Vladimír Hrozný

* 1923  

  • “Well, I can tell you that it was a mistake. Initially, I had different expectations of the regime. I thought that it would mean a positive change for the people. I was ready to do some business. I wanted to became an entrepreneur in construction as I had plenty of experience in that area. I had big plans. I wanted to set up a construction company, hire a couple of people, make some money, expand and that sort of things. I thought that I would be able to do what I like freely. But all of a sudden, such a shock. At that time, I was in Opava and one morning as I woke up there were tanks on the square – the Poles had come.”

  • “In the beginning of 1944, the Germans bombed our airport. By that time the battle lines had shifted to the Ukraine. The Germans raided our airport and even though our airplanes were camouflaged they knew where they were. In such a situation, the point was to get into an airplane and get it into the air as quickly as possible. To save the airplane and yourself. A bomb exploded right next to me and I woke up in a hospital weeks later. I was unconscious for several weeks.”

  • Interviewer: “How many of you were flying together?” “Mostly three people and one of us was the leader. He was in charge of the attack and told us what objects were to be attacked. The attack was very quick, we flew at a 30 degree angle. You're going down to some 150 – 200 meters so you're were low and have no idea about the location of anti-aircraft guns that are shooting at you. You have to be very fast because you're behind enemy lines and there are Germans everywhere. The German soldiers that were in charge of the anti-aircraft defenses and guns were very well trained so you have to react quickly – hit your target and get out immediately. The only chance how to hit your target was to take the defenders by surprise. This mostly worked if they had no time to react. But to return and give it a second try was basically committing suicide. You wouldn't make it out of there alive.”

  • “We were ordered to go to Prague and report on the situation there. Our unit was ready to get to Prague as fast as possible. At night we met once or twice with a unit of withdrawing Germans. We thought it was Soviet soldiers but they were Germans. They almost didn't notice us even though our tank had a red star on it. They probably thought it was a war booty. Anyway, if they had spotted us and hit us with a panzerfaust, we would all be dead. Our tank would blow up like a matchbox. We got to Prague around midnight, it was in Žižkov. We didn't go to the city center as we were afraid that there might still be German troops around. But I remember that it was all quit, not a single shot.”

  • “When the time came, the commander, a Major, came up with the idea to simply take the Germans by attack. We were up on a hill, the Germans sat on a hilltop, too, and in between, there was a plain about 500 meters long. So he ordered the infantry to attack the Germans on the other side of the plain. It was like a world-war one battle – soldiers storming the enemy's positions with rifles and bayonets. The Germans mowed the advancing soldiers down with their artillery and machine guns. We were supposed to give the storming infantry artillery support but we had too few guns for a massive support. I fired my machine gun so much the water that is supposed to cool off the gun barrel started to boil and steamed off the gun. I had to change the barrel and refill the water but it took so long that by the time I had done it the fight was basically over. Just a handful of the attacking soldiers survived. Out of a group of 300 men, let's say that maybe 50 survived the onslaught. That's how I witnessed those idiots in charge making stupid decisions that cost unnecessary bloodshed. It was just nonsense – we didn't have the kind of massive artillery support it takes to sustain an infantry offensive. It cost hundreds of lives of Soviet soldiers in vain. It was First world war thinking – hurray for family and country.”

  • “I asked him when we would set out. He said in the evening so I told him that I'd go to a shop to buy some vodka. He showed me a cottage where I could buy something. As soon as I entered the building, someone grabbed my shoulder from behind. It was a frontier guard holding a machine gun. That scoundrel gave me away for a hundred Rubles. The inhabitants of the border villages were instructed to report to the police every stranger in the village.”

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    Brno - Mokrá Hora, 16.04.2011

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A young man who hasn’t been in war may think that war is an adventure. You have no idea what kind of a horror war is.

Vladimir Hrozný in a Red Arny uniform
Vladimir Hrozný in a Red Arny uniform
zdroj: Sbírka pana Hrozného

Vladimír Hrozný was born on May 5, 1923, in the Taiga of the Russian Far East. He went to school in the city of Ussuriysk and later moved to Gorno-Altajsk in Siberia. As a young boy he was a member of a flying club and was taught to fly a Polikarpov Po-2 airplane. After Nazi Germany attacked the Soviet Union, he voluntarily joined the Red Army. He wanted to serve with the air force but instead he was assigned to the infantry. After six months of training in Barnaul, he was taken to the battle line near Leningrad where he operated a Maxim machine gun and was wounded. Subsequently, he was transfered to the air force and became the pilot of an Ilyushin Il-2 bomber plane. He was wounded again during the bombardment of an airport. He was unconscious for a month and for health reasons couldn‘t fly again. After he recovered he was assigned to the 2nd mechanized division and drove an armored scouting vehicle. He came to Czechoslovakia via Moldova, Romania, Yugoslavia, Hungary and Austria. He fought in south Moravia. In the time of the Prague uprising, he was sent to Prague as a scout. In Prague, he witnessed the end of the war. Then he was sent to Milín in Příbramsko, where fighting was still taking place. He was wounded again in the fights. Finally he was demobilized, married and was granted Czechoslovak citizenship. In 1946, he and his wife moved to the Soviet Union. His wife didn‘t like life in the USSR and wanted to move back to Czechoslovakia. However, the Soviet authorities didn‘t grant Mr. Hrozný the right to return and only his wife was allowed to move back to Czechoslovakia. He wanted to cross the border illegally in Transcarpathia but was arrested in the attempt. He was sentenced to 3 years in prison but managed to escape during a prison transportion to Lviv and fled to Czechoslovakia. He lived in Bratislava and made a living as a car mechanic. However, he was arrested by the NKVD and sentenced to 10 + 3 years in a Gulag labor camp in the north of the Komi Republic. During his term in the Gulag, he was accused of helping his friends escape from the camp and his term was extended by 5 years. After the death of Stalin in 1953, he was released and repatriated to Czechoslovakia. However, his wife didn‘t wait for him and married again. After his return to Czechoslovakia, Mr. Hrozný worked in mines in Ostrava and at a tractor station in northern Moravia. He met his present wife, Marie, while he was working in the construction of the D1 highway. Today, he lives in Brno. He was pardoned by the Russian government in 2004.