Čestmír Forbelský

* 1924  †︎ 2016

  • „My father, manufacturer Sýkora and some Brunno had a channel, where they helped people to get to Switzerland. Brunno was then caught at the border, of course by the gestapo, he was tortured and told them everything. The gestapo came for my dad and he started shaking like this... They took our home library apart and made a big mess of it and took daddy with them. I was still at work, not at home. Dad sent a message to mum, that he´s going to be interrogated some place I think in Liberec gestapo, and he´d return shorty. But we haven’t seen him anymore, and I did in Tanvald only later, when they allowed me an interview. Interrogations... and Brunno was sent to death penalty, he was shot or hanged, and dad and Sýkora got twenty years each for high treason against the Third Reich. They were tried at the Volksgericht, a public court in Genshagenu, some place near the lakes in Berlin. And both got twenty years in prison.

  • „We were leading captives (German). For example those from Jičín brought captives to Liberec. We accommodated them in huge gymnasiums divided to boys and girls sections. They got little something to ear and in the morning we took them over. We marched with them to Semily on foot, there we handed them over to people from Semily and they marched on to Tanvald then those Germans marched on foot almost to Siberia. And those six German guys were pulling a rack wagon, carrying those who fell or could not march anymore. We would not shoot them, like those on death marches. We put them on those wagons and they pulled them further.“

  • „We had lagers together with the Germans, with central heating and common canteen with Germans. We went to the window and we got a plate and put some kind of their food onto it. It was a real huge eatery... a hall, a line in between and long tables on right and left. We Czechs were separating, we´d go right and the Germans left. Although even there (on right) the Germans went too, as we didn’t take all the seats. So that´s where we ate. It was kind of a rare that cooks were giving out unpeeled potatoes. When you carried it in a bowl, you´d have to peel it with your meal. Mostly we got some kind of a mixture eintopf. We piled all the peelings together and when a Russian got amongst us, we hid him. But a German cook marched along the long passage with a bit hat and a wooden spoon. He checked us and when he saw Russian, we had to let him out. And he (the cook) beat him with the spoon and chased him out.“

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    Liberec, bydliště pamětníka, 30.01.2016

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“There are things I would surely do another way.”

26 - Military service in 1945
26 - Military service in 1945
zdroj: archiv pamětníka

Čestmír Forbelský was born on the 8th of September, 1924 in Lomnice nad Popelkou to the family of Antonín and Marie, née Vágnerová, Forbelský. He spent his youth in his hometown where he attended school and apprenticed as a locksmith in 1942. He was a member of organisations like the Scouts and Sokol. In 1943, his father, Antonín, was arrested and imprisoned by the Gestapo due to resistance activities. In 1944, Čestmír was sent to complete forced labour in Velké Hamry and Smržovka. He was later moved to Germany to the Opel factory in Rüsselsheim near Frankfurt am Main. Here, he worked on the construction and control of aircraft engines. He experienced bombing by Allied air troops. After the war, he was called to serve in the military, during which he took part in the displacement of Germans from the Czech borderlands. During his studies at the industrial school in Mladá Boleslav and due to post-war enthusiasm, in 1946 he entered the Communist party which he remained a member until 1968. He worked as a director of Liberec´ Vodovody a kanalizace. In protest against the invasion of Warsaw Pact troops into the Czech lands in 1968, he left the party and burnt his party registration card. After retiring, he loved to garden and fish. He died in February 2016.