In the midst of the forest, 5 km south-east from Příbram, at the boundary of the Lazsko, Lešetice and Zavržice villages' areas, on the place which was famous for occurrence of iron, silver and uranium ores, there used to be a labour camp built by German war prisoners between 1947 and 1949. It was named after the Vojna Mountain (666 m) dominated near-by. Analogous camps were also in the Jáchymov and Slavkov Districts close to the deposits of strategic uranium ore.
In consequence of the Communist coup-d'état in February 1948 and the change of the social and juridical situation in the country the new government decided to fill the Vojna Prison Camp with so called 'charges' of the hard labour camp. They were people who were interned without any trial, contrary to the law, because of their political opinion. Stage by stage the biggest hard labour camp originated in the area of the uranium mining in Czechoslovakia.
In 1951 the Vojna Hard Labour Camp was reorganized and converted into the Vojna Reformatory Hard Labour Camp and its contemporary identification was NPT-U. Actually it was a prison. Its 'charges' were first of all '... the most dangerous offenders, dangerous especially for the state ...'. Actually they were advocates of democracy accused in framed-up lawsuits and interned for 10 and more years, most often they were guilty of treason, attempted treason, aiding to treason, espionage, an attempt to leave the republic illegally, subversive activities (especially according to the 231/1948 Act about protection of people's democratic republic and according to the 86/1950 Act). The prisoners who served their execution of punishment were also criminals, old lags and those accused of illicit trade.
We can read in the records of the Central Archives of Prison Attendance of Czechoslovakia that in the Vojna Hard Labour Camp there were 719 prisoners by September 1, 1952, 964 prisoners by March 1, 1953 and 1517 prisoners by July 1, 1956. On the last mentioned date the control over the prison camp was transferred from the range of the Prison Institution in Ostrov nad Ohří to the Regional Administration of the Ministry of the Interior in Prague. By agreement on October 21, 1949 and the resulting arrangement on July 28, 1950 among the Ministry of Justice, the Command of the Prison Guard Corps and the Czechoslovak Mining State Enterprise for engaging prisoners for work, the convicted persons worked in the Příbram uranium mines and at building the new part of the town.
In connection with the decrease of prisoners after the amnesty in 1960 and considering the running of the prison, the Vojna Hard Labour Camp was disestablished on June 1, 1961. The rest of prisoners were transferred to the near Bytíz Hard Labour Camp (its contemporary identification was NPT-Z). The prison has been working so far but in different circumstances. In 1961 - 2000 the Vojna area was used by the Army.
The irony of fate is the fact that many heroes of anti-fascist resistance were working in the camp along with their opponents, war criminals, the members of the Nazi apparatus, collaborators and traitors, who, in many cases, were installed in positions of kapo maliciously. Utterly innocent people languished in prison because of their democratic opinions.
The area of the former Vojna Hard Labour Camp is the last place where the authentic prison buildings from the time of Communist persecution are preserved. The Czech government decided, by the resolution No. 609 on June 6, 1999, to build a Memorial as a pious place reminding of suffering of citizens during the time of Communist despotism. The decision was confirmed by the resolution No. 264 on March 15, 2000.
The project was financially supported by the Ministry of Culture, the Region of Middle Bohemia, the District Authorities of Příbram, the Confederacy of Political Prisoners of the Czech Republic, the town of Příbram and the town of Neratovice. The political prisoners participated in it as well. The reconstruction of a part of the former hard labour camp was followed by setting a thematic exhibition in its area.
The Memorial became a branch of the Mining Museum in Příbram and it was established in cooperation with the Museum of the Third Resistance in Příbram and the Confederacy of Political Prisoners of the Czech Republic. Among 16 preserved buildings which are historically most significant the visitors can see the headquarters of the camp, a correction, a bunker, a leisure centre, a housing estate 'G', a sickroom and some others. The objects were situated between the former uranium shafts Vojna I and Vojna II.
In January 2001 the area was proclaimed a Cultural Monument and on May 18, 2005, on the International Museum Day, it was inaugurated and opened to public. The Vojna Memorial was visited by Prof. Václav Klaus, President of the Czech Republic, on October 6, 2005. Since March 28, 2006, Gallery of contemporary art called Orbis Pictus: Europa is a part of the museum.