration is a dictatorship and terror.´ I replied: ´I said that, but in a completely different way, I said that I cannot be forced to participate, because they came to me and ordered me to walk in the May Day parade. I claimed that I was not obliged to, and that if it was so, it would then be a dictatorship, and I opposed that.´ He said. ´Fine´ and showed me that piece of paper. I told him: ´I know who wrote it.´ and I told him their names. He moved that paper towards me so that I might see it better, and said: ´We shall see what can be done.´”

  • “My parents asked for my pardon. ´Kléma´ (President Klement Gottwald) obviously turned it down. I was lucky later, when ´Kléma´ died and was succeeded by the ´big-eared torpedo´ Zápotocký I was pardoned. So I spent seven years of my sentence behind the bars.”

  • “The gatekeeper called me that I should come down to the entrance; somebody was waiting there for me. I looked around the office, said good-bye, took my personal belongings and left. The ´603´ car was waiting for me, they told me to get in. I asked them to stop in our place, so that I could at least go in and grab my toothbrush. Obviously they did not allow me to change, and when I needed to use the toilet I had to leave the door open and they were standing next to me. But they did not harm me. I was in Blažkova Street, it was nicknamed Laufrovka. There was the ´interrogation cell.´ I spent several days there.”

  • “The weather was warm, I was going sleeveless and so they started demanding ´časy´(´times´). First they asked me my name, wanted me to write it down, but I did not know the Cyrillic, so I wrote it in Czech, in block letters. They were deciphering it, then they noticed my ´times´ (watch), and they wanted them. They started to unfasten them from my wrist and kept saying: ´Davaj.´ (Give.) There was nothing I could do, they were armed, I was afraid.”

  • “Then I was brought to the court prison. There was a guardswoman, an old lady, Mrs. Růženka, and she would say: ´Girls, we have no idea how to treat you, we are used only to whores and thieves here.´”

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    Litoměřice, 20.04.2008

    duration: 01:13:52
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
Full recordings are available only for logged users.

I have never killed anyone, I’m firm in my opinions, and I will remain so in the future Had I been young once again, I would have done it again

Helena Nováková
Helena Nováková
photo: archiv pamětnice, nechtěla se nechat aktuálně vyfotit.

Helena Nováková was born July 3rd, 1928 in Velké Žernoseky (Litoměřice district) as Helena Capoušková. She lived here with her parents and three siblings till she was ten years old. Her father worked for the railways as a train supervisor. In 1938 the whole family had to move to Lysá nad Labem; her younger brother was born there and Helena lived there till 1945. She studied an elementary school in Nymburk and later a vocational school in Prague; she became a seamstress. During her studies in Prague she also experienced all of the air-raids. In January 1946 she moved with her sister and her brother-in-law to Vansdorf, living first in a rented flat, later in a house her brother-in-law bought. Helena lived with them till 1950, when she was arrested by the State Police and subsequently sentenced to twenty years of imprisonment for anti-state activities in the group Juditka and Co. She made an appeal against the court’s decision, and her sentence was lowered to 14 years. She spent half of this time in prison; her request for pardon was granted in 1957 by President A. Zápotocký. Helena thus spent seven years in prison. After her release she moved back to her parents to Velké Žernoseky, where the family had returned after the war. In 1959 she married Čestmír Novák, and they had three sons. She was working in Litoměřice in the Vkus factory till her retirement.