Eva Dušková, roz. Vokálová

* 1931  †︎ 2019

  • "What we did is say we used tooth paste to give ourselves a facial, so we'd look good even there. We wanted them to send us sherbet, so we could paint up... Well, young girls. But the worst was when she shot me outside. We were coming back from the post office, weighted with bags. But I was switching them around, I was leaning forward and I straightened up, and that's when the shot rang out. If it had happened a second sooner, I would've got it in the head." (Q: "And where were you hit?") "In the leg. Here, above the knee. And now... when someone shoots you, you don't feel it. I would never have thought that - I always said that to die by a bullet must be a great death. You don't feel it at all. I even started walking. I was walking, there was snow, it was in January. And suddenly I see there's blood in my footsteps, right, drops of blood. I roll up my trousers, because we only had socks on, well and my whole leg is covered in blood. That's when I just sat down into the snow. Not so much from pain, but from what had happened. Well and she started to shout: 'Jesus Christ, I shot a ward!' And she rushed up the hill to the monastery, some one hundred metres, there's a clinic for those tick diseases there now. She rushed up there, then the wardens rushed down here, they made a seat from their arms and took me to the monastery. And now there wasn't a doctor anywhere, just a vet. This Hungarian chap. So they called the vet, and he said: 'That went right through. She has to go to hospital.' So they took me to Písek to hospital, this one foreman Mr. Štěrbáček accompanied me, he was a dear, really... But he isn't alive any more. If I knew where, I'd put a flower on his grave. And the vet came as well. They took me to Písek and in the hospital they immediately put me in isolation, I had to have the room to myself. A warden with me day and night, and maybe she would disappear for an hour or two. And the people there were great. When they saw she was going to the toilet, say, then someone came along and gave me some food in the bedside table. But I couldn't eat it when she was there - oh the nerves. Well, and that's where I was... They gave me penicillin. And all I know is that at the time the doctor there told me that in the army, they would pay millions for a shot like that, because it went through a centimetre away from the artery, and it just passed through the flesh."

  • "(Q: "Did you have any siblings?") "Well, I have a sister and a brother. They were imprisoned with us too. They took us all in, the whole family. They came in the night and said: 'Don't take anything with you, you'll be back in an hour, we need to ask you some questions.' Well, and it took Mum twelve years and me five years. My brother and sister were sent home after the seven months of trial. Also: if they hadn't had aunts, they would've been let out into the streets, they couldn't care less where the children went. Those were terrible times. We couldn't go to our flat, nothing. We had the one clothes they arrested us in, for like a month, because they sealed off the flat, they couldn't get to our clothes, so they needed to go through the whole requesting permission ordeal, just to get us something to change into and send us to Block Four [Čtyřka] and Pankrác. So they allowed them to take a sweater or so, a few panties, just the minimum. It weighed two, three kilos, like nothing. Well, and the two of them got free and they had nothing. The aunts lived on a small pension, it was all such an awful life. I say: maybe I had it better in prison, at least they clothed me, even if it was their awful uniform, at least one was kind of sheltered there..."

  • (Q: "Was there any kind of disciplinary action, like correctional punishment in the men's camps?") "I can tell you that, it was this same warden Pešek who picked me out once, that I'd carry food to the dark room. In Pankrác. So he picked me out, and I can tell you, it was something all right. We went - I don't really know which way he took me, there were stairs down, it was dark, he opened a door and there was a woman there, completely naked, kind of black hair, inside the cell, I just got a glance - a hole in the floor for a toilet, no bed, nothing, and she completely naked. That was in the winter. I had brought her a bowl of soup, so I passed it to her and we left. And that time I said to myself: I mustn't provoke Pešek. Because if he puts me down here, I'll go crazy. And then we saw her when they took her up some two weeks later, they were carrying her on a stretcher, along the corridor. I recognised her by her hair, but she was a ruined person. I reckoned that in that dark room... with no windows, nothing. Terrible. I said to myself: No, I couldn't take that. And I got real frightened of Pešek. And you see, nothing happened to him either. And they told me later on that this woman had been pregnant, and that they had forced her down there in such a way that she lost her child in the dark room."

