Major Jiří Plakoš

* 1920  †︎ 2010

  • “The occupants treated us like animals. As soon as someone disagreed they started to explain with a baton.”

  • “We lived in wooden cabins there. Before we moved in, there probably lived some workers in there. We slept on bunk beds made of planks. We were given two uniforms – one was for training and the other was for our spare time, a so-called “walking-uniform” that we put on when we went for a walk in the city after our exercising ended. In Buzuluk there was a huge city park where all the war-wounded, all the leg-less and arm-less soldiers were passing their time sitting there on the benches. We used to confer with them and they’d talk about how terrible the situation on the front is. They said it’s no fun and that we should be prepared for what’s waiting for us. Even if you listen to all these stories, you don’t quite believe it until you experience it yourself.”

  • “As a closing remark I’d wish for everybody not to live to see neither the beginning, nor the end of war. I wish an end to war as such. Because war is the worst thing for humankind. Not just for the soldiers but for the civilians as well. They have no life at all, because they don’t have the doctor, the don’t get any supplies, nothing.”

  • “I had a friend from school who was a year younger then me. His brother had married my sister so we were in fact relatives. He had family close to the border that he used to visit often. There he found a guy who was helping people for money to cross the border to the Soviet Union. We arranged a date and place where we were supposed to meet with him. I had no idea whatsoever where we were going. We walked through some forests, over hills, until we came to the meeting point. There were approximately forty other people and after we paid him (he asked for 200 Crowns per person) we set out. He must have known the area pretty well because we didn’t encounter any problems at the border. Only on the Soviet side were we arrested by the border guard and isolated until we got to Buzuluk.”

  • “We had a lot of misfortune but we were also lucky that we stayed alive, that we our arms and legs were not torn of. A lot of the poor guys lost their limbs – there’s a lot of cripples. The western army doesn’t have as many cripples because they didn’t participate in such heavy combat. They had five hundred officers that were trained like ordinary soldiers because they just didn’t have so many men and therefore couldn’t send them off to such a massacre. The fighter plane pilots they did a tremendous work, it was a piece of good fighting what they did. Whereas the armored brigade – they left it to stand idle. And at Dunkirk, the Allies liberated it and they then had to stand on guard. We don’t envy them that it was their luck and our misfortune; that we got into such a misfortunate situation.”

  • “Well, they just did their duty: Stoj, šag vpravo, šag vlevo (stop, step right, step left)... The border guard has to do its duty – they do it today as well. They didn’t beat us or anything. At the beginning they put us in something like a precinct jail. It was a made-over praying room. We were about 115 and stayed there for a week. Then they moved us to a huge camp in Starobielsk, where other 20 thousand people were located, predominantly Russians. From there I went to some more camps in Buchta Nachodky, and from there to Kolyma and Magadan.”

  • “My impressions of the enemy were pretty bad. The German fascists, Hungarians, they were all swine. We didn’t treat them like they treated us.”

  • “To say the truth my directors were always holding me in high regard because they had read in my papers that I was fighting in the war. These were people maybe five years older then me, some younger and some in my age and they all knew what war is like. They respected somebody who had fought in it and stayed alive and worked like a man. I can’t say that they’d ever harm me. On every occasion they just let it be known that I’m somebody who’s got experiences.”

  • “It was in very short order because they needed to supplement the unit and send it off to Novochopersk as quickly as possible. It was no two years, it was two to three months and then off to the front you go.”

  • “Neither what they said that on the eastern front it’s all communists, that wasn’t true. When they interned us it was because they didn’t want us to enter the k… Nobody organized us. It always takes two, one to gain us and the other to consent. And when there’s neither the one nor the other, you don’t do anything like this.”

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“For everybody not to live to see neither the beginning, nor the end of war. For an end to war as such. Because war is the worst thing for humankind. Not just for the soldiers but for the civilians as well.”

Jiří Plakoš
Jiří Plakoš
zdroj: soukromá sbírka pamětníka

Jiří Plakoš was born in Carpathian Ruthenia where he lived until 1940. In August 1940 he emigrated to the Soviet Union where he was held captive s a refugee. He was first placed in the local jail and later deported to a huge detention camp in Starobělsk. After a short while he was taken to Nachodka-Bucht, from there to Kolyma and to Magadan. Like the other Czechoslovak camp inmates, Mr. Plakoš was eventually released and joined the Czechoslovak army corps in Buzuluk. He was with the artillery and participated in the liberation of Kiev, Bílá Cerekev, and the Jásly and Dukla operations. He‘s got two children and lived with his wife in Kladno. He died on October 20, 2010.