Ing. Jaromír Lisý

* 1921  

  • “I looked out of the window and saw a heavy machine gun on the street in front of the students’ hall, on the corner to the right like this, and so I said: ‘Boys, get up, there’s trouble.’ We got dressed, and not knowing what, I stuck two wool socks into my pockets, when suddenly... we could hear the soldiers breaking in doors on the lower floor. Soon, they neared our room. We left the door open, so they wouldn’t break it pointlessly. They herded us downstairs into the canteen. We had to stand there with our hands in the air for I guess an hour or... I lost count of time. Then the lorries drove up, they started counting us out and loading us on to the lorries.”

  • “I could give you various details because, for example, one time at night they shoved a bloke into our cell in a broadcloth cloak. I was the cell leader, so I gave him the mattress next to my bed. He lied down there, and in the morning we found a pool of blood beside him. He’d slit his wrists with the glass from his glasses. Can you imagine cutting your wrists with that blunt glass?! Well, that’s how it was, I had to call in the guard. He immediately ordered the injured man to clean it up. He brought a bucket, a rag, and so on. Of course, we did it ourselves when [the guard] left. But the way it was that they were raiding one house after the other, and they found him in the skylight. He was a Jew, and people had been hiding him in the skylight, the housekeeper and his daughter would bring him food there. And they found him during one raid, so it was clear what would happen. But the interesting thing was that first they tended to him, they bandaged him up, they gave him some kind of pill every day because he’d got some inflammation of the veins. And when they cured him, they summoned him away.”

  • “Those were these kind of houses, each with separate rooms. One such room was for Czechs. My father was there, but they didn’t have any space at the time, so I was in another room, which was more for hardened criminals, so to say. One was a murderer who’d killed his woman. Another was a butcher who did illegal slaughters. There was a safe cracker. There was, well, a gay bloke, or how to say it. That was a criminal offence, you see, in Germany. So that’s the kind of company I found myself in, and I wondered how they’d behave toward me, a political prisoner and a young boy. They were completely fair... on the contrary, when there were air raids somewhere in Berlin, we didn’t hear it, but the door shook in its frame like this. And we knew bombs were falling. So we didn’t sleep, and we talked, and the chaps talked about their lives. That was also very interesting.”

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I looked at it and thought to myself, this pinkish water can’t be my blood

Young Jaromír Lisý
Young Jaromír Lisý

Jaromír Lisý was born on 3 February 1921. During the war he was active in the resistance, for which he was arrested in 1941. The Nazis deported him and his father to the Gestapo prison in the Small Fortress in Terezín. There they finally came to be given tolerable work. Everything got worse in the aftermath of the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich, when they were transferred to Pankrác Prison in Prague. Every day he and his father listened as they called out the names of the people they were taking to the gallows. Both Jaromír Lisý and his father escaped the scaffold, but they had to go through more than two years of captivity in various labour camps both in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia and in Germany. They ended up in Saxony, where they worked hard every day with minimal daily rations. The witness was finally released in the first half of 1944, but his father had to stay in Germany. After the war he studied languages, and after completing basic military service he joined the army in 1950. He worked as a military attaché in Hungary during the revolution in 1956. In 1967 he was sent to Damascus. He voiced his disagreement with the occupation of Czechoslovakia in 1968 and was consequently fired from the army and expelled from the Communist Party. He moved on to a career in translating and guide work, before retiring in 1980.