Otakar Rambousek

* 1923  †︎ 2010

  • “To find out what the truth is and to keep to it, resolutely and regardless of anything else, whatever the case may be. It’s allowed to dodge around in whatever way, as long as it’s fair play - everyone has to sort that out with their own conscience, to what extent they’ll collaborate, or if not at all. Then of course, you have to keep to what you believe and defend the truth. It’s clear now that communism isn’t the right path to take.”

  • “Then I’d have to walk in the dark through terrain where you could easily break a leg. Stumbling over potato patches or fields of beet, or even corn, which was a metre high. Well, pushing your way through that, you were wet up to your thighs from the dew. It didn’t matter when going to Germany, but when going in, you needed to look as if you’d gotten up just half an hour ago. Early in the morning, at five o’clock, when the first train left. Whichever train, just to get away from Cheb, whether it was to Karlovy Vary or to Pilsen. The first train that left, I’d jump into and say: ‘I came at the last moment, give me a ticket.’ I’d buy a ticket from the conductor when things went like that. The amount of baggage you can carry is limited when you have to overcome several kilometres of rough terrain. That was not our purpose, to carry things, the main thing was the post. The liaison at the other end took all the post, the messages, and the reports.”

  • “The situation was that we didn’t come up against anyone the whole time. We descended one floor at a time. At about quarter past, half past four, I’d say approximately, we reached the entrance hall. In the meantime the SS, whether they had or didn’t have wounded or dead members, they took off, they had a bus stationed somewhere, and they’d left. In the whole radio building, when it was over, there was just one dead man lying on a bench by the tuning room on the ground floor. One of our state policemen, complete with cloak and helmet. That was the only victim inside that I saw. The civilian employees were hidden away somewhere because they knew the place. But there was no man-to-man combat there. Because of course, and understandably, those old German geezers and SS men, the few who were there... they weren’t in a hurry to rush into real combat, into a firefight... Nowadays those memorial plaques have a pretty list of names, but those were all from the street. People who came to help the Radio and were shot. When we finished inside, there was one dead man lying there.”

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To have a clear opinion and to insist on it resolutely and uncompromisingly

Rambousek Otakar 1949 - 1964
Rambousek Otakar 1949 - 1964
zdroj: Bezděková O. 2010. Odchod za úsvitu. Statečný kurýr a pěšák komunistického odboje Otakar Rambousek odešel na věčnost. Paměť a dějiny 2010/02. 66-68, ÚSTR, Praha

Otakar Rambousek was born on 21 January 1923 in Prague. His father, a veteran of the Czechoslovak legions of World War I, a Sokol functionary, and a self-employed metal roofer and plumber. Upon completing „town“ school (upper primary school), the witness refused to study any further. He wanted to train and then work with his father. Instead, after finishing his training he was sent to labour in Berlin in 1941. In 1944 he returned to Prague with a forged travel permit. A bribed doctor issued him confirmation of a heart defect, and after protracted negotiations at the employment office he obtained an excellent job - he was assigned as a mechanic to the Barrandov Film Studios. Otakar Rambousek participated in the Prague Revolt. He took part in the fight for the building of Czechoslovak Radio, and until 11 May he acted as a messenger for the Bartoš military headquarters in Bartolomějská Street. After that he worked at News Film until 1948. He was convinced of the criminal nature of the Communist regime and of the inevitability of World War III, in which he wanted to fight on the side of the democratic West for a free future for his country against the Soviet Union, and so he emigrated to the American zone of Germany and he began making border crossings with espionage missions for the CIC. On his last, fourteenth journey, he was betrayed by one of his co-workers and arrested by State Security. The court sentenced him to life imprisonment. He was jailed in Leopoldov, Mírov, Valdice, and he was not released until 1964. In 1968 he co-founded the a club for former political prisoners, Club 231. When the country was invaded, he and his wife emigrated via Italy to the US. While in exile he began writing. His book Jenom ne strach (Just No Fear) tells the dramatic story of the resistance group of the Mašín Brothers. He also wrote an autobiographic novel titled Paměti lichoběžníka (The Memoirs of a Trapezoid) and many short stories. Otakar Rambousek died in Prague on 3 June 2010.