Josef Odehnal

* 1930

  • „Members of our entire family were Catholics, democrats and members of the Eagle Organization. It was simply the worse that could happen to the regime."

  • "It was extremely tough for my mother. There were four kids in our family, mother and uncle. All together six people in one house. During the period of about six months she stayed alone there. My older brother left for the military training, other two brothers moved to Ústí nad Labem town to school and to work and I went to jail. Our uncle died and she stayed alone. People kept provoking her. Our dad was death already. There is a wood at the end of the street with old, abandoned sand pits. The millionaires used to have a shooting range there where they were practicing shooting. They used to go lined up there and back all the time. My mom told us that when they were on their way back from the wood, they must have received some order, because as they were passing by our house they all went left eyes front and stared into our windows. You can imagine how terrified she must have been to see all these mean people out there. It was the same thing with the living - she stayed alone with nothing to live from. There was only some kind of home work - she was quilting buttons. She earned few cents; some of the relatives gave her some money from time to time. She died in January and I came back home in June; of course they didn´t let go to her funeral...She died of tetanus."

  • "One of my friends lived in Borky. He´s got a neighbor who was very fearful shrink. This friend of mine - his name was Pavel once told me: ´He will definitely sign it for them...´ The communist were seeking their party members like a devil sinful soul...They keep coming to his place to persuade him and he´s all freaked out!´ The three of them walked in front of us and stopped. I asked them :´Did you bring the ID card for Mr. Daněk?´ They stared at me and then one of them said: ´How do you know?´ - ´I was just guessing.´ - ´That´s none of your business!´ And then I asked him: ´Do you have a spare one? I need to go shit and have no paper.´ you can imagine what they looked like after I said that. Their faces were turning red how furious they were. Then I went on with my conversation, this time about the Soviet Union how they are hundred years beyond the ape age...I don´t remember the details though. Later in the accusation record was also Jan Masaryk for I said about him: ´I wonder why Masaryk closed the window behind him after he jumped out of it.´ So the action was: Sedition, spreading false information about the death of Jan Masaryk despite the fact he knew they aren´t true; and also defamation of the Soviet Union. So I went to the court as a juvenile and I got two weeks conditionally for two years."

  • "This guy - Čoudek was single and used to come for lunch and beer to the local pub. Every day he was leaving the pub drunk. Mrs. Večeřová (his landlady - author´s note) said to my mom once: ´There was a blood puddle by the gate again today Mrs. Odehnalová. Someone beat him again.´ Someone had attacked him at night on its way back home. And then later again: ´Mrs. Odehnalová, there was a blood plash there today again. Someone beat him again.´ There used to be a wood house over here (he´s pointing at the picture) and the people were waiting for him behind it. And as he opened the gate, they jumped out from behind and beat him. But he never learnt his lesson though and that provoked us. I always knew when he got beaten from Mrs. Večeřová, but he remained a bitch no matter what. That´s why we decided to pay him harder lesson by shooting a bullet into his window. We knew that he wasn´t at home, because he was just sitting in the pub...We wanted to warn him that next time the bullet might reach him too.´"

  • "Confessions were held in there, the civilians were carrying the wafers...We also attended secret masses. They put couple of the bunks together for us to sit on them. Then usually Franta Michálek read the prayers etc. At the other end of the four-people room the national socialists were sitting and we respected each other. One of us was always walking through the corridor and checking and informed the others in case of some danger so they had enough time to ran away. The confessions were providing in the way that the priest was walking with the person through the corridor talking and laughing...Or they were walking outside chatting, smiling, waving their arms so nobody could notice that there is some kind of intimate conversation between them."

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    Proseč, 11.10.2008

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The entire dynasty - Catholics, Christian Democrats, eagles. Simply the very worst that could happen to the regime.

Josef Odehnal
Josef Odehnal
zdroj: Josef Odehnal, Ondřej Bratinka

Mr. Josef Odehnal was born on May 17th, 1930 in Proseč. After finishing his third year at the local grammar school he became an apprentice in his father´s carpentry workshop. Josef Odehnal Sr. died in 1945. Mr. Odehnal‘s family members were Catholic democrats and the children were members of the Eagle Organization. In February 1948, they found themselves in conflict with the incoming regime because of their views. Josef Odehnal Jr. was open about his attitude towards the regime, which caused him trouble on Easter Sunday, 1948. During the Easter whip near Proseč, he stopped to chat with three young communists, resulting in his two weeks of imprisonment for slandering the Soviet Union and spreading false information about Jan Masaryk‘s death. Almost one year later, he and his friends established an anti-Communist group in order to track the excessive activity of Communists in their village. More importantly, they intended to print and distribute leaflets highlighting the communists‘ injustice. The group decided to shoot into the apartment windows of prominent communist Matěj Čouda. Although Mr. Odehnal showed the others where Čoudek lived, he did not participate in the shooting as he knew he would be called upon to provide an alibi. During the investigation of this case, two of his friends managed to escape abroad, and the group disbanded. Mr. Odehnal‘s friend, Josef Lněnička, from the nearby village of Budislave, carried on the actions of the group along with a few others. However, this move against the regime did not last; Joself Lněnička was arrested. Six months later, the ensuing investigation led the StB agents to Josef Odehnal. He found himself in court along with eighteen other individuals, some who had nothing to do with the case whatsoever. In 1950, Mr. Odehnal was convicted during the Budislav group case to fifteen years in prison. He served his sentence in the Uranium mines in Rovnost in the Jáchymov region and in Bytíz in Příbram region, until 1956 when the case was re-opened. After his release, he was unable to return to carpentry, and despite being seriously ill, he worked in a quarry for four years. Presently Mr. Odehnal lives in Proseč and runs his own roofing company.