Jan Opletal

* 1947

  • "In the year 1950 or 1951 - those men, those officers were meeting in the Alhambra, were going there to party. Because they felt themselves, those officers, as an aristocracy, pilots. Father also went, as a principle, in his uniform. It had to be ironed, the boots polished, always - he was proud of it. Well and as they were partying like this once, some sort of man came in there, who was drunk, so to say, and roared and cursed and that all of the communists should be hung - 'I would have hung them all, you men should help carry out this task,' and so on. Well but father was experienced enough also from the resistance, and so he beat that man up, wrested with him in such a way, that he broke his thumb. The police flew in there, locked up dad and he was sent off for interrogation in the Domeček."

  • "The members of the People's Militias ran up with readied submachine guns and at that moment I had clearly determined - here is where the fun ends. And so on the left side, where the airlines were, I went hugging the wall, how I could remember it from those war films, around the displays and I always fell into an entrance. And this is how I went all the way behind the corner of that house on the left side of the Revoluční street, the corner with Dlouhá. In front of me about three people went, who were doing this, and I had the luck to be walking behind them, because suddenly one of the members of the police jumped up and from a distance of maybe five or ten centimetres he shot tear gas into the eyes of one of the two men in front of me. He immediately went down on the ground, the other two were also attacked, and so, I have to say, when we were going against those loaded submachine guns - probably loaded, I don't know - against those militiamen, against that line of men, I managed to go and later I got home, to Hanspaulka."

  • "The commander of Prostějov, even through cruel torture, never betrayed my father. And so thanks to that my father missed the arrest of Obrana národa, because there wasn't a record of him anywhere. He later worked in Vyškov at the district public office and they were responsible for the distribution of food cards. They cheated the food cards and gave the cheated food cards out to colleagues, soldiers, and other arrested people. Simply a big problem, because of course there were controls done and people counted, how many cards were where in regular controls. But they did it for the reason that, they knew, that when it was being written on a calculator, which was mechanical, that with the press of a certain key there would be a certain amount added to the sum total, but it wouldn't be printed on the receipt. And so they would then, when they were doing the control after and checking off each number, then of course everything added up, but in addition to that the sum would be increased by precisely that amount for bread, for butter, for all those foodstuffs. And so they cheated it that way for about three years, or two years, I don't know, they cheated the food cards and gave them out to the families of those who were arrested."

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    Praha , 08.04.2021

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    nahrávka pořízena v rámci projektu Stories of 20th Century
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We are fatefully responsible for the first republic and also for Bolshevism. And we will also be responsible for that, which will come after

Jan Opletal, 1969
Jan Opletal, 1969
zdroj: archiv pamětníka

Jan Opletal was born on the 18th of March 1947 in Olomouc as the younget of the three sons of Adolf and Hermína Opletal. His father was a pilot, as part of the first republic Czechoslovak army, during the Second World Wr he entered the anti-Nazi oriented resistance organization called Obrana národa (The Defense of the Nation). In the year 1948 he became one of the first instructors for the pilots of the Israeli army, the training of which happened in the Czechoslovak Republic as part of the secret operation ‚Důvěrné Izrael‘ (‚Faithfully Israel). After that his military career started to really take off. He became a member of the General Staff of the Czechoslovak People‘s Army and the commander of the 3rd fighter air division, but in the year 1961 he was thrown out of the army for unclear reasons. At the start of the 50s he was also shortly imprisoned and interrogated in the infamous Domeček na Hradčanech. Jan Opletal grew up in the Hanspaulka in Prague, where his family had to moved to after his father‘s reassignment to Prague. He first apprenticed to become a locksmith , later he studied at an industrial middle school and finally at the Faculty of Law at Charles University. In August of 1968 he experienced the occupation of Czechoslovakia by the armies of the Warsaw Pact, but most importantly a year later he directly took part in the mass demonstrations against the occupation and also their harsh suppression. After his university graduation he worked at the Local Economic Administration until the year 1992, following that he worked as an entrepreneur in the area of used art and in the end he returned to his original field and after his advocate exams founded his own advocacy company.