“We have finished filling of the tanks. Everything was all right. Horníček, Nový and Valášek boarded one plane, I, Vlasta Klenovský and Heda the second one. Vlasta was a pilot, I was a navigator. I took care of maps. Heda was sitting behind us. However, we didn’t know that the guard had asked Heda to soften his shackles because of pain. And she had done it...! When we were already sitting in the cockpit, Vlasta on my side and Heda behind us, Vlasta fastened his seatbelt and I wanted to do the same. But there was some problem with mine – I believe in destiny – I was not able to fasten it. I decided to do it later. I was closing the cockpit and thought: everybody here could kiss my ass now! In this very moment a tragedy started. Suddenly I have heard a crack, like from an exhaust pipe. Then I have heard Heda saying: ‘Vlasta, did he shot you?’ I have turned to him, but I just saw how his head dropped and he remained stuck in the seatbelts. As I had slightly turned I had caught a sight of the guard standing behind the cockpit aiming the rifle at me. I ducked down swiftly which was possible because of my previous troubles with the seatbelt. As a result one of my vertebras is shot trough. The bullet changed its trajectory in my shoulder joint, ripped my lungs and stopped just over my diaphragm. It has remained there until now. I have been pretending I was dead. The guard speedily shot Heda. She just gave a short death rattle and this was her end. Her last words were: ‘Vlasta, did he shot you?’”
“Just before we left towards the aerodrome a girl had appeared: Heda Prokop from Brno, friend of Vlasta Klenovský. None of us knew her. I had never seen her before. Capacity of each aircraft Sokol was three persons. She also wanted to emigrate and they had reached an agreement she would join us. My God! It happened exactly as the proverb says: ‘Where the devil can’t get into, there he foists a woman.’ So we met in a flat in Choceň before midnight of 12th and 13th May. Then we left with our bags, valuables and clothes for the aerodrome. We passed trough some marsh nearby. It was after midnight, frightened gulls were flying over our heads shrieking. We were afraid it would make us known. We creped towards hangars leaving the railway station behind our back. Honza Horníček shined up a telephone post and cut of the line. Valášek took the gun from Nový and together with Klenovský proceeded to the aerodrome. They have realized one of the guards was sitting inside a plane to avoid a cold outside. They leaped to the plane and opened its cockpit. The guar was pointing a rifle at them. With luck Vlasta took the rifle in his underarm, so the shot went astray. Then he smashed the guard with his gun in the arm. Valášek did the same. Subsequently Klenovský laid the gun to the guard’s finger and shot. The guard surrendered.”
”I was watching the guard, if he would pursue the second crew, which was already rolling to a runaway. But he turned back to hangars where his fellow was handcuffed. Maybe he wanted to make a phone call for reinforcement. At first I have tried to accelerate the plane but the engine didn’t react. I would take off with the dead friends. I would not be able to get them out of the plane on my own, so I would have to fly with them to the West Germany. Than I have tried to pull out my bag but everything was covered with Heda’s blood anyway. So I left the stuff in the plane. I managed to catch the second plane standing ready on the runaway. I told them what had happened, that Vlasta and Heda were shot to death and I was seriously injured. Guys answered they were full, accelerated and took off. I struggled from the aerodrome to a nearby town Vysoké Mýto, where I knew one girl. I wanted to ask her for help, to help me find a doctor who would treat my wound and I could disappear afterwards. I really managed to reach the town and she took me to an old doctor. He treated my wound but than he said it was a shot wound and he had to report it to police. I asked him not to do this: that we had never seen each other at all, but he refused my suggestion and picked up the phone. So I quickly left for the town. But there I was nabbed by police immediately. They escorted me to a hospital. The interrogation started.”
“In the first days of May in 1949 Vlastimil Klenovský, my class fellow who was also expelled from the military academy, rang at my door Sunday morning, He told me there is a possibility to seize two airplanes in order to emigrate. Of course I agreed. The situation in our country was hopeless. The communists hold me by the throat. I was not alone in such a situation. Thousands of Czechs were persecuted. So we agreed on the plan. I think it was on 10th May when we had a meeting with few friends in Prague. Jan Horníček had been working at same aerodrome in Choceň as Vlasta had. They had been working as mechanics there and were able to determine the situation on the ground. In Prague we met also Valášek and Nový and settled the details. We discussed the question of weapons too, because the aerodrome was guarded by two policemen. One gun had Vlasta Klenovský, another one Mirek Nový. We determined the day of action on midnight 12th and 13th of May. Klenovský depicted the task as easy as a flight for holidays on Canaries: ‘we will get on board and take off’. The guns were to be used to deter the guards only. Klenovský and Horníček knew both policemen personally from the aerodrome. Klenovský predicted they would be ok, because they are just about to retire.”
