Milan Jelínek

* 1923  †︎ 2014

  • “Our final exams took place under extraordinary circumstances. They were characterised by a high rate of fails. I graduated with top marks. Sometime in September 1942 the grammar school sent me an offer to study medicine in Munich. The offer was given me by the headmaster of the grammar school, Mr Zab. I agreed. But it meant that I would have to apply for a scholarship in Germany. At the time I did not think that it could damage me in any way. I wanted to study medicine. Nonetheless, I went to see my maths teacher, and he did not recommend to accept the scholarship. He claimed it would be collaborating with the regime. He said that the Germans were buying us. The next day I went to the headmaster’s office and informed Zab that I did not have the qualifications to obtain the scholarship. He gave me a telling-off. Instead, I let myself be drafted into the resistance by Hladký.”

  • “By refusing the scholarship I lost the opportunity to continue in my studies because Czech universities had been closed down. The Arbeitsamt in Brno sent me to work in Wiener Neudorf, my job was to manage the files of diners. I was to set up a ticket (filing) system that would entitle some ten thousand employees to receive meals. I issued meal tickets. There were around six to eight of us in the office. Most of my colleagues were from Austria, some of them were Viennese Czechs. The rest were from other countries.”

  • “The Germans uncovered our organisation. My colleagues from Brno were locked up in Kounic Hall. Some of them, mainly those who were more active in the resistance, were murdered. As for instance Professor Konstantin Hladký. He was probably also the one who told them my name. They worked him over. I received the message that they had locked up the others. I wanted to flee, but it was too late. They got me too and also put me into Kounic Hall. What surprised me was that they placed me in the same (second) floor as the rest. Hladký was probably in the neighbouring cell. He tried to communicate with me. I think he wanted to give me a sign that there was no point denying. There were some efforts from the outside to get him released. They had nothing to stick on him, just that he organised it.”

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Professor Hladký talked me out of the scholarship in Germany and convinced me to gather intelligence for the resistance

Milan Jelínek
Milan Jelínek

Prof. PhDr. Milan Jelínek, CSc., was born on 22 June 1923 in Brno. He studied at a state grammar school in Brno, becoming a favourite of the mathematics teacher RNDr. Konstantin Ivanovič Hladký. After graduating in 1942 he was offered the opportunity to study medicine in Munich, but Mr Hladký did recommend him to accept the offer. In September 1942 Milan Jelínek was drafted into forced labour and sent to Austria to Wiener Neudorf, where he worked as a clerk in the Fluchtwerke factory. Mr Hladký had previously convinced Milan Jelínek to join the resistance group Lípa (Lime Tree), which he had established in Zbrojovka Brno (an arms manufacturing plant). Milan Jelínek was to create a resistance group in Wiener Neudorf and connect it to the South Moravian group. His tasks further included securing accommodation for two military experts, who were to teach the group how to destroy railway lines, and to gather intelligence regarding the whereabouts of the German army and to pass this on to his Brno colleagues. However, the Gestapo uncovered the Brno resistance group and arrested its members. In early May 1944 in Wiener Neudorf, Milan Jelínek was also arrested. He was interrogated at the Kounic Hall (formerly a student hall of residence) in Brno and then taken to Wrocław. The court passed down a death sentence, but the Soviet offensive in January 1945 stopped the punishment from taking place. In late January the prisoners were evacuated to Dresden, then to Waldheim, Plauen, and on 22 March 1945 to the prison in Reichenbach. It was there that Milan Jelínek was finally liberated, in early May 1945, after which he returned to his homeland. After the war he graduated in Czech, Russian, and Serbo-Croatian, and he became a prominent Czech linguist and Bohemist. He lectured on Czech language at the Faculty of Arts of Masaryk University in Brno. His published titles include O jazyku a stylu novin (On the Language and Style of Newspapers; Praha, 1957), Jak kulturně mluvit a číst (How to Speak and Read with Culture; Praha, 1960), Stylistické studie (Studies in Style; Praha, 1974), Český jazyk a jeho užití v propagačních textech (Czech Language and its Use in Propaganda; Brno, 1989), or Argumentace a umění komunikovat (Argumentation and the Art of Communication; Brno, 1999). Milan Jelínek died on 30 January 2014.