“My godfather was being held there. He was with the railroad post, he even took me to Prague (Praha) for free. He knew German well, he knew Prague well, he was an excellent drawer and had no children, so he cared for me as if I was his own child. And as I remember, somewhere near Letovice soldiers would enter the train, they were German, they came with guns. They would lock the door, the train would enter the German Reich and they would open it again maybe somewhere near Moravská Třebová. And as they were crossing the German Reich, my godfather would be smuggling this package and he would be caught, so they would sent him to a concentration camp for three years.”
“We were the first of the thirty one villages which had to be moved out. I went to school in Opatovice. At first, they told us that we were expected to gather in Mistřín, as there was a train station. From there we were supposted to be transported to the east. At first, they called it a concentration camp. And there is where the trains were supposed to be waiting. And the whole village was expected to gather at that place. Back then, Hácha was the president, so some officials would visit Hácha, and he allowed that we could be moved out separately.”
“I remember those red posters everywhere with names of people who were executed and also that the Jews couldn´t walk on the sidewalk, that had to walk on the road. Some people told me that there couldn´t be such a thing. But I remember those yellow stars, the Jews who were not allowed to walk on the sidewalk and the red posters with people who were executed, I can still see that. It was posted on the corner of Kotlářská and Kounicova street.”
I have this feeling that I have been an honest man
Josef Jelínek was born on August 5th 1934 in Opatovice near Vyškov. His father was drafted as an eighteen-years-old, and as the Czech legion member, he fought at the Bosnian and the Russian front, where he was gravely wounded. After returning form the WWI, he married and father a son, Josef, and a daughter, Marie. After the Second World War broke out, Opatovice and the surrounding areas had been moved out as the German army wanted to establish a training ground on the territory. Jelínek family and all the other residents of Opatovice had to leave there houses and move out of the village. They found shelter at their friends in Bílovice. Josef Jelínek started to study at a gymnasium type secondary school in Brno, where he had been living with his godfather, Metoděj Sochor, who survived the concentration camp. After graduating, he had been studying at Brno University of Technology, later joining the Academy of Sciences in Brno. He was recommended to join the Communist party (KSČ), which he refused, so he had trouble to get a permission to go abroad where he wanted to defend his research and establish contacts to the scientific community. After suffering two heart attacks, a widower, he has been living in Šlapanice near Brno.