“[I was] flea-bitten, so I couldn’t go off on any kommando work. I stayed [in the Small Fortress] for a few days, so it could heal up, and then I went to the Reichsbahn. I was there for some weeks. [Then there was] Fruta in Lovosice, and about three weeks, before they released us, so we worked in various kommandos that were in Terezín. On the fields. Or there’s a well-known swimming pool, which is ascribed to the Roudnice students. They started doing groundwork on it at that time.”
“We’d go to the Reichsbahn in Litoměřice, to the upper station, and from there we’d walk all the way to the Small Fortress. They herded us across the training grounds and had their fun with us as much as possible. If you recall the place, there are mills there. You’d come up from the Litoměřice Basin, which led toward Terezín, round the back of Terezín, and round the mills to the Small Fortress. The mills were on the extension of the road that led from the Small Fortress to the river, where it curved to the right. We walked round that way, and our parents and relatives were waiting for us there. That was the only thing we were looking forward to. To seeing them.”
“I was born in Roudnice nad Labem, which is also where I attended a technical school that had moved there from Chomutov and Most after the border regions were annexed. When we were in the second year, on the twentieth of June 1942, the sixth and seventh years [of the eight-year grammar school], and the second year of the technical school were taken to Terezín for purely hobby reasons. Our activity was [ironically speaking] that we had been drawing the state of military operations on our desks, and so on. But our second year of technical school was pretty much locked up as part of the operation targeting the sixth and seventh years [of grammar school].”
“The worst for us was the first three or four weeks after our arrival. They had us in focus, so they let us feel it. But then, when they split us up into the kommandos, no one knew about the roudnických students anymore.”
“Those they released were not allowed to study any secondary school or university, instead they were required to take up work duties in various [menial jobs], in mines, at steelworks, and so on. I was assigned to civil engineering works with a group of nine other boys at the WIFO factory in Hněvice, near Roudnice nad Labem, and we stayed there until the end of the war. But they didn’t check on us much after a year.”
You had to maintain a look that didn’t draw any attention, so the attention wouldn’t turn into special care
Colonel (ret.) Václav Čmuchař was born on 26 August 1925 in Roudnice nad Labem. His father worked as a plasterer and his mother was in agriculture. The witness attended primary school in Roudnice and then moved on to the local upper technical school. On 20 June 1942, as a second-year student at technical school, he was arrested and taken to the Small Fortress in Terezín for alleged resistance activities as part of the persecution of Roudnice students. He was assigned to Aussenkommandos (external work teams), first building the Reichsbahn in Ústí nad Labem and then working at Fruta in Lovosice. On 26 November 1942, he was released from the Small Fortress in Terezín, but he was obliged to apply at the Gestapo station in Kladno and then the employment office in Roudnice nad Labem, where they assigned him to the WIFO factory in Hněvice near Roudnice. He later made pipe fittings in Most. Some of his other relatives were also arrested. Václav Čmuchař took part in the distribution of illegal pamphlets and towards the end of the war he joined the Revolutionary National Guard. In July 1945 he began his studies at a technical school in Ústí nad Labem, which culminated in his successful graduation on 19 July 1946. He then applied to the Military Academy in Hranice, from which he graduated in 1948 at the rank of lieutenant. He served as the second-in-command of an artillery regiment, and after completing a political academy, he served as a political officer from 1960. He settled down in Příbram, where he lived until his death on 12 January 2015.