Eugénia Vyskočilová - Anoškinová (1929)

Photo: Eugénia Vyskočilová - Anoškinová

Biography

“Let it never repeat what happened. So that the children needn’t be afraid of talking about their parents and parents needn’t be afraid of expressing their attitudes openly.”

Eugénia Vyskočilová - Anoškinová was born in 1929 in the town of Sečovce. Both her parents were of noble ancestry. Her father was a high tsarist officer, who came from Russia, and mother was a princess Radziwill. Eugénia studied in Trstená and she also attended the grammar school in Žilina. Later she studied at the business academies in Martin and Trenčín and she passed the leaving examination in Košice. When the Uprising was crushed in 1944, the whole family moved to Prague; however, several months later they came back to Slovakia. The family used to change residence very often because of her father’s work; they lived in Sečovce, Tornaľa, Trstená, Vrútky, for a while in Sučany, for couple of months in Prague, then in Myjava, Rožňava and in Báhoň, too. During her studies she was taking the work practice in the Tauš Company in Myjava. Initially she wanted to study diplomacy; however, her mother dissuaded her from it, so she started to study Russian and Slovak language at the Faculty of Arts in Bratislava. Concurrently with her studies she also worked as a study officer in rector’s office. In 1952 she was a Russian language teacher at the Faculty of Engineering in Bratislava where she worked together with her colleagues on the Russian-Slovak technical dictionary. In the same year she and her brother helped their friend to flee abroad. She gave him the phonebook and fit him out with one t-shirt and a pair of boxer shorts. One year later she was arrested and sentenced for high treason. Eugénia Anoškinová was given 3 years of imprisonment, her brother even one year more. She served her sentence in Ruzyně, in Pankrác and in Želiezovce where she was forced to work in the field. It was really hard work for women and their clothes were frayed. Eugénia and other imprisoned women went on strike for appropriate clothing and were successful. On the next day they got better clothes and rubber boots, too. Three months before finishing her sentence she refused applying for parole, so finally she was released on July 18, 1956. Then she started to work as an accountant in Želiezovce, and later she acted as a technician in Keramoprojekt in Bratislava. In the late 1950’s she married Juraj Vyskočil. In 1960 their first son Peter was born and two years later she gave birth to their younger son Juraj. In 1980 she went into invalidity retirement.

The Fateful White Ballot

Eugénia Vyskočilová - Anoškinová - The Fateful White Ballot (data format Flash Video)

“The elections took place and together with my mother and father we chose the white ballot. Juri didn’t vote at that time, he wasn’t old enough. Well, fortunately he didn’t vote, but we did and chose the white ballot. And we didn’t understand how it was possible. Dad knew that envelopes had been numbered but I couldn’t comprehend how it was possible that they knew which ballot I had chosen as we voted behind the screen. Nothing helped. Back then there was a regulation, because it was a very communist village or indeed it was the district capital and many communists lived there. And my father was directed to leave Myjava because they branded him as a dog in the manger. They told all sorts of things about him. When I came to school, my class teacher who was by happenstance Russian, his name was Šepaľov, told me: ‘You know what, girl, you have to go home because we got the statement from Myjava that you are not reliable, and we are supposed to dismiss you from school. But we agreed with the headmaster that we won’t dismiss you before the end of the school year (after all it was my third year). You will stay here as an external student.’ So I went home and then I didn’t attend school. At the end of the school year I took exams, my classmates usually sent me all the necessary materials.”

Refusal of Soviet Citizenship

Eugénia Vyskočilová - Anoškinová - Refusal of Soviet Citizenship (data format Flash Video)

“It was the year 1951. It was a really interesting year because the action started then. People from Russian embassy appealed to ordinary people, emigrants for returning them the Soviet citizenship. It was clear that as for my father they couldn’t succeed, so they finally said: ‘All right, you are old, so we are not interested in you, but we would like to see your children.’ I didn’t know where my brother was, so they came to me and said: ‘We could probably assure you bright future and prospects, just accept our offer and take the Soviet citizenship. We will support you, trust us, you will have a great life.’ We stated, however, that we wouldn’t go anywhere without our parents… We told them we were Slovaks, we were used to live in Slovakia, and although our nationality was Russian, our citizenship was Slovak already. Actually we hadn’t had Slovak citizenship for a long time; until the year 1939 the only things our parents had were their passports. However, they continued. My godfather couldn’t resist, he was alone, he didn’t have wife and he was also a bit more timorous, so he accepted their offer. He used to say that we were still Russians. He believed in change. I hated to think that all those who had taken the Russian citizenship were loaded on cars and transported to Russia. We even didn’t know where my godfather had ended up. Probably in some gulag or I don’t know. He didn’t send any message. Only one: ‘I am alive.’ Afterwards we haven’t heard anything about him.”

