Jan Sýkora

* 1935

  • "At “Jelen”, they were looking at what they were taking with them. Everybody had a box or a backpack or something. So the commissars were there sorting it out. You can take that; this is what stays here. And what they liked, they kept, well. I didn't like that either; I still cannot forget that.”

  • Two days later, he was in Chvalshiny and didn't walk along the road; he walked around the stream how there is a stream down there by the bridge. Then we lived in the last house in Chvalsiny. And it was occupied by the Germans, there was Wehrmacht inside, but my dad slipped in there, woke up my mom, and he said, 'Hey, I wasn't here, I'm just going to take my bike and run away.' So he ate some more, took the bike, and the Germans asked him if he was going to work, and he said yes. So he rode on the bicycle to Smědec, Vadkov, the brother, and the sawmill. Because it was Czech, there were no Germans there. And he hid thre until the end of the war. But two days later, the Gestapo was there, and they questioned my mother. You know, we were little, but I heard it all."

  • "He was working in Lyra, and there he suffered an accident, a plank fell on him, and he had a severe concussion, and he went insane. After that, he walked around the village, and where he saw Hitler, he would take him down. The Germans didn't like it, so the Gestapo came and took him away. Dr Wolf Jr. wrote down his medical condition immediately, that it wasn't his fault, that he had gone mad. So they took him to Mauthausen, and he worked in the quarry. Because he was skilled and understood the machines, he took out the rubble, the stones that they were dredging or digging for the Wehrmacht. And what happened? There was a big bombing. He was there for a year and a half. And when there was a big bombardment, the Germans hid inside, the ones guarding it. And the convicts, they run away. And my father also managed to escape. And he walked all day, and then he was in the woods somewhere at night, and suddenly a man kicked him and said, 'What are you doing here? The Germans are searching through the forest, and you're lying here!' My dad was all confused and said, 'Well, I don't know, I was just... they bombed us, so they threw us out.' He says, 'But you can't be here like that, in that uniform!' And he was some kind of a gamekeeper, and my dad spoke perfect German. And the gamekeeper says to him, 'Hey, wait here, I'll go get you some clothes, hide, and don't take a step away from here! Nobody here yet, so I'll get you some food and the clothes.' When it lasted about half a day, he was afraid that they would come to arrest him again. But the gamekeeper came, and he woke him up and said, 'Here's your food, and don't take the train or the bus! You must go through the woods and not go on any road; they search everything.' So my dad walked from Mauthausen and got to Chvalsiny that way."

  • Celé nahrávky
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    Chvalšiny, 30.05.2021

    délka: 01:08:54
    nahrávka pořízena v rámci projektu Stories of 20th Century
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    Chvalšiny, 02.07.2021

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    nahrávka pořízena v rámci projektu Stories of 20th Century
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I wish nothing like this would ever happen again

Jan Sýkora in the army in Bratislava, 1955
Jan Sýkora in the army in Bratislava, 1955
zdroj: Archiv pamětníka

Jan Sýkora was born on May 10, 1935, in Chvalšiná, into a mixed Czech-German family. His mother was German, and his father was Czech. After the Munich Agreement, Chvalsiny became part of the then-German Reich as a predominantly ethnic German municipality. In 1942, Josef Sýkora‘s father defaced the Nazi decoration of the village, for which the Gestapo arrested him. He was then interned in the Upper Austrian concentration camp Mauthausen, probably staying in one of the branch camps. After an Allied air raid aimed at the immediate vicinity of the camp, he managed to escape from prison undetected. Subsequently, he walked home to Chvalsiny and from there to his brother in nearby Vadkov, in the territory of the Protectorate. There he hid in a barn until the end of the war. After the war‘s end, the vast majority of the inhabitants of Chvalšiny were deported to Germany, and the witnesses’ mother‘s relatives had to leave as well. In the post-war period, the witness trained in agricultural mechanisation at the apprenticeship in Hnevkovice. He completed his basic military service with the Border Guards at the border crossing with Austria in Bratislava. Before he enlisted in 1955, he married Maria Táborská, with whom he raised three children. He worked in agriculture all his life. In 2021 he lived in Chvalšiny.