The first days of the war.
We all woke up simultaneously and ran to the same room. My husband nervously walked back and forth, whispering: «Bastard, Bastard, Bastard, Bastard …»
I looked at our grandchildren, our frightened daughter, and our teenage son. At that moment, I didn’t know that we would flee the next day. Everyone randomly threw things in bags, and I took everything from the refrigerator. We stayed for three days at the Polish border, and I didn’t sleep at all because we were moving forward every five minutes.
Sitting in the car for the two nights, memories came back to me of my family. My grandmother, Anna, was Czech, and died of a terrible disease when I was a child. I never saw her, but I’ve always felt she’s my guardian angel. I named my daughter after my grandmother because I loved the stories about her from my mother and the people from the same village, who used to say: «Your grandmother was a great hostess: amazing pastry-maker, bread-maker, and craftswoman».
I know a lot of my talents came from her. I remembered my grandfather, Volodymyr, her husband, who fought in the Czech Army of Ludwig Svoboda against the Nazis during World War II. His stories about the concentration camps, how the prisoners ate the grass they pulled out from the other side of the net fence, and how Anna fed them all, throwing the food over from the other side of the wall.
I remember my grandfather’s blue wounded feet and how I gave him a pan to spit in because he contracted tuberculosis in the concentration camp and was sick for the rest of his life. I am grateful to my Polish neighbors, who carried out large-scale volunteer work, preparing food, giving clothes and everything we needed to live, and offering services to send people to different parts of Poland and abroad.
Thanks to the Pole, who gave me a whole net of tangerines because there was only one left on the box of cookies, and I greedily took it because I wanted real food, and he brought a whole set of beads. I remember this moment warmly. I didn’t know if I’d be able to drive a few hundred kilometers, and in order not to fall asleep, I sprayed myself with propolis spray, which I’d thrown in my pocket because it was just sitting there on the kitchen table.
I have never tasted such fresh clean water until now in a hotel in the Czech Republic, and I have never had such a soft bed as here. Thank you for giving me a place along with thousands of other people like me. I pay homage to my family in the Czech Republic, whom I found two years ago and had never seen before, but they were ready even to shelter my friends. I eagerly anticipated seeing them, and I knew this was happiness.
I never cursed anyone, but now I say: «May you choke, Putin, you parasite! May you suffocate like Hitler! May your power crush you!»
And I shout out to the whole of Europe: «At dawn on February 24, Russia dropped bombs on all major Ukrainian cities, neutralizing airfields and military units. This is an illegal invasion of a prosperous, independent, and peaceful country! This is hell for ordinary people because innocent women and children are dying! This is the genocide of the Ukrainian people! Stop the war!»