In the Wehrmacht by age sixteen
František Bocek was born in 1928 in the village of Bukovec (Bukowiec) nearby Jablunkov. František never got to see his father because his father left Czechoslovakia shortly before his birth to go to Uruguay to make money for the family. František only sent a couple of letters to his father before he stopped writing him. The family stopped receiving news from him and today they still don‘t know what happened to him. After the Munich conference Poland annexed the region of Silesia including the village of Bukovec. Shortly after the beginning of World War II Nazi Germany occupied Silessia as well as the rest of Poland. This included the village of Bukovec, as it was integrated into Upper Silesia. Therefore, both of František‘s brothers were forced to enlist in the Wehrmacht and go to war. Antonín came back, but Josef was captured by the Soviets and deported to Siberia. Here he spent over eight years in various Gulag camps. During this time his family had absolutely no information about him. After he was released and transferred to East Germany, he was being closely surveyed by the East German secret service (Stasi) till the collapse of the regime. In late 1944 - at the age of 16 - František Bocek had to enroll into the Wehrmacht as well. He saw action in nearby Königsberg (Kaliningrad) serving as a cannon munitions supplier for a Flak 88 cannon. He also fought at Katowice and Nuremberg. An American pilot nearly shot him in the village of Schwandorf. After the end of the fighting he was interned in Kulmbach. He was subsequently released but wasn‘t allowed to leave the American zone of Germany. He spent some time in Bavaria working on a farm, but he ran away and made his way back home. Shortly after the war the whole family moved to Vápenná, in the region of Jesenicko. Today he lives in Javorník.