Jaroslav Dlouhý

* 1919  †︎ Neznámý

  • “You know, when the Germans were retreating, whatever was left behind by them was thrown onto a huge pile. And we used these scraps to assemble bicycles from it. So we rode either bicycles or trains.”

  • “That every young man should be grateful that he lives in his own country and not abroad. That he is at home. When he is abroad, nothing can compensate for that.”

  • “The request of the Volyně people was that we would get all of the Žatec region to settle. But this was not possible, there were not only Germans, but some locals who had lived there for long. And you cannot move these people.”

  • “We were terribly tired and we were allowed to rest. It was near brickworks, so we got in and found a place to sleep wherever possible. The next day, I woke up around ten o’clock, all of our soldiers were gone and I heard German being spoken around me. So I spent one more day in there, thinking I would manage to meet our troops at night. But this did not happen, they were already far away, and so I stayed with the Germans. They already found me and guarded me.”

  • “My first experience with the communists comes from 1941 when I was in the Russian army. And then, you now, people here were all excited about the Russians, the communists. They have already taken over some land. And they pressed us to join them. But I said that we were happy that we have finally separated from them, and that they should not expect us to join them. Whatever they had given us, they took it away later.”

  • “Before I managed to escape the Germans, my body was already swollen with hunger. The Germans did not give us much food. You could get a drink of some water you found, but if it was foul, you were sick again. This was bad. When we were passing through a village, there were Russian, Ukrainian grandmothers and they would sometimes secretly give us a cooked potato. But it was dangerous; when you marched you could not step out of the row. The Germans were feeding us some hodgepodge, potato peels with pollard, and they ate the potatoes themselves.”

  • “Just before Christmas we started taking control of Liptovský Mikuláš. The sub-machine gun unit was already dissolved by then, so I was assigned to a motorized unit. Originally there were about one thousand of them, but during my last attack, there was only a platoon of us left.”

  • “When I was in my uncle’s place, there was a town called Mizoč, and the town had a sugar refinery. In autumn, I was riding a horse-drawn wagon, bringing sugar beet to this refinery. One time I heard shooting and I stopped on the top of a hill and saw people running around, like chased hares, and the Germans shooting at them. They wiped out the entire town.”

  • “At night, about three of us jumped off the train. We came to some village, there was a barn, and so we got in, hid in hay and spent the night there. In the morning I looked out, about twenty metres from the barn there was a house. So I started to run, I did not know whether there were not Germans around. I ran inside the house and I was lucky, these were good people. Luckily I spoke Polish well, so they thought I was Polish. They gave me some clothing to change into, then we went to the barn and they also found a place for the others.”

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    Milešov, 02.06.2003

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The next day I woke up around ten o‘clock. All of our soldiers were gone and I heard German being spoken around me. So I spent one more day in there, thinking at night I would be able to get back to the Russians again.

Jaroslav Dlouhý was born in a family of Czechs from the Volyně region. His father was a joiner, (an artisan who works with wood), a trade all his sons were expected to master. In 1939 Volyň became occupied by the Soviet Union, forcing Mr. Dlouhý to join the Red Army in March of 1941. When the war with Germany broke out, the Red Army began to retreat and in autumn of the same year Mr. Dlouhý was captured by the Germans. He managed to escape, and spent six months hiding with a Polish family. After gaining the courage to travel back home, he voluntarily joined Svoboda´s army. His first combat experience took place at Dukla, where he was wounded. Afterwards he joined the unit again, this time during the fighting for Liptovský Mikuláš. After the war he had a family and settled in northern Bohemia. First he worked as an independent farmer, then he was forced to join the collectivized agricultural commune. He now lives in a retirement home in Milešov.