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Jaroslav Bukovský (1940) - Biography

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Anti-Nazi resistance brought my father all the way to the death row. His life was saved through courage and luck

Jaroslav Bukovský was born on 24 March 1940 in Pilsen, into the family of the engine master Josef Bukovský, who was sentenced to death for his resistance activities in 1944. His father's wartime experiences are the main topic of the witness's recollections. Before Jaroslav was born, his parents lived in the town of Luby (Schönbach at the time) near Cheb. When the Sudetes were being annexed, Josef Bukovský got into trouble with the armed German Freikorps, who wanted to shoot him for having legal possession of a service weapon. His life was saved by a train conductor, who requested him for work duty on a train that took him inland - he did not return to Luby. In Pilsen Josef Bukovská founded a resistance group made up of four railway employees, which was connected to a larger organisation based at the Škoda Works. The main activity of Bukovský's group was railway sabotage, but they also helped the families of resistance fighters. In spring 1944 Josef Bukovský was arrested by the Gestapo. He survived cruel interrogations and internment in Bory Prison, but in December 1944 a Nazi court in Dresden awarded him multiple death sentences. In February 1945 he and other death-row prisoners managed to escape Dresden during an air raid. After a ten-day ordeal full of hardships, suffering from frostbite, he found his way to his brother in Prague, where he remained hidden until the end of the war. When he died in 1996, his son Jaroslav discovered his memoirs of the resistance and decided to pass them on to further generations. The witness followed in his father's footsteps - he graduated from the University of Transportation in Žilina and worked in the administration of Czechoslovak Railways until 1993. He devoted his nonoccupational life to youth work as the leader of a tourist group and in other functions. His four-years-younger brother Stanislav is a prominent artist.

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