We fooled around, but in the things that mattered, we kept together
Jiří Rak was born on 5 August 1924 in Prague as the eldest of the six children of Josef and Terezie Rak. His father was a Czechoslovak legionary and an artist. The witness spent his early childhood in Radotín; shortly after the birth of his third younger sibling, the family moved to Břevnov. There he completed primary school. During Sunday Mass at St Margaret‘s Church, he made the acquaintance of Jiří Svoboda and Karel Morávek, who initiated him into Christian Scouting in the Catholic altar servers‘ society Legio Angelica (LA). He became and advisor, and shortly before the war he became active in the Jeleni (Deer) Troop. He met with his friends from the troop even after LA was banned in autumn 1940. During World War II he learnt to be a decorator, he took to amateur theatre. In 1944 he was allocated to forced labour at the Ruzyně airport, where he repaired German planes. The end of the war found him in the village of Brázdim near Prague, the home of a girl he was dating at the time. After the war he returned to LA, and in June 1945 he helped establish a new Scout troop at what was called the Camp of Seven. In the autumn of the following year he began his compulsory military service at the 105th Artillery Regiment in Košice. While there he met his future wife. After their marriage they lived in Prague-Břevnov. They had two children, but their younger son died while yet a child. From 1948 Jiří Rak worked as a hand lettering artist at a studio in Žižkov. In the 1950s he was fired because of his class origin and family history (his father was a self-employed, non-party man, and a legionary to boot); until his retirement he worked as a mechanic at Tesla Hloubětín. In the 1980s he divorced and moved to Olomouc with his second wife, where he lives to this day.