Elvijs*, Latvia

Elvijs was a bus driver and 34 years old when he was ordered to go to Chernobyl as a liquidator. He had 24 hours to pack his things. That was two years after the accident. Dita Betere, whose mother works with Elvijs, wrote down his fascinating story.

I spoke to Elvijs in his office. He was happy that I came to talk to him because he works as a guard in a Bread factory and doesn’t have much to do during the day ☺ so we talked for 4 hours. For 4 hours! (I think it’s a lot. Well, we didn’t talk about Chernobyl all the time, a lot of different topics were discussed that day). During our conversation only 3 people stopped by. I don’t think it disturbed him from digging in his memories, though. He really was willing to talk. And this place was the only possible way to conduct the interview because it was his last working day and on the next day he went to a town that’s on the other side of Latvia.

My time witness refused to be photographed, but I’ll give you a short description. When I entered the room I was surprised that he’s the one I’m going to interview, he really didn’t look like a 56-year-old man. His skin looked definitely better than that of some 40-year-olds. He was wearing a hat, but when he took it down, a hairless top of the head appeared (he’s not completely bald). As he confessed, he’s really sad about the loss of his hair because he ”had such lovely, thick hair”.

Read the full interview