Václav Pišl

* 1948  

  • "The village was beyond recognition. More than 900 people moved out, the houses were empty, all the people moved there - strange people. The fences burned down. It was terrible to look at it. It was the ninety-second year. Then I was there in 1994, I drove my parents there to see it, and it got a little better, but still… Suddenly, for example, they found a dead and buried man in the garden. In the 1990's, terrible things were happening there. For example, you were driving, they stopped you, and said, 'Give money.' I know of a few cases they used to say, 'Give or I'll kill,' and they actually came with guns. I never stopped for anyone and I tried to drive during the day."

  • "We could take a lot with us. Trucks were coming, for example there were up to five trucks with our group. I don't remember how many buses, but the movers flew by plane too. Mostly the furniture was taken. We came here, the Czech government provided us with an apartment here. We had flats ready. So, what to say? We are satisfied with what happened. Not only satisfied. We are still amazed today. That it turned out that simply Václav Havel and the government took care of us like that. We are grateful, really."

  • "He fought in Svoboda´s unit and was in captivity and escaped from captivity. The announcement came home that he had died. But he escaped from captivity and returned home to his place. Freight trains drove from the war, they met there. Dad's older brother stood there and said "'Jaroslav died, Jaroslav isn't,' but they told him he was alive, that he was in that car. That's how the brothers met after the war. They were on one train in different cars."

  • Full recordings
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    Ústí nad Labem, 05.11.2021

    (audio)
    duration: 43:20
    media recorded in project Příběhy regionu - Ústecký kraj
Full recordings are available only for logged users.

He lived in the contaminated zone at Chernobyl for five years, then he returned to Bohemia, the land of his ancestors

Václav Pišl after the military service at the beginning of 1970s
Václav Pišl after the military service at the beginning of 1970s
photo: archive of the witness

Václav Pišl was born on June 29, 1948 in northwestern Ukraine in the village of Malá Zubovština, which fell into the area inhabited by Volhynian Bohemians. Václav´s ancestors came here in the second half of the 19th century. His father fought in World War II under General Ludvík Svoboda, he was captured, but managed to escape and return home. Two of Václav’s uncles also fought, but after the war they took advantage of the offer and stayed in Czechoslovakia. However, Václav and his parents spent his childhood and a substantial part of his life in Malá Zubovština. He visited Czechoslovakia in the 1970s and 1980s. However, he and his family did not want to go there until they learned that they had been living in an area contaminated by the Chernobyl explosion for two years. In 1991, a large number of compatriots from the Chernobyl area moved to Bohemia, others came during the 1990s and after 2000. Václav Pišl moved to Krupka, worked in North Bohemian companies for almost 20 years and then retired. His father was financially rewarded by the Czech government for military service during the war. His daughters found work and started families. Václav Pišl lived in Krupka in 2021 as a happy pensioner, grandfather and great-grandfather, as well as a grateful repatriated citizen of the Czech Republic.