  • "Usually they were village girls. I think they were the type that didn't want to work, like in their village. Because they weren't doing anything in the centre. They stood and aped, if you excuse the word. Didn't do a thing, and they were so, well, primitive. When they shot me, they wanted to blame it on me trying to run. And at the time, foreman Štěrbáček stood up for me and said: 'Well you can't do that. The girl's supposed to go home, you can't want her to get another five years for attempting to escape!' And the one warden said: 'Well look, this is a matter of one of our comrades, and Vokálová is dirt-hugging class enemy.' So they would've doomed without a second thought. But the warden's mum (of the one who shot me) came to visit me and she brought me a box of cakes, like, like she was apologising. But for the girl herself to apologise..." (Q: "Did any of them behave nicely to you?") "Yes. In Hradec Králové the head warden, she was an old lady, she was about sixty. She was kind of nice. We used to get together in the evening to do some lovely three-voice singing, and she always said: 'My girls, do stop already, so there's no trouble.' So she was nice to us, yes. And then the one who escorted me, she was quite nice too. The one at Pankrác who brought me some pills, but otherwise..."

  • "Well, they took us to Block Four, and they put us straight into one cell, my Mum, sister and myself, and they took my brother to the Karlák. We didn't find that out until later, that he was at the Karlák, not at Block Four. And I didn't even know when they brought in Choc, right. But our song was O sole mio. I used to play the piano, I wanted to study at a conservatory, and our song, as in of us two, that was O sole mio. And suddenly, that was sometime after the second of June, at Block Four... It was awful. There were twelve of us, or how many, when they put us there. Twelve women... The smell... The toilet was just this shack, there were all these prostitutes and thieves and everything. One bucket, one basin to wash in. Just terrible. If you come from such luxury. Well, luxury - from a standard. You're used to showering in evening, morning... That was maybe the worst of it. We slept three to a bed and in such a way that two slept one way and the third slept with her head at the others' feet and we had her feet at our heads. And then they started interrogating us, and those were mostly night interrogations. They kept wanting to know where Choc was, and I simply really did not know, because, if they had just thought about it - even if he did have some sort of mission, would he be telling it to a seventeen-year-old girl?" (Q: "How old was he?") "Twenty-five. Twenty-three. He was born 1925, so he was twenty-three at the time." (Q: "How long did you stay in Pankrác?") "Well, in Bartholomew Street... We, I want to tell you this, our song was O sole mio, suddenly this one night we're listening. We used to secretly open up our ventilator during the evenings, and suddenly we hear someone whistling O sole mio. So I knew he was there. And then we kept in touch using songs, every evening. It was like... Not really that we would send messages like that, but one evening, that was about a quarter year later, some three months, and he called out: 'Evey, you're all going home on Friday. I signed everything they gave me, you're all going home.' Well, because it was a huge number of people who had been involved with him that they had gathered up. I don't know, they must've followed them from the borders. They must've tracked them from the moment they crossed the borders."

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When I was saying goodbye to Choc in the death row - I felt then that I really needed my mom the most.

DUSKOVA-FOTO.jpg (historic)
Eva Dušková, roz. Vokálová
zdroj: autor: Vavřinec Menšl

Eva Dušková, née Vokálová, was born on November 11, 1931 in Prague into the family of the builder and architect František Vokál (died 1943). After the war his wife Ludmila rented out the basement of their villa to technical students studying in Prague. Through them, Eva became acquainted with Miloslav Choc, a student and functionary of the national socialists. Choc crossed the borders in the spring of 1948, with the intention of emigrating. He later decided to join the resistance and he returned entrusted with several missions. After the May murder of Augustin Schramm, an important functionary of the partisan movement and Security Major, Choc was accused of the murder, and arrested in Olomouc on the 2nd of June. Shortly before his arrest, State Security also arrested his girlfriend‘s family. Choc was sentenced to death and executed on the 11th of February 1949. Eva and Ludmila Vokálová were also sent to prison as associates. Eva spent five years in juvenile detention centres in Hradec Králové, Kostelec nad Orlicí (based in Doudleby), in the juvenile girls‘ detention centre in Lnáře and the centre in Zámrsk. Her mother was not released from prison until 1960, dying soon after from the effects of the long imprisonment and slave-like working conditions.