Josef Svoboda

* 1923

  • “Nothing much was happening here, we were only making paper bags and envelopes, but nobody was physically abusing us. We were doing morning exercises and they were taking us for walks in the prison yard. We would be running around in a circle all the time, and the warden would stand in the door and make us run for twenty or thirty minutes. Then we would go back and sit behind small tables in the hallways and make paper bags.”

  • “[What did the Gestapo men wanted to hear from you when they were interrogating you?] They wanted to know what we had wanted to steal from there, asking about our anti-German activity, our resistance. [They were interrogating you in Czech or German?] In German.”

  • “We were not producing anything new, only repairing old things. Vehicles that had been damaged on the front were being brought to us to the factory. There was a large site behind the factory which was used as a scrap yard. We were going there to pick some spare parts which we could use for the repairs. And that’s where they caught us, because some thieves had been at the scrap yard site the night before. I don’t know what they were doing there.”

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    Turkovice, 28.12.2012

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The Gestapo in Pardubice was the worst experience

Josef Svoboda
Josef Svoboda
zdroj: Martin Reichl

  Josef Svoboda was born March 14, 1923 in Turkovice in the Pardubice region. His father earned his living as a musician and bandmaster in Turkovice, and his mother took care of the family farm. Josef learnt the tinsmith‘s trade and began working in an armament factory in Přelouč. Damaged German trucks and armored vehicles from the front were being repaired here during WWII. When working on the repairs, the employees were sometimes using spare parts from a nearby scrap yard. Thieves were however coming to this scrap yard at nights and one night when Josef went there for some spare part, he was arrested and taken to the Gestapo station in Pardubice, where he was interrogated. He spent six months in prison. After his release he returned to the arms factory in Přelouč where he continued working until the end of the war. After the war he found employment as a bus driver for the state-owned bus company and later as a driver for the police.