Ladislav Švec

* 1920  †︎ 2015

  • “I remember an operation in Vír where we blew up a bridge. Then we blew up another on - that was in the direction of Písečná – Bystřice nad Perštejnem. Our mission was to blow up a German column of cars. It was about fifteen or sixteen cars and a radio station. We were supposed to blow up the bridge as soon as the last car entered it and thereby to cut them off. One group was in the middle of the bridge and their task was to open fire at the Germans and to stop them. Everything worked out well. They were unable to turn around. The bridge was destroyed.”

  • “Q: Wasn't it hard to uphold any hygiene in the forests?” “A: Of course there were problems with hygiene. The paratroopers brought lice with them. It was very hard to sustain. Our clothes were infested with lice. Sometimes, we would lay in a ditch, waiting for the orders. It was almost impossible to move. They haven't changed their clothes for several months. Well, it was no wonder if you consider the conditions we lived in. They burned our clothes in the furnaces in the villages. You hardly ever had the opportunity to take a bath.”

  • “I remember those dates because they rhyme with mine and Hitler’s date of birth. I was conscripted for forced labor on November 26, 1942, and I fled on April 20, 1944. Originally, we were supposed to be stationed in Dresden, but due to the heavy bombing of Dresden, we were eventually stationed in Most. Most was part of the annexed territories. They conscripted mostly barbers, confectioners and clerks and employed us in a petrochemicals company that produced fuel and similar stuff. We were assigned to railway tracks production. We were carrying the iron tracks on our shoulders; the tremendous weight of the tracks was crushing our backs. In Most, I saw for the first time the awful behavior of the Germans from the Sudetenland towards the prisoners of war, mostly the Russian, Polish and Serbian ones. To the French and English POWs, they still behaved reasonably well. We had already been mad at the Germans before, but this only further aggravated our anger towards them. The POWs were starving to death, living in mud and freezing. If a POW for example picked up a potato slice or a cigarette stub from the ground, the German guard would beat him to death with the rifle butt.”

  • “Once, we were stationed in a forest at Velké Janovice. We were resting; the weather was nice and warm. Well, the guards, who were guarding our encampment, intercepted two members of the Vlasov army. We only found out later, that they actually belonged to the Vlasov army. At that point, we had no idea about their true identity. The guards took them to the commander for interrogation. I was present at the interrogation and there was something odd about them that immediately struck me. They were of a shabby appearance, their clothes being ragged but their boots were shining and new. I shared my observation with the commander but he at first thought that my true intention was to rip them off of their nice new boots. I explained to him that this was not the case and he finally got my point. He ordered them to put off their boots and in the boots, we found documents proving that they were in fact German agents. Štefan Kanka – a Slovak paratrooper who stood nearby and who was a trained specialist in the art of silently killing the enemy – jumped at one of the agents and broke his neck in an instant. The other agent, as he saw it, jumped up and tried to run away. Saša Korovin, our commander, riddled him with his machine gun. Then he ran up to him and smashed his head with the butt of his gun. That’s how they were silenced.”

  • “The Germans overran the whole village; they set up machine-gun posts on the surrounding hills. There was no way to escape from that place. You know, they had heavy machine guns – they would have mowed us down regardless of where we would have moved. Their troops withdrew only the next day. Today, I even know what unit it was. It was the 21st formation of the Gestapo police. They withdrew and we saw that they were bringing in their wounded and checking the individual houses in the village. One group surrounded the house and another raided it. They went from one building to the other. The church was the last one to be checked. I can still see the dogs coming up to the church. I said to myself that this was the end. We were getting ready to kill the dogs as soon as they got inside. But the dog just raised its foot, peed and run away. We were lucky. We were even doubly lucky because in the building across the street, there was another member of our partisan group, a paratrooper who wanted to open fire at the Germans. Luckily, the gipsy (Josef Serynek – note by the author), prevented him from doing so.”

  • “In Bystřice nad Pernštejnem, we had the assignment to disarm a German unit stationed in a local school building. It was me and two paratroopers - Janko Silný and Franta Kupsa. Krupsa spoke German since his student years and therefore he was sent to negotiate the handover of guns with them. I went with them and there was also Ivan, the Russian, the fourth in our team. We were successful and managed to disarm about twenty-five German soldiers in a couple of minutes. We made a pile from the guns. The Germans were dragging out the negotiations purposefully, because they knew that reinforcements were on the way. Eventually, an armored train arrived with fresh German troops that attacked us. We tried to hinder their advance by machine-gun fire but they were infuriated when they saw they’re gaining the upper hand again. Janko shot two Germans but was shot himself afterwards. Kupsa perished as well. They were dead at the spot.”

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    Mostkov, 01.06.2010

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    nahrávka pořízena v rámci projektu Stories of 20th Century
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“There‘s no place I didn‘t lay. Even in the stall or in the sump.”

Švec Ladislav
Švec Ladislav
zdroj: Archiv pamětníka

Ladislav Švec was born in 1920 in Daňkovice in the Českomoravská vrchovina. Since 1942, he was a slave laborer in Most. Observing the behavior of local Germans towards the Russian, Polish and Serbian prisoners of war, he decided to flee. After his escape, he was hiding in the forests around Daňkovice with fellow fugitives. After he got into contact with Joseph Serynk, he joined a partisan unit called Čapajev.  In October 1944, a Soviet partisan unit called Dr. Miroslav Tyrš began to operate in Pelhřimov and Mr. Švec soon joined this unit. He participated in several operations, in which the partisans ambushed and attacked German units. His best friend Janko Silný was shot in one of these operations on May 7, 1945 in Bystřice nad Pernštejnem. After the war, Mr. Švec got married and moved to Mostkov (district of Šumperk). He worked for the police since 1948 until his retirement. He died 14th of january 2015 in Mostkov.