Josef Jedlička

* 1923  

  • “Courage breeds appetite, so one time we went to the station in Velká Bystřice and there were two railway men on duty there, eisenbahners we called them back then. And I said: ‘Damn it, we’d need some spanners to dismantle the track.’ We didn’t have any explosives at the time. They gave us all the spanners, told us how to do it. The tracks weren’t joined back then. There were these kind of gaps between them. Perhaps you don’t know that. Tracks weren’t welded back then. So we set out on foot and reckoned: ‘If we dismantle the track in front of the tunnel then when the train rushes in it’ll get jammed in the tunnel, smash to bits, and they’ll spend ages putting in order again.’ Everything perfect. We dismantled the track, put it aside, and then suddenly some German... the Germans had started guarding everything, the important railroads... some German patrol, and a terrible firefight broke out. They stopped the trains. Nothing happened of course. There were about ten of us in the operation. Now about half, that is five or so, went to the Hyneks. Those were Mr and Mrs Hynek, they died in a concentration camp. They went to their place, but I didn’t want to go there, so I went to Lošov with about five of us, half. Well, and a Czech gendarme ratted them out at the Hyneks. The Germans came there, seized the house, and arrested them.”

  • “And then the Mikolášek brothers, me, Bedřich Schneider – just the four of us I think – we took a train to Valašské Meziříčí. We got off at the station, and then this one gendarme checked us up, took our papers and said we had to go with him. And all the while the station crammed, there were two or three trains of German soldiers there. He took my papers and the papers of Václav Mikolášek and Stanislav Mikolášek. He didn’t take them from Bedřich Schneider’s. I think he was at the loo at the station. Well, and he led us out into the city. We lost sight of the German soldiers under a kind of tunnel by the station. Stanislav Mikolášek stopped the gendarme, pulled a pistol at him. He said: ‘We’re Czechs. We’re fighting the Germans. Let us go. We’re not thieves or anything.’ He was a firebrand German and his name was Trbůšek [it was Tvarůžek - ed.]. A fanatical Czech, but he joined the Germans. Well, and he reached for his pistol. And Václav shot him. And I told him: ‘Vašek, grab his pistol.’ But he said: ‘I can’t, man. He won’t let go.’ So we left him lying there and ran for it. And we ran along the river to the wood.”

  • “The chaps got drunk, and there was Lukoveček Manor there [in Loučka - ed.] where the Germans lived. There were some thirty or forty of them. They got buttered and decided to have at them. So we went, I went with them, with the liquored chaps. They stuck a grenade by the front door. Blew it up to smithereens. They rushed in, and the Germans stood at attention by teh beds in their undies. They had lots of weapons there, lots of panzerfausts, sub-machine guns, rifles. Three cartfuls. Someone from Kotáry lent a wagon and horse and a driver too. So we loaded up all of the Germans into the wagons. We put the panzerfausts down on the ground. And one of the blokes kept telling me: ‘Oh, that’s dangerous, that’s a panzerfaust,’ in German. I didn’t understand him. But that’s a fact all right. A panzerfaust, it has a kind of visor on it. You lift it up and lower it down and it fires. So I said: ‘Good.’ So we loaded them all up, the weapons on the ground and them standing on the wagon. And we set off at a dash to Černava. Murzin, Stěpanov were there, everyone. The whole brigade was there. Except halfway through the journey, and that was still a long way off from Murzin, a machine gun suddenly let rip at us from the forest. I leapt off the wagon and said: ‘Lie down, everyone! Down!’ So I showed them what I meant. They lay down. Except the driver crack his whip and the horse dashed off... And I was left standing there, I couldn’t keep up. So everyone drove off.”

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Czechs behaved faultlessly in the war

zdroj: Státní okresní archiv Přerov

Josef Jedlička was born on 5 January 1923 in Bukovany. After completing primary school he trained as a mechanic. When Germany annexed the Sudetes on 30 September 1938, he was forced to work in a factory in Mariánské Údolí (Marienthal) that produced grenades. He joined a group of resistance fighters based in Velká Bystřice and undertook sabotage. They sabotaged the production of ammunition at the factory. They boarded trains heading to the east front and wrecked military equipment. They were discovered while attempting to derail a train in front of the tunnel near Smilov. Josef Jedlička, Václav and Stanislav Mikolášek, and Bedřich Schneider attempted to escape to Slovakia. They shot a gendarme who arrested them in Valašské Meziříčí. Schneider was killed on the run and Stanislav was caught and hanged by the Gestapo. Josef and Václav reached the 1st Czechoslovak Partisan Brigade of Jan Žižka. They managed to acquire a large amount of explosives from a mine near Krakořice. They used the explosives to blow up trains and transmission towers. Josef and his group also procured arms and equipment for the brigade. After the war, in 1945-1947, he underwent basic military service in Jeseník. His company was tasked with escorting transports of deported Germans to Furth im Wald. Since 1949 he has been working at the Crime Department of Public Security (the police force), where he worked as an investigator of thefts in Olomouc Region. In 1959 he was employed as a director of the customs office in Olomouc, where he worked until his retirement. In the second half of the 1980s his son Jiří Jedlička made a failed attempt to fly over the borders to Austria. Josef was tried in connection to the event and sentenced to two years of prison for „assisting departure from the country“. He was rehabilitated after the 1989 revolution. He lives in Olomouc.