Olga Wankeová, roz. Piskorová

* 1929  

  • “My uncle was a German, a very good man. During the war, as he was walking home, he came and said, those people are so careless, they are listening to foreign radio broadcast, tell them to be more careful, because listening to foreign broadcast was punished by death during the war. In 1945, during the revolution, they mercilessly shot him to death and they threw him into a mass grave which is still located under the hotel International in Dejvice! They took his watch, his wedding ring, his brilliant ring, the revolution was so unjust! They were hanging people. Like in Podbaba, I did not want to see it, but people were so cruel; for instance, there was a young German man, twenty-years old, and they made him jump into the Vltava River and they were shooting at him as he was swimming across. And they were hanging them on street lamp posts and forcing them to work. I didn’t want to see it at all, and I did not want to see people who had been through concentration camps, either. They were only bad people, evil by nature, and they were taking revenge for something and they did not know why…”

  • “I went to study English in the Institute of English Ladies which was located in the beautiful chateau in Štěkeň that was owned by the Windischgrätz family until 1920 and then it was purchased by the order of the English Ladies. There were about ninety of us pupils in several classes according to the languages we studied. Then there was February 1948 and when I learnt about it I spent the whole night in the chapel on my knees and I was praying that nothing would happen to anybody, because my father was a great objector against communism. Later I heard that he and doctor Zenkl and Fráňa Zemínová went to consult President Beneš, but he warned them against the protests and he was afraid that many lives would be lost. We were gradually dismissed from the convent, and we had to finish our studies in Prague, including the final examination and the university exam in English. All nuns including the mother superior were taken to empty houses in the border region, and many of them have not survived. I offered our home to our class teacher professor mater Serafína. Later she worked in the language school in Národní Street, and she was constantly monitored and interrogated by the Secret Police, and she could not endure it any more and she committed suicide.”

  • Full recordings
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    Praha, 19.10.2013

    duration: 21:08
    media recorded in project Soutěž Příběhy 20. století
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The world is unjust

Olga in 1953
Olga in 1953
photo: Archiv pamětnice

Olga Wankeová, née Piskorová, was born in 1929 in Lysolaje (nowadays part of Prague). She witnessed many events of World War Two, and she was especially affected by the situation during the terror which followed the assassination of Heydrich, since local people feared that their village would be eliminated in the same way as Lidice. Part of her family was of German origin, and although they had not collaborated with Germans, her uncle fell victim to the revenge at the very end of the war - he was shot during the revolution and thrown into a mass grave. Olga recalls other instances of injustice and brutality which were committed in the name of a “just revenge” against the German population. After the war she continued with her education in the Institute of English Ladies (led by sisters of the Congregation of Jesus), where she mainly studied languages, but the religious order was disbanded in the period after 1948. Most of the nuns were taken to the border regions and the order’s activity was terminated. Olga completed her education in foreign languages in Prague and thanks to her excellent knowledge of languages she then applied for employment at the ministry of foreign affairs. However, she was not accepted due to her origin. She found employment in the Technical Centre of the Czech Technical University (ČVUT) and she met her future husband while working there. Olga married and they had three children. In 1968, they were on holiday in former Yugoslavia when the Warsaw Pact armies entered Czechoslovakia. They were intensely considering whether to stay abroad or return. They eventually came back, because her parents and other relatives who needed her care had remained in Czechoslovakia. After the death of her husband Olga moved back to Lysolaje and she has been living there ever since.