We were prepared, if someone would fall, we would take their place
Lieutenant (ret.) Josef Adámek was born on 2 January 1920 in the village of Chřešťovice near Písek. His father was a carpenter and his mother was a housewife. Josef Adámek trained as a joiner and then worked in Podolí and Milevsko. Then he received a summons to forced labour. His destination was Berlin, where he was to be supervised by the Todt Organisation. From there he was commandeered to build the Atlantic Wall in northern France, which was supposed to aid the Nazis in their defence against the expected Allied invasion. While there, the witness got in touch with French Macquis partisans, who wanted to liberate France from Nazism. When the Allied assault began and the Nazis started falling back to Germany, Josef Adámek deserted to Canadian units in September 1944. He was ferried to England, and after a brief stay in a POW camp he signed up to the Czechoslovak army. He underwent tank training in Britain at Duns near Edinburgh, Scotland, he then served on patrol duty at Southend-on-Sea in the south-east of England. He finally embarked to Ostend in Belgium, subsequently moving on to the French port of Dunkirk. He served as the driver of an American Stuart light tank with the 3rd Tank Battalion, which was kept in reserve at St Omer. When the fighting ceased, he traversed the ruins of Germany to the Horažďovice in West Bohemia; after the demobilisation he moved to Trutnov, where he worked as a joiner. He then returned to his native village in South Bohemia, keeping to the same profession. In the last years of his life he moved to a nursing home in Písek, where he died on 20 July 2013, aged 93.