Staff Sergeant (Gendarmerie) Jan Klimas

* 1924  

  • “I was still working and went across the Old Town Square. All of a sudden there was violent shooting at the Old Town Hall. I ran to Karlín where we lived. Of course people were gathering there already, the (German) notices were being taken down. Wherever there was a lonely German soldier, they beat him. Well, I have seen many cases. Perhaps the soldiers were also innocent but they were from Wehrmacht (German Defense Forces) most of the time. The most bizarre story I experienced was the one in Senovážné Square. They really captured a Gestapo man, they hanged him up on a lamp-post, poured petrol over him and set him on fire. However, barricades were growing already. I took part in the Prague uprising, I was not much of a hero there, though. I helped wherever I could. I carried the injured away. We defensed the barricade on Hlávkův Bridge. However, the Germans found their way through there as well. So we drew back to Karlín. There were a few barricades in Karlín that we made. There I saw with my own eyes the Germans advancing with their tanks through Královská Avenue on the city center. Of course they riddled the barricades with bullets. They carried a shield of hostage in front of them, women and children. We saw that with our own eyes.”

  • “There came the regional director Mach for whom I filed a complaint for abuse of authority of a public agent then in 1968. Together with a man from the region and with one more policeman we searched through the whole flat. And everything spare had to be confiscated, registered and put aside. Even children's shoes when there were for example five pair of shoes, then two or three pairs had to be taken away. And when the inspection was over the first lieutenant left for Drahonice. I was not there. They also did an inspection there. The people were probably some kind of relatives of the Šípans. When the lieutenant walked across the attic, when inspecting it was his habit to nibble what he saw every now and then, some legumes or something. He ate some beans there. He turned sick all of a sudden. Well, the driver had to take him to hospital. It was a very heavy poisoning as the beans were poisoned with raticide. And I said to the driver: ‘Come on, Pepík, why didn't you go slower? We would all leave in peace here.’ He only smiled, of course he said nothing. He was afraid, we were afraid of one another at that time. Mach made it.”

  • “I was also in the Old Town Square but mostly there were many people's militia there. We were only on walking guard there. I personally or even with a colleague of mine, there were two of us, we never came across any disturbances. In case we did we put it right by discussion. And they were young people, we agreed with them. In simple terms, we sympathized with them. People's militia were worried most, they didn't trust even us. They were armed, they used to wear boiler suits with black berets and they went there. And when anything happened anywhere they were butcher than our boys. 'Cause they did a great propaganda out of it at that time. It was not exactly the same way there as they told us.”

  • “And there went a man against me. When he spotted me I saw him putting his hand in his pocket. So I took my pistol out and put my hand with the pistol in my pocket. And we went against one another. As soon as we passed by one another he speeded up and so did I and that was the end of it.”

  • “Of course we used to guard in four on the border. But we were in such a part where there were a few crosses. And when we spotted something somewhere, we who knew one another, we went for example in four and we smoked and stumped. 'Cause we were scared ourselves, don't you think that if you're on the border that you are not afraid. Because the so called guides or diversionists etc. as they used to call them, they had the advantage that we didn't see them but they saw us. And it was also the reason for which we did everything so that they saw us, heard us and left us alone.”

  • “To come back to the times when I served as a warrant officer in the region. I was a witness of an interrogation carried out by criminal interrogators. Especially Josef Krejčí – already dead – used to do the interrogation in the following way: he wrapped the interrogated person in a fur coat and sat him on electric fire that was hot, very hot. He put a fur cap on the person's head, pointed a reflector into his eyes and interrogated. And he left the person there – when he didn't want to speak he left him there even twenty-four hours. He was given nothing to eat, nothing. If he didn't own up, then he was taken to the court. I didn't know what it ended up like at that time. But I had some cases in the room when I was asked to be responsible for guarding culprits. I didn't even know what he did but he told me: ‘I have no idea what I'm here for. I come from there and there. Either something at home happened, I don't know, OK.’ Someone stole something in a factory and had to stand there. Of course I let them sit when I was there alone. I possibly asked my wife to bring some food. So I shared my food with them. There were many more such cases, far too many.”

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    Strakonice, 13.08.2008

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But there was the State Security department above us I had never been up there but I heard screaming, painful screaming coming from there I heard it almost every night when I was on night duty

P1010061b.JPG (historic)
Staff Sergeant (Gendarmerie) Jan Klimas
zdroj: Současná: z roku 2008

Jan Klimas was born in the village Fokušová in Slovakia on February 2nd, 1924. He moved to Prague where he served his time of apprenticeship and experienced the Prague uprising in 1941. After the war he joined the National Security Corpse in Štěkeň in1946. He served with frontier-guard in South Bohemia in 1947-1949. He spent the February days 1948 in Prague. He worked with National Security Corpse again in 1949-1954. As a police member he experienced violent interrogation and agriculture collectivization. He filed a complaint about a Strakonice-police officer for abuse of authority of a public agent for violent collectivization. However, he was unsuccessful due to normalization. He worked in the Ceska Zbrojovka armory in Strakonice and then at the Lake Lipno.