Lieutenant (ret.) Bedřich Jiránek

* 1924  †︎ 2015

  • “We soon became friends with the guerrilla fighters, I have great memories of them. It’s just that due to my war skills, I almost lost a friend there. I blame myself for it, to a certain extent. It happened one evening at this lodge at the edge of a forest. There was little sunlight left. Only when shots were fired, the flashes could be seen and one could identify where they are fired from and to. They loaded us with those Italian assault grenades which were of no use, only making lots of noise. On the other hand I would learn the effects of the German ones. We would run around low, attempting to hit the window of the lodge. We were somewhat unable to manage that. The Germans and the Italian SS spotted our positions and begun throwing their grenades at us. Suddenly, I saw my friend from Machov blundering there. I went to him and he was covered in blood – there was more blood than there was of the alive human. I asked: ‘What have you been doing?’ And he said: ‘Nothing, it was the grenade.’ Blood everywhere, it was not a nice view. When he found us after the war in Kotouň, I saw the state he was in. One eye gone, one testicle gone, part of the palm and some fingers on the right hand missing, a bit of the left one. He managed to get to a decent first-aid station in Turin, thanks to the help of some catholic priest. There they had him sewn up a bit and this priest helped him to return to the Protectorate. When he got a bit better he went to my mom’s in Červená Hora to tell her that I was, as far as he could remember, fine.”

  • “My surprise was complete, not only over the good-looking French women. People would come from the market and carry their bread on their shoulder. It was this long, thin baguette, it couldn’t fit in a bag. The French women were quite cuddly, neat girls. We traveled by foot to the foreign legion in Lyon. Above the gate, it would say ‘légion étrangére’ and ‘vous êtes soldats pour mourir‘, meaning ‘you became soldiers in order to die‘. When some of the French-speaking guys translated it for us we responded: ‘Kiss our asses with that! We did not come here to die.‘ In a word, we were wandering around until eventually we have gotten to Amiens and from there we went to Falaise. There we were supposed to undertake some more basic trainings – infantry and tank one, along with radio operation and loading. After these individual trainings, general Liška called us up and told us who was about to serve where. At first, I was supposed to serve with the medics. While we were gathered in a flock, Liška democratically asked: ‘So, boys, which of you is discontent with their assignment?‘ And Jiránek, the famous gob, was obviously the first one to raise his hand: ‘I am not joining the medics, I want to serve at the tank!‘“

  • “I was at a cinema. I will never forget the name of the movie – Heimkehr, return home. And it was about those poor people from Sudetenland. About Germans heroically returning to their cottages, how the Czechs harmed them and so on. There were lots of those Krauts in our town, it was half-German, half-Czech. And somebody apparently just lost their mind and shouted on the whole new cinema hall: ‚Kiss our asses! We’ve had enough of that, there’s going to be resistance here!‘ This cost me because the guy who said it was behind me and sat down. And the one in front of me turned around and saw me, thinking I said it. With horror, I realized it was a German Röhricht who was my boss at the factory. And he invited me over for an interview on Monday. I used to work at a weaving mill, bringing over the spools. I did not even have time close the door behind me when he already hit me. I was hammered, I was done over. ”

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    Ústřední vojenská nemocnice, 01.10.2013

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Kick the Krauts‘ asses

Bedřich Jiránek
Bedřich Jiránek
zdroj: Pamět národa - Archiv

Bedřich Jiránek was born on 30 April 1924 in Úpice near Trutnov. His father died at the age of only 33 years. Therefore, the family was taken care of by Bedřich‘s mother and grandparents. Although Úpice was practically bordering the enlarged Germany, the family decided to remain in town even after 15 March 1939. In 1942 Bedřich applied for service in the so-called Government Forces. In 1944 all the eleven batallions were transferred to North Italy for auxilliatory and guard labour. Here, him and his fifteen fellow fighters deserted to the Italian guerrilla. They would wander around Torino and organize ambushes. By the end of the summer the Czech soldiers crossed the border to France and on 30 October 1944 joined in Amiens the 1st Czechoslovak Armoured Brigade. Bedřich undertook basic training and later became a tank crew member, serving as a driver, radio operator and loader. He took part in battles of Dunkerque. In May 1945 the 1st Czechoslovak Armoured Brigade boarded and headed towards the Protectorate. They arrived to Pilsen, at the time already liberated by the Americans. After the war he joined the National Security Corps and later spent 25 years working at uranium mines in Jáchymov and Příbram. He lived with his wife in Votice, passed away on September, 9th, 2015.