Helping with Escape

Eugénia Vyskočilová - Anoškinová - Helping with Escape (data format Flash Video)

“We had friends in Rožňava. One of them had studied at the Faculty of Mining, his name was Jožko Kasperkievič. Once in the evening Jožko Kasperkievič came with a man, we called him Jo Báči, who had a shop in Rožňava. In the year 1948 they expropriated his shop and as he defied it, they sent him to the labour camp somewhere in Moravia region; he was about fifty years old then. Now I see it was really frightful. He was there the third year when he was already sick of it. He met a young guy there and they agreed: ‘We have to bug out!’ So they “broke loose” from that labour camp, from Moravia. They came to Bratislava because they knew Jožko was here. We knew each other, our parents as well, so he decided to help him. Jožko stayed in the hall of residence and there was a question where else he could go. To Anoškin’s house, certainly. So they came to us. That young boy and Jo Báči came and he asked us to let him spent a night in our house. When they went indoors, he said he needed to walk over; he couldn’t remain there because they would surely destroy him and things like that. My brother advised him because he was familiar with all those paths near frontiers; you know, he was a motorist and he used to race in the Czech Republic, so he knew all our border crossings very well. It was for example near Devín or maybe Valtice which they finally used to flee abroad. My brother familiarised them with it and then [they crossed]. He also said that he had nothing, so I went and bought him some boxer shorts and t-shirts, I mean clothing, shirt and so on. And they fled. Helping them gave us a glow of satisfaction. However, several months later they suddenly appeared in our house again. As we saw them, our eyes widened: ‘What had happened? Did you come back?’ They stayed for one day because they only needed phonebook and other trifles. And they brought us that magazine, I don’t know whether my brother mentioned it, it was Roháč or Dikobraz and it looked like a normal magazine but inside there were great anti-state jokes. I really regret I didn’t keep it. Then we had a lot of fun and we left it on the table. Then they went away. We said goodbye, wished them good luck and everything was all right.”

Arrest

Eugénia Vyskočilová - Anoškinová - Arrest (data format Flash Video)

“In 1953 I fell ill, I was working on the dictionary, teaching, studying, attending school and working. It was too much and I exhausted myself. Somewhere I got tubercular germ and I had specific bronchitis, I started to cough out blood. So they sent me to the international student sanatorium in Třebotov near Prague. I went there in May, I travelled on the following day after my birthday and I was supposed to stay there till September. Now I know; however, then I had no idea about it. It happened at the beginning of July when the director called me and said: ‘Miss Anoškin, you know, we have to interrupt your treatment because we are awaiting some Hindu people but we will continue in September. I will give you your passport and medicine which you need. You will take it and we will meet after a short pause in September.’ Then I became conscious of the reason for saying that. So on July 6 or 7, I came and said: ‘Okay, but I want to take exams.’ At that time I studied Old Church Slavonic. So I was preparing for my exams. And exactly on that Saturday, it was July 18, when I was studying for the whole night because at ten o’clock I should have had that exam from Old Church Slavonic and four or five my friends came to study together because it was really difficult. Our lecture notes were spread out on the floor as we studied. We were tired, sleepy and it was about half past five when suddenly some men rang. Good God, I didn’t think it had something to do with our acquaintances because it happened about one year ago. Nothing unusual had happened since that time, though we knew something was going on. We thought there were other reasons for it. We took it blithely, you know, we were youngsters, but this was serious. They sent my friends, who were really shocked, away. I even don’t know whether they passed that exam or not, they simply went home and those men started to search our house. They threw everything away, all of my books. They searched everything and asked: ‘Do you know why we are here?’ ‘No, I don’t.’ And I really didn’t know it. I forgot about the past situation. So I wasn’t able to grasp it. I tried to recall: ‘Hell, what have we done? Where or what? We are quite lippy people, have I told something somewhere?’ So they searched our house and when it was almost ten o’clock, I said: ‘Please, could you wait to ten? I would like to pass my exam.’ And they responded: ‘You will pass it when you will be back.’ However, I didn’t get another chance then. They put me into the car, there were two Tatraplanes, and they drove me away, sealed my flat and said: ‘Just take a toilet-set for several days; we only need to talk to you about something.’ I took my toilet case, they put me into their car and as we went out of Bratislava, they blindfolded me but my hands were free. During the whole way they didn’t talk to me, they just phoned, where the second car was. I was really happy that Juri wasn’t there, that they took only me. I was absolutely happy that he was doing his work practice somewhere in Sučany. How should I have known that he was in the second car?”

