Otakar Randák

* 1926  †︎ 2019

  • “On 5 May 1945 people already dared to publicly tear down German signs, flags started popping up on houses already on 2 May, although the Germans had declared a ban, they had lost the ability to enforce their rule on the city. It was interesting that especially the eisenbahners [railway men] were already armed. There was what was called the Armed Railway Guard, nicknamed arghers [Ozbrojená stráž železnice, osožák, in Czech - transl.]. Those were of key importance to us because they were equipped with sub-machine guns and they had already posted themselves at critical locations. It was around 7 May, on the main road from Prague to Poděbrady, a German detachment in a half-track followed by infantry were crossing the Nymburk bridge. At that moment the Nymburk HQ sent us word to knock down the blockades that were prepared at the bridge’s exit in the direction of the Nymburk main square. We knocked a log down in between the beams that were standing there, the half-track headed right for this barricade, and one of the boys, a soldier’s son, we reckoned he was crazy. He lifted one of the beams about chest-high and stood himself right in front of the half-track, and it rammed into [the beam]. An officer jumped out of the half-track and aimed a pistol at him. One of the arghers let rip with his sub-machine gun and hit the officer right in the head.”

  • “The local authority assigned our unit to support the Russians who were disarming the retreating Germans. We were providing guard service for them, which consisted of escorting the German groups that had surrendered to an assembly place. We stayed there until June 11th. On June 11th they said good-bye to us, and they invited us to the market square in Nymburk where a public celebration of the country’s liberation was held. We marched there, rifles in hand, and a speaker from RA declared: ‘Our country will never forget what you have done!´ Well, it did forget, and quite soon, in 1948.”

  • “What was interesting was the way that small groups of Boy Scouts were able to continue in some minor activities like the meetings of patrols, which had about 6 to 10 boys each. At that time, a magazine for youth was being published; it was called Mladý hlasatel (‘Young Herald’). It was published every week and the magazine was presenting a story of a boys’ patrol, which Foglar called Rychlé šípy (‘Fast Arrows’). Another Foglar’s book, called ‘Boys from the Beaver River,’ was published at the same time, and it became immensely popular. The idea was to use these stories to establish so-called ‘Clubs of the Young Herald Magazine.’”

  • “When we arrived with the father to Liberec in 1945, they immediately offered him to choose a house there. I have to say that the Revolutionary Guard ruled there at the time and that the dealing with them was a shock to us. For instance, they offered father a house, which had been obviously inhabited by Germans before. It was a large house and it had probably belonged to some well-to-do family. Father however said to me: ‘You cannot think that I could move into a house which had been built by somebody else. It belonged to a family I knew. They were Germans, yes, but they were very good people. I cannot do this.’ That was it and none of our family eventually returned there.”

  • “I was a student at that time. I became involved in the student demonstration in February 1948, when we marched up to the Prague Castle and chanted a rhyme using the name of minister Kopecký: ‘Hey, minister Kopecký, give us books to study!’ All of us were expelled from the university for that. My only luck was that I had already passed the first state examination, but otherwise it was all over for me. Naturally, they also forbade us to engage in Scouting at that time, too. We did have a few more meetings in Tortuga, because we thought that we could not just watch and do nothing, but they dealt with some of us pretty quickly. I was sent to the Auxiliary Technical Battalion to Pardubice, and thus I began working on installing supports to railway tracks.”

  • Celé nahrávky
  • 6

    Praha, Gymnázium Jana Keplera, 01.12.2011

    (audio)
    délka: 01:33:09
    nahrávka pořízena v rámci projektu Stories of 20th Century
  • 7

    Praha, 19.10.2014

    (audio)
    délka: 02:08:39
    nahrávka pořízena v rámci projektu Memory of nations (in co-production with Czech television)
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After February, we thought that we could not just watch and do nothing, but they have dealt with some of us pretty quickly

 Randák Otakar
Randák Otakar
zdroj: archív pamětníka a současné foto sběrače

Mr. Otakar Randák (Oskar by his Boy Scout name) was born October 18, 1926 in Nymburk. In 1937 he joined the 2nd Boy Scout troop in Nymburk, which began to specialize in water sport activities. After the occupation of Czechoslovakia and the dissolution of Junák (the name used for the Czechoslovak Boy Scout organization) one patrol of the 2nd Nymburk troop decided to continue their activities under the leadership of Oskar, who was their oldest member. The patrol later became registered as a ‘Young Herald Club,‘ and functioned as club n. 1717 called ‘Hoši přírody‘ (‘Boys of Nature‘). In 1943 five members of the patrol formed a crew of the sailboat Vorvaň (‘Spermwhale‘) which they had built themselves. During the war, secret training of Boy Scouts was organized by the leader of the 2nd troop of Nymburk Boys Scouts and the commander of firefighters and civilian anti-aircraft defence Otto Hamtil (Sáhib). Under his leadership, the Scouts formed a network of messengers (called ‘Zbojníci‘ - ‘Highwaymen,‘ later Intelligence Brigade) which was providing information for paratroopers deployed in the Protectorate territory. In the last year of the war the patrol was incorporated in the so-called response squad of the firefighters corps in Nymburk. From the outbreak of the uprising against the German occupants in early May 1945 until the middle of June, their squad served as guard of the municipal authority office in Nymburk. They also served as messengers, using bicycles and motorcycles, and they participated in the defence of the bridge over the Elbe River. Immediately after the war, Otakar Randák and his patrol began working on the construction of the Water Scouts‘ harbour called Modrá Flotila (‘Blue Fleet‘). However, events took a different course, and after the communist coup d‘état in February 1948 and the student protest march to the Prague Castle, in which Oskar participated, he was expelled from the university and drafted to the Auxiliary Technical Battalions. He was able to complete his studies only after 1989. Otakar Randák has been working in the power engineering industry for his entire life, and this career enabled him to travel abroad to ‘allied‘ exotic countries like China or Vietnam to work on construction of power plants. At present Oskar serves as the leader of the Old Scout Club of Water Scouts called ‘Hlavní přístav‘ (‘Main Port‘) and he is the co-founder of the Scout training centre in villa Tortuga in Nymburk, which was donated to the Scouts by the Ruml siblings.