“The second plane successfully took of, but as I found out later, some altimeter failure had occurred. Near the town of Sušice over Mountains Šumava they flew along some valley which led the plane into heavy clouds. They had made several attempts to fly trough the clouds just according the board indicators before, but without success, so they decided to try the valley. When they realized the valley ends in cloud too, they made a U-turn in which the plane grazed the ground and crashed. It was broken to pieces. The pilot Nový suffered a serious head injury and broke his leg. He was sitting on the side which hit the ground. He got the biggest blow. He remained unconscious and suffered some internal injury too. Jaroslav Valasek broke his wrist as he hit a dashboard but he fell out of the plane. Honza Horníček sitting on the backseat was the lucky man. He went off the cockpit without any injury. He fall down to the ground and the only thing he ‘suffered’ was that he left his boots in the plane. Valášek and Horníček had thought Nový is dead – he was unconscious – and decided to proceed towards the state borders which were not far away. Some locals even helped them to find the way. But they were detained by an armed “warrener” at the borders. He handed them over to the State Security. The interrogation started.”
“In the meantime the others had to open the hangars. In one stood an old plane, but when we have opened the second hangar we were shocked! Just behind the gate stood a caterpillar vehicle, behind it a plane without wings and only the third behind was our plane. We three had to fill up the tanks: from a barrel to a bucket, from the bucket to a can and only then into the airplane tanks. Time was running quickly. The shooting had happened, so we didn’t know how long it could take before someone would appear. Finally we all together – six people – with an inconceivable force pushed out the caterpillar vehicle in front of the hangar, than the plane without wings and than our plane which was designated for me, Vlasta and Heda.”
The bullet changed its trajectory in my shoulder joint, ripped my lungs and stopped just over my diaphragm. It has remained there until now
Zdeněk Mikš was born in Dvůr Králové nad Labem on 7th October in 1926. During the occupation of Czechoslovakia Mikš had attended a high school. In 1944 he was conscripted to a unit of „Technische Nothilfe“. After the war in 1946 Mikš enlisted military air force and he studied at Air force military academy. Because of his anticommunist attitudes he was fired from the military service in November 1948.
With a group of friends Mikš made an attempt to escape to the West in two civil aircrafts from the aerodrome Choceň in May 1949. Members of the group - Vlastimil Klenovský, Jaroslav Valášek, Jan Horníček, Miroslav Nový, Heda Prokopová and Zdeněk Mikš - seized two small aircrafts (type Sokol) in the middle of the night on 12th of May 1949. But just before taking off a tragedy had happened. Heda had treated overwhelmed aerodrome guard mercifully and before getting on board she had softened his shackles. When all six friends were already on board near the Mikš‘s aircraft the guard appeared with a rifle and shot to dead Klenovský and Prokopová. Mikš himself was seriously injured. But he was able to find a medical help in a near village, but the doctor reported him to police and Mikš was arrested. The second crew successfully took of but near the town of Sušice in Mountain Šumava the plane crashed. The pilot Nový was seriously injured; Valášek and Horníček were later detained while crossing the borders to Germany.
On 31st of August in 1949 Valášek was sentenced to live imprisonment. Horníček, Nový and Mikš were sentenced to 30 years in prison. The first year Mikš was detained in Bory, than he was moved to Ilava prison in Slovakia. There he spent 18 months. In 1952 Mikš was transported to Jáchymov area to a punitive labor camp „L“, where a tremendous hunger had ruled. In 1953 Mikš weighed only 48 kilograms. In the middle of 50‘s Mikš was moved again to another labor camp Bytíz. There he worked as a welder and a repairman. The State Security had tried to recruit Mikš for cooperation twice during his imprisonment but without success. Mikš stayed in Bytíz until 1962 when he was released under the second general amnesty.