Jiří Lukšíček

* 1933

  • "Two hundred and forty-seven stairs which were made by two sticks, a board put across them, and pounded earth. Every day, wee climbed this staircase from the uranium mine to the camp. Not only that they made us climb this, on top of that, we had to carry on our backs all food they brought to the mine. I still remember climbing the stairs with a fifty kilos sack of potatoes on my back. I was only a little bit heavier, around sixty kilos. When I scaled my way to the camp, I started bleeding from my nose. I had blood stains all over and I had to go and wash my prison uniform."

  • “Four of us ended in the Nikolaj labour camp. It was me, Mirek Kopt, Jirka Holubec and Franta Bobek, nicknamed Stalker. We had not come there at the same time but during several consecutive days. They kicked me out at the gate with two sheets, aluminium bowl and work clothes and later, they took me to the room where I was to be lodged. The first question from one of the inmates was What are you here for?’ I said grand treason. He asked: ‘What sort of grand treason?’ I explained that it was for scouting. He exclaimed happily: ‘So you’re a scout! That’s wonderful!’ [Pause.] That’s how they saw us. In the Jáchymov labour camps, we always had great street cred.”

  • “Pepa Krbeček was doing his first year of apprenticeship in Lověna [a cooperative that made and repaired hunting weapons and ran a chain of hunting supply shops]. At that time, there was a new law that ordered all firearms be surrendered to the state and people should bring them to Lověna. The craftsmen would disassemble the guns, long and short, and the parts were then taken to the Kladno foundries. Pepa was a crafty boy so while disassembling the guns, he would put the single parts aside. He then managed to smuggle several guns from the factory. At that time, it was a miracle. Even today, I can’t imagine how he managed to do it. This way, Pepík armed us. Each of the boys around eighteen had his own gun.”

  • „They created a system [of bullying] when we would stand to attention at the camp assembly ground for three or four hours and they conducted a search. They threw around those few things we had in the barracks. Usually, there were two sheets per person, the uniform, aluminium bowl and a few things we could buy in the canteen for the vouchers. They would throw it on the floor in the middle of the room and we had two hours to sort the things out and stack them away. Then they came to check us whether we had proper order in our rooms. This system was created by [prison guard whose nickname was] Fešák. This lasted for almost four and half months until someone got the idea to hum a tune while cleaning. Suddenly, a few inmates around him joined in. After a while, all of us were humming and then we started to sing. At first, they started yelling at us, obviously, and then we were dismissed. We assembled and started to sing again. Another call to stand to attention followed. We started to sing again. At that time, they found out that we won’t be broken easily.”

  • "Then it happened that I got six. It means six years for high treason, and they took us to Jáchymov, and that was then."

  • “There was a sort of university. We were studying German. Until they stole everything from us. It was not easy to source a German textbook at that time. And they were searching for such materials. We did not have much writing supplies anyway. So that scouting, it was about filling in gaps in our knowledge, learning from the others and finding out about things we wanted to know. And, that’s what I think scouting is about, to get to know things, not only about classroom learning, we knew about knots and things. It was about creating and maintaining relationships under circumstances that were not exactly friendly.”

  • „Simply, in one operation, when it was already finished, we got into a situation. We thought we would have to shoot. It’s a bad feeling, it’s hard to express, hard to talk about. The last operation we did, that was when we went to Jílové. The People’s Militia had a get-together or some sort of training there. And as they had arrived in buses, we discreetly deflated their tyres so they could not even get to the training ground. [non-translatable pun the same word stands for rubber tyre and for a dumb bully of a commander: They did not have enough rubber tyres/commanders] We even left some flyers there so that they could have even more fun.

  • “We observed the ten rules of scouting, we pledged that we would defend the country… and so on. This has left roots in us. But now we came to a meeting, and all of them were smoking there. We were nonsmokers. At that time we were 15 or 16 years old, and we have been told that scouts would be up to 15 years, anyone who was older would become a member of the Socialist Youth Union. They introduced us there, in our uniforms, and Stopař and I thought – no way, we won’t become youth union members.”

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In the labour camps, we scouts had immense street cred.

Jiří Lukšíček several months after his return from the Jáchymov labour camps. Prague, 1960
Jiří Lukšíček several months after his return from the Jáchymov labour camps. Prague, 1960
zdroj: archiv pamětníka

Jiří Lukšíček, nicknamed Rys [Lynx], was born on the 16th of August in 1933 in Prague. In 1945, he joined the Junák/Scout. He was the member of the 100th and later the 145th group. After the 1948 coup d’état when the Junák/scout movement was being gradually disbanded, Jiří jouned the scouts’ resistance group who mainly distributed anti-Communist flyers and later on, acts of sabotage. The group gradually armed themselves with seventeen handguns. In March 1953, after a failed sabotage in the vicinity of the Jílové village, he was arrested for the first time and together with two other scouts, they got their prison sentences. Jiří served two months in a labour camp Svornost [Unity] and after two months, he was released in an amnesty. After his release, he served in the army with the Auxiliary Technical Batallions in Hradec Králové. There, he was arrested again and tried again along with the Ostříž group members. Since the group was armed, they were accused of and tried for treason. This time, Jiří was sentenced to six years of imprisonment which he spent in the labour camps of Nikolaj and Rovnost [Equality]. In 1960, he was released and started to work in the ČKD factory, first as a line worker, later, he taught at the factory-run secondary technical school. In 1968, he reestablished the 233rd scout troop under the 34th scout centre, Ostříž [Falcon]. He tried to keep the troop going even after the scouts were banned again at the beginning of 1970. In the same year, he was forbidden to work with the youth. After the 1989 revolution, he became the head of the scout centre and an active member of Junák.