'I have long since crossed out the word "next time" from my vocabulary'
Hanuš Adamec was born on the 20th of November, 1928. As he himself says, he was born in Bohemia but his home is Europe. He comes from a family with Czech roots which had been fully integrated into the German environment of inter-war Ústí nad Labem. His father, a clerk at the municipality, opted for Czech nationality in 1934. But given his public office, he raised his family in a nationally neutral way. The Adamec family did not take part in public associations, they were practicing Christians and Hanuš's father was a member of the Social Democrats. Hanuš was sent to German schools and his sister to Czech ones. They would speak German at home but all of them were fluent in Czech and the family had friends among both Czechs and Germans. After the secession of Sudetenland to Germany, they automatically became German citizens. In order to be admitted to a business college he had to join the Hitlerjugend. With the development of the war his father was enlisted and served as a clerk in Litoměřice and later in Krakow. Hanuš Adamec observed his older friends leaving for the front. He saw it as something inevitable. After schools closed down in 1944 he went to a labour office and took up job as an inspector in a factory in Teplice. He worked alongside people who were serving in forced labour. His colleagues cried when he left with his draft card in hand. In April 1945, he marched next to his friend, armed with a rifle without ammunition and a bicycle from Chemnitz towards the battlefront. They escaped from the boys convoy and in the upcoming chaos they managed to get safely back home. In the summer of 1945, Hanuš , his younger sister and his parents waited, their suitcases packed. Through the window, they saw the departure of many familiar faces. When the Czech guards came, they took them by surprise with their fluent Czech and with portraits of Edvard Beneš and Joseph Stalin hanging on their kitchen wall. One of the guards knew the family and convinced his colleagues to let them stay. At present, Hanuš Adamec is a member of a regional committee for national minorities.