Václav Fiala

* 1921  †︎ 2009

  • “There was great misery. Fist came the Russians. They negotiated with Hitler the division of Poland – one half for the Germans and the other for the Russians. We were under the Soviets so they came there and gave us bewildering looks. They started to set up the JZD (collective farming – note by the translator) and other weird things and the relations were strained. They stayed there for a while, made us dig trenches, collect fire wood and other strange things. Then the Germans came, made us work for them and looted our villages. They dismantled the house, my parents didn’t have anywhere to live, we were on the battlefront just some 50 kilometers away. They took machines from people because they needed them for the JZD, for the “kolkhoz”, so they just stole it from us. They took my fertilizer machine and my beating machine. They also took my truck, they took everything they could.”

  • “Everybody was handed it out, the commanders as well as the rank and file soldiers. I had watch and had to operate the radio so they could drink and I couldn’t. They were bringing it from the food wagon. They brought a lot and were giving it out. It was clear to us that something was coming, that it was there. This was to bolster our fighting spirit, our courage. Hooray, hooray! When it was cold we were given a deciliter, before an attack we got more.”

  • “When operating the radio device, you always had to watch your time. We were rotating after two hours of sleep – one was sleeping and the other one had watch duty. The time was passing by. It was hard. You had to move all of your gear and radio equipment – the radio set, the battery, your rifle, a shovel, it was 17 kilos altogether. You had to carry all of this with you at all times. I was very tired during the transfers. Once I wanted to rest for a while so put the radio set on a tree stump. This stump held for a while but as it was rotten inside it suddenly gave way and I rolled down a 15-20 meter slope with all of the radio equipment. They didn’t see me for a while as the slope was densely overgrown with shrubs. I had to climb all the way up again. It’s interesting, however, that although I was badly scratched and bruised, after we put in the battery back in the radio set it worked perfectly well. It survived the fall!”

  • “The end of war was still out of sight. We got to Vsetín in Moravia. We assumed our position along the road. Suddenly, the radio operators were announcing that the war was over. So after an hour both sides started to fire their weapons into the sky as a sign of happiness over the end of the war. Well, there were still some who weren’t happy with it and our casualties kept mounting even after the end of the war. So this was the end. From Vsetín they sent us to Prague to stay overnight and then they sent us to the north of Bohemia to wipe out some remaining groups of German soldiers in the forests there.”

  • “I enrolled to the army on April 17, 1944. The whole village enrolled. It was near the main town Luck in the Ukraine. We did our military training there and then they transferred us to Bessarabia in Romania. After training we marched in night time to the Polish border. I signed up for the signalmen. Later they needed a radio operator so I applied. We had to learn the Morse code in Russian. Then I got to the reconnaissance unit – it was called SPO. The captain was a certain Hynek. The unit was 800 men strong but day after day we were fewer and fewer due to hour heavy fighting losses. After two months of heavy fighting on the battlefront, around 7 to 8 were left.”

  • “I had all kinds of experiences. I needed a battery for my radio set. These batteries were located in another camp. So I went there on foot in order to have my radio in good condition, to hear the signal clearly. On the way back I met one of our horse-drawn carriages supplieng the troops with food, munitions and various other equipment. He gave me a ride on the back of the carriage. As we were approaching the battle line there was a bang, the horses fell to the ground and the coachman fell down as well. I jumped off the wagon and continued on foot to my unit.”

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    ČR, 24.09.2005

    délka: 01:07:52
    nahrávka pořízena v rámci projektu Stories of 20th Century
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We didn’t have anything to do so we dug fifty covered dug-outs around the village

Václav Fiala in 1945
Václav Fiala in 1945
zdroj: archív pamětníka

Václav Fiala was born on September 28, 1921, in the village of Kupičov in Volhynia. He grew up in an agricultural family and environment. From 1943 to 1944 he came together with his fellow townsfolk from Kupičov to protect the village from Hitler‘s army. In the spring of 1944 he was sent to training in the town of Luck and then he was transferred to Bessarabia. After his training he was with the signalmen, then with the radio operators and eventually he became a member of the 2nd infantry battalion. He took part in the battles for Dukla and later he guarded the frontline in Vsetín. He saw the end of war in the north of Bohemia. He served in the army till 1946, then he returned to farming.