Josef Klem

* 1943  

  • "They were supposed to meet these partisans. They came to a place called Vápenice. They sat down, there flows a small stream, behind which was low spruce. They sat on the ground, and suddenly machine gun and they were dead on the spot. One of them, only one, I don't know how he happened to be among them, a man from Brno. It was said he was a student- only he managed to escape, other men were killed on the spot. Who showed signs of life was... My father was shot in the head, Jozin, who was youngest of the Klems, had golden teeth, they were knocked out, smashed, he had leather shoes, they took them, they took their bread, their bacon and left them lying there..."

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    25.07.2019

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Josef Klem, historical photography
Josef Klem, historical photography
zdroj: Archiv pamětníka

Josef Klem was born on August 24, 1943, in Tupesy near Uherské Hradiště. His parents Emil and Emilie Klem moved to the village of Salaš in nearby Chřiby during the Second World War out of fear of the approaching frontline. At the end of the war, a partisan group Olga, which managed to capture German Major General Dietrich von Müller, operated in the nearby hills. The Nazis were furious and wanted to capture the partisans at all costs. After an unsuccessful raid on Salaš, an event, which is known as Salas Tragedy, took place. Nineteen Salas men(some of whom had barely reached adulthood) were lured into to forest under the pretext of joining the partisan units. They were ruthlessly killed by machine guns in the forest near the gamekeepers‘ lodge. Josef‘s father Emil and his two brothers, Karel and Jožin, were also victims of the massacre. His mother Emilia later narrated Josef the tragic history. Josef originally wanted to train as a watchmaker, but due to the lack of teaching places, he eventually entered the training as a locksmith. When he later longed for his own rifle, he could not get a permit for without party-membership. Thus, in 1967 he founded a socialist labour brigade in the „Building Constructions“ where he worked and at the same time signed the application for the Communist Party. However, after the invasion of the Warsaw Pact troops in 1968, the application was destroyed in the confusion and he did not become a party member. Josef Klem worked hard all his life, and as he says, the Velvet Revolution did not bring any changes for him. He and his wife Zdeněk raised two sons, Milan and Petra.