Jiří Frank

* 1938

  • “[In the origins of the] TOM group I felt all kinds of pressure on me. We founded the group in 1971 and continued with it. In 1972 there were inspections of all technical-economic workers. I didn’t pass it and our director literally told me: ‘Give notice because if the company fires you then no one will ever hire you again.’ So I quit and still – everywhere I applied I got rejected. ‘After reading your political evaluation we cannot accept you for the required position.’”

  • “I once had a conversation when I was still in the Dřevopodnik company. That they would like to talk to me. – About what? – ‘Well, you’ll learn that when we get there.’ Because I had known it was the State Security and that they sometimes took someone in and never let him go, I told it to my wife. She was pregnant at that time with our daughter Marie. The meeting was by the lime tree near Holajka. A Tatra 603 came and the two of them came out. We said hi to each other. - ‘Come, sit, let’s go.’ We arrived at the Moscow hotel in Zlín, they had their little room there. We were there for two hours. I had one beer on their bill. One of them had a tape recorder and held a microphone down under the table. - ‘You can put the microphone on the table because I have nothing to hide.’ The started, saying I worked in an anti-state Scout group and that I had been seen by the campfire. In short, they just kept repeating that to get something out of me. - ‘Please, if you saw me by the campfire then it must be a photomontage.’ I didn’t know then that it could be a picture from our summer camp. But they corrected it by saying it had been taken on Ing. Vémola’s cottage where I had been part of a group. - ‘But please, where is this supposed cottage of Ing. Vémola? I don’t know.’ And that was the end of my interrogation.”

  • “He went through the entire Eastern Front. He had a map at home, it got lost, where he showed me their advancement. All the battles you read about in the newspaper: Orel, Jazma, he was practically all the way in Moscow. There they had to start gradually retreating back. He didn’t return via Stalingrad but via Kiev and Romania, Yugoslavia, Austria. There they got caught by the U.S. Army. He got to a POW camp in Strasbourg. It was tough, soldiers really died out in great numbers there. They got one blanket against sun, rain and for sleeping. My father was really lucky that he lay near the kettle in which lunch was prepared. As they peeled potatoes, he stuck the skins on the kettle and made something like chips out of it. That’s how he got some extra food. Then he was lucky again when a French businessman came and needed a cabinetmaker. My father was trained in cabinetmaking. So he was picked and taken to the French businessman’s home. There he worked until his repatriation.”

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Both a Scout and a walker

Jiří Frank during his military service (1957-1959)
Jiří Frank during his military service (1957-1959)
zdroj: archiv pamětníka

Jiří Frank was born August 4, 1938 in Holešov into a mixed marriage of Nikolaus Frank from Lindenhau (*1914 in Lipová near Cheb) and Helena, née Patrnková (*1908) from Holešov. His parents met during father’s military service in Kroměříž where Jiří’s mother had worked as a maid. Although his father didn’t know any Czech and mother any German, they married in 1937 and lived together in Holešov for a short period of time. Before Germany took over Sudetenland, Jiří’s mother had followed her husband to his motherland together with her two-months-old baby. After the war had been declared, his father enlisted as a Wehrmacht soldier. He advanced through the Eastern front and was taken captive during a retreat in Austria. Because of certain disagreements with grandparents, Jiří’s mother and Jiří moved to Kozolupy near Plzeň during the war, where they lived until father’s return in 1947. After he had been repatriated, Jiří’s father acquired Czechoslovak citizenship. After a short time living in Plzeň they returned to Holešov for good in 1950 and that’s where Jiří’s younger brother Miroslav was later born. Following the example of his father, Jiří trained to be a cabinetmaker in Bystřice pod Hostýnem and got his first job in the TON company in Holešov. He got married during his military service and raised a son and a daughter with his wife. In 1970 he passed the Scout leadership tests and also became a tourist instructor for the Czechoslovak Union of Physical Education and Sport. Shortly before the ban of the Scout movement, Jiří had led a Scout Group which he then transferred under the Youth Tourist Group one year later. He was noticed by the State Security for this – was asked for questioning and they kept a file on him. He was punished in his professional life as well. Because he had not passed the screening in 1972 due to political reasons, he was advised to resign from his position in the Dřevopodnik company in Holešov. He only managed to get a job at the OZS company by lucky chance. He has led different youth groups (TOM, Jiskra and the tourist group Zálesák) with short breaks from the 1970s and returned to Scouting immediately after the regime had fallen. He led the Cub Scouts in Holešov in the first years after the Velvet Revolution. He partook in the creation and organization of many events for children. He was awarded the Scout Thanks badge in 1994 and was also honored by the Holešov city.