Ukrainian mothers with children live in the castle. Hundreds of people took refuge in Rožmberk

The first mothers with strollers show up at the castle, on the road that winds behind the stone tower of Jakobínek. It is in the building above Jakobínka that the entrance to a huge castle is located, which can accommodate up to a hundred beds.

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“Historically it is a newer part of the castle, in fact it is a castle,” explained Rožmberk Mayor Bohuslav Čtveráček. “This is a Czech Post accommodation facility, owned by the Interior Ministry. I contacted the Post Office if they were considering offering the accommodation to the refugees. They confirmed that they “had done and that they were working on it. We offered to help with organizational matters. There are currently 91 mothers with children.”

Czech village in Ukraine

“And more will come,” added Evgenia Polishchuk, one of the new residents who, thanks to her good knowledge of Czech, took on the role of chief “liaison officer”.

“Three will arrive tomorrow – a mother with two children. They are also from the region of the town of Malína and the village of Malinovky near Žitomir, where we also come from. We are Czechs from Volhynia. Malinovka is a village Czech, which was founded in Ukraine by the Czechs in 1871. It was really Czech until 1990, until the explosion of Chernobyl. Then a large part of the Czechs left. The current families of the Czechs of Volhynia are already mixed, but they still understand Czech, even if they don’t speak Czech.”

On the ground floor, families have large spaces with historic wooden castle floors. A group of women sit with Ms. Evgenia at a table in one, working with the mayor on operational matters.

“The last days after the arrival of the families were eventful”, says Bohuslav Čtveráček. “The first concern was to transport them from Planá airport to the regional check-in centre. We did it with the help of sponsors. They spent the whole day there before everything was settled. Then, they had to open bank accounts, register with the employment agency in order to be able to benefit from a first humanitarian aid. It is not easy, various difficulties arise, and conditions often change as the state tries to simplify everything. So we have to work things out gradually, it’s an everyday job,” explained the martyred daily.

The post office ensured the entire operation of the building, including the catering. Meals are provided by the hotel in town and transported upstairs to the property’s dining room. Great help also comes from the people of Rožmberk. “Citizens responded immediately, so we have no material needs at the moment,” the mayor said. “They also provided food and hygiene products for young children and babies of several months. So we have the first phase behind us, and now we are starting our daily routine. We are learning everything.”

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The city has set up a transparent collection account, as help will be needed in the coming days. The surrounding villages and towns are also ready to help financially, because Rožmberk itself, together with the settlement of Přízeř, has 375 inhabitants, and now it has suddenly added a hundred. The primary school in Vyšší Brod will gradually take over the education of the children.

Ukrainian mothers are happy in the castle. “The rooms and linen are clean, everyone is great, they help us, they do a lot for us,” says Evgenia Polishchuk. “We are fine here, nobody is shooting here. We like the city very much, but we would rather come here on vacation than in such a situation. I cannot even express how grateful we are to the people for their care. ”

Children and mothers are a little bored

They admit that by not having any activity yet, the children and the mothers are a little bored. Therefore, they try to entertain children with competitions, a teacher from Vyšší Brod once visited them. They specified the number of children per class to schedule their schooling. Ten children could go to kindergarten when their mother starts working. Women are happy to help somewhere if possible. “We also have a room like a children’s playroom, which is full of toys, as well as painting supplies,” Ms. Evgenia explained.

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She packed the notes first. The pianist was expelled from Ukraine by the war and is now played by the Czechs

“We have already taken out health insurance, so we will be going to the pediatrician with the children tomorrow. Some are cold because of how much time we have spent in the basements at home. It seems that the children are coming to stay abroad when they have their mothers side by side. The older children have it in their heads as they will with their studies. But today they are supposed to set up the Internet here, so they can learn a bit online.”

The women have a meeting every night to discuss what to do next. Everyone wants to learn Czech. “All the families here work really hard,” says Evgenia.

They stayed in Malinovka until the last moment

The women and children of Rožmberk Castle waited in Malinovka until the last moment. “Bombs fell from planes, houses in our village are smashed and destroyed,” said Evgenia Polishchuk.

“We also have dead people in the village. The old people and the men stayed there because they can’t leave. We always hoped that Putin would calm down and that we wouldn’t have to run anywhere. The trip here took us a day and a half. Our region is about 60 km from the Chernobyl zone and about a hundred kilometers from kyiv. The attackers advanced around us to kyiv. We shot a lot at our place. Some of us have houses at home, some have had, but they are already destroyed.Here sits Jula, who was bombed in the house the day we got the visa.So now he thinks of where he is going. But we thank the Lord God that no one was there. Her husband left the house twenty minutes before the explosion. We pray and hope that we will have a place to return to.

That’s why women want to work here. He knows that when they go back home they won’t have any money, so they would like to earn something here. After all, why are they going to repair or build damaged houses?

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