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Věra Sosnarová (1931) - Biography

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While we were marching to the workplace, we had to carry burning torches for self-defense. Wolves were following us in dozens.

Věra Sosnarová was born on the 5th of May in 1931 in Brno. Her mother had emigrated from the USSR after the First World War. When Red Army arrived in Brno in 1945, according to soviet officials Vera's mother was still a soviet citizen. This fact proved fatal for the whole family. On the 17th of May in 1945 soldiers arrested Vera, her younger sister Nada, who was 9 years old and their mother Ljuba. Her father was already dead. They were deported to Siberia immediately. During the journey, both sisters were raped several times by Mongol guards. The train reached its destination in September. Her mother Ljuba died within 3 months. Woodcutting 12 hours a day was the main work. Both sisters survived typhus. They spent 8 years in many labor camps and than 12 years in different mines, factories and a fish processing boat. Finally, by sheer luck, in 1961 they met a man from Kolkhoz. This man had contact with other Kolkhoz in Czechoslovakia. He was able to get permission for both sisters to work in Czechoslovakia. The whole procedure took 4 years and in 1964 both sisters successfully left USSR and returned home. Vera was 34 years old and weighed 37 kilos. Before both sisters left Gulag, they had to sign a statement they will never speak about what they had passed trough. The same documents they had to sign in Czechoslovakia and they had to hand in all their papers. Everything about their past had to disappear. Vera kept silent. Her husband died without knowing that his wife spent 20 years in the Gulag. Vera was so afraid she would be returned back to USSR, that she kept her past in secret for 30 years. Czechoslovakian secret police was spying on her permanently. Every month, until 1974, she had to visit a police station in Brno to repeatedly sign statement she would never speak about her past in the Gulag. When the parliament of Czech Republic approved a compensation law for Gulag victims in the year 2002, Vera was unable to prove by any official document that she really was there. Czech bureaucrats even wanted some living witness instead - but her sister Nada, who emigrated to Italy, refused to cross the boarders of Czech Republic ever again. When Vera visited the police station in Brno, where she had to sign her documents every month until the mid 70's, all the papers were shredded. She could have received 3,000,000 crowns for compensation, but ended up with nothing.

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