Josef Šimek

* 1930  

  • “Accompanied by the soldiers with bayonets we were approaching the village. I saw the neighbours women with their hands above their heads, crying and pulling their hair out, as the soldiers took all the men already. We lived up the way from the village, so we were the last to see what it looked like. They led us in front of the school and stood us in two rows. They talked a bit and brought more people from the village. They also brought František Jirauch (Jan Jirauch – editor’s note), who studied a technical school in Brno. He was sleepy and saw us in front of the school and a light machine gun mounted up a column. He got scared and ran into the family Nováks´ gate and away through the garden. But it was all surrounded by guards, who shot him. He was dying all day and night with his mum near him. So he was the first one dead...“

  • “There was Mrs. Bäcker, whose husband was the head of police. She had a daughter Linda and a son Bobík. She was not mean. Her father could speak German, as he studied in Vienna. He said that when the order is given, we would be shot in five minutes. There was a pear tree so I was trying to get behind it, partially at least. We were afraid as they were bringing more and more of them. The German, Mrs. Bäcker, was speaking for us and a so did the local priest. In the end it did not happen, but they said they would take each tenth man. I was seventh and my father eighth. We got lucky, so they sent us home.“

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    Uničov, 11.05.2017

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So now they are going to shoot us

Josef Šimek in 1945 during the school at the locksmith at Hanisch & Co. of Prostějov
Josef Šimek in 1945 during the school at the locksmith at Hanisch & Co. of Prostějov
zdroj: archiv pamětníka

Josef Šimek was born on 17 June, 1930 in Vranová Lhota. His seven-member family lived there in the middle of the fields in a wagon provided by the village, which they plastered with clay and made cozy. Following secondary school in Vranová Lhota the witness started machine locksmith studies in August 1944 in Prostějov trading company Hanisch & Co, which, amongst other things, produced the routing claps of the Messerschmittu Bf 109 for the German war industry. Already three days in his job he witnessed an aircraft battle. In February 1945 he was sent home to Vranová Lhota due to the arriving front. A day before the end of war German soldiers arrested him together with his father. All men over thirteen years old were gathered in the centre of the village. They were meant to be shot for the death of a single German soldier and the whole village to be burnt. Luckily they let most of the men go. But three local citizens died by German bullets. Following the war the family moved to Velká Kraš, where they ran a bakery. Josef Šimek studied gymnasium in Jeseník and graduated with a yearly course for pedagogues in Olomouc. He taught at elementary schools in Jeseník, Široký Brod, Petrovice and in Vápenná, where he was a director in 1970 - 1990. Since 1993 he has been living with his wife Olga in Uničov.