Strike in the Prison

Eugénia Vyskočilová - Anoškinová - Strike in the Prison (data format Flash Video)

“We had holey rubber boots, holey and ripped up trousers, it was impossible to wear them, we used to mend them as we only could and we had no jackets. They came on Saturday, Sunday and forced us to go working, so girls went on strike. As for our clothing, we said we wouldn’t go until they gave us proper rubber boots and trousers and we refused to work on Saturdays and Sundays at all. Right, those who didn’t want to work would go to appelplatz (roll-call area). We all went there; fifty women had stood in the appelplatz for about one hour. And commander came: ‘So what? Have you already yielded, can we go to work?’ ‘We go nowhere.’ ‘So we can wait.’ We had stood there for about three hours; they came to us very often to ask whether we had already decided to go working. ‘Yes, we will go but only in new rubber boots and gloves.’ (You know, just look, these are consequences of working in Želiezovce. It is rheumatism because as for the gloves it was unknown word there.) We had stood in the appelplatz for about three hours without water or anything else, honestly. I admire myself for it, how we could stay standing there for three hours. Later they came and commander said: ‘You have been forbidden to receive letters, parcels, and visits for some time. (Now I cannot recall the exact time.) Tomorrow, you will be given new rubber boots. Instead of Saturday you will go to work tomorrow.’ ‘If we get rubber boots, we will go.’ And we really got them.”

Refusal of Being Released on Parole

Eugénia Vyskočilová - Anoškinová - Refusal of Being Released on Parole (data format Flash Video)

“The spring came, it was nice, it was March or whatever and my parents put in another request for parole. When they came and told me about it, we had a quarrel. I told them that I wanted them to do nothing for me, that I disagree with putting in that request. I simply wanted nothing from them. Then March came. Commander called me and said: ‘Miss Anoškin, I have got good news for you.’ And I responded: ‘What kind, good heavens? What could be the joyous news? Do I go home?’ ‘Yes, you are allowed to go home. Your parents put in the request and it had been granted, so you can be paroled now.’ And I said: ‘Truly? Thank you very much. If you have already baked me, so you shall also eat me! Three months? Till July? The eighteenth? I will stay here; I want nothing, absolutely nothing from you. I don’t accept the parole.’”

The Fourth Cup

Eugénia Vyskočilová - Anoškinová - The Fourth Cup (data format Flash Video)

“The Miner’s Day was in September. It was a wonderful day, Saturday or Sunday, I am not sure, it was probably Saturday. We were about to have breakfast, I mean me and my parents and it was the force of habit that I put four saucers, four cups and four spoons on the table. Do you know what I haven’t understood till today? How could it happen? I was putting it on the table and mom said: ‘Why do you serve for four?’ ‘Aha, that’s right.’ So I took it and held the saucer and the cup in my hands when I saw my father standing on our big glassed-in veranda and pinching himself. He stooped, stared and he was doing something like this. ‘Papa, what’s wrong?’ my mother asked. ‘And you, Veronka, don’t get scared, please, stay calm.’ ‘Why should I stay calm? What’s going on?’ So I looked there and saw my brother coming home. Oh, I grabbed my mother because she had a heart disease and could possibly pass out. It was amazing day, and of course, he brought six hundred crowns to us, I guess. Immediately we went to buy some wine and salami and he brought a big watermelon in his hands, he had to buy it somewhere on the way. It was simply fantastic. So the fourth cup belonged to our table; maybe I had sensed it somehow.”

Keepsake from Prison

Eugénia Vyskočilová - Anoškinová - Keepsake from Prison (data format Flash Video)

“When I went home, girls were sad and so was I. They had prepared the parting present for me (I didn’t know how and where they managed it because when you look at it, it was all made with needle), so I got these two things. This was also made by hand using some needle and there was written: “To Woman 1956” – I was released in that year and I got it from those Scouts staying in one cell. And this stands for the barred windows: Ruzyň, Pankrác, Želiezovce, therefore there are three. And my initials are there as well: E. A. - Eugénia Anoškinová, and the date of my release: 18. 7. 1956. I admired it. It touched me to the heart that girls made it in secret and gave it to me as a keepsake and as you can see I have protected it for sixty years because for me it is more valuable than any brilliant could be. Moreover, they gave me a small bag, just an ordinary one, and there were horehounds. Every girl put one candy there. Together there were about twenty horehounds and I was supposed to take one candy every day that I spent at liberty and they would know that all those twenty days I would surely think of them and they would feel it.”

The story and videoclips of this witness were put together and published thanks to the financial support of EU within the programme Europe for Citizens – Active European Remembrance.

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