Colonel (Ret.), Ing. Ladislav Vitoul

* 1945

  • "In 1952, suddenly, I would say with a wave of a magic wand, our family became hostile and capitalistic, and we were given 48 hours to move out of this villa. I remember how my dad got a horse-drawn carriage here in Řimice, we loaded what we could load, and we moved to my mother's parents, who lived in the square in Olomouc. Here, of course, the chairman of the Communist Party, named Šrom, lived in the apartment upstairs. Mr Šrom lived there with his wife and they had two children. As he died, the children split the apartment in half. A son and daughter with her husband worked here in the factory. I say that because when I came after restitution, all three were still working here. Nota bene young Šrom still works here today. So, I let all three of them work here until they retired."

  • "I was even wounded. I still have a scar here. I was in the hospital. I had a torn stomach and then an Indian doctor came, put a fist on my stomach, pushed, and the wound healed. I was shot with a gun during a shootout right outside in the field. We drove for reconnaissance and there was some mortar fire against us, one shot next to me, another inside, then we jumped out of the car, it exploded, shrapnel flew. I stayed with a friend named Alex (Thomas) Cudjoe, who was the commander of Ghana's only anti-aircraft ship in a civilian life. He was a great friend of mine, a representative of the group we were in. We drove together and he was dragging me for about eight hours, crawling with me as I was bleeding. He dragged me back to the camp and actually saved my life. All night. It wasn't until the next day that we got there."

  • "Then I also helped to find out what the conditions in the city of Halabja were, where Saddam Hussein used a poisoning substance and about eight thousand people died. I even have photos hidden somewhere. I was there also after four years, in 1992. We drove people there. We were newly settling it. We were the first to be there immediately after the corpses lay there, and we organized the loading of the dead and the bodies were taken away. I don't like to remember it, because then it sometimes comes back to me."

  • "Such house fiduciaries came to our family and found out how we talk and how we don't talk. They also checked to see if my dad was coming here. I even remember that when All Saints´ day was, because of course we have family tombs here, my dad had his parents and grandparents in Měrotín, so always fourteen days before All Saints´ days, someone rode a bike here to prepare it and so that no one would catch him. We were absolutely forbidden to come here and we were not allowed to show up anywhere."

  • Celé nahrávky
  • 1

    Mladeč, 22.01.2020

    (audio)
    délka: 01:39:00
  • 2

    Mladeč, 27.01.2020

    (audio)
    délka: 55:19
    nahrávka pořízena v rámci projektu Stories of 20th Century
Celé nahrávky jsou k dispozici pouze pro přihlášené uživatele.

I don‘t like to remember it, because then it sometimes comes back to me

Ladislav Vitoul in the UN mission in Iraq
Ladislav Vitoul in the UN mission in Iraq
zdroj: archive of the witness

Ladislav Vitoul was born on December 18, 1945. He spent his early childhood in the village Mladeč, where his father Ladislav Vitoul Sr. ran a family limekiln. Shortly after the communist regime took power, the factory was nationalized in April 1948, and in 1952 the family had to move out of their house to Olomouc within forty-eight hours. The official decision also included a ban on entering Mladeč and its surroundings. Due to his class background and the resulting small chance for university studies, Ladislav Vitoul joined the Czechoslovak People‘s Army in 1968 as a professional soldier. He remained in its service until the fall of communism. From June 1988 to May 1991, he served as a commander of the UN Observer Group in Iraq and until March 1992 as commander of a group incorporated with the UNHCR humanitarian organization in the northern part of the country, which was inhabited mainly by Kurds. He was wounded twice, and the image of the devastation caused by the war was indelibly etched in his memory. In March 1992, he was released from the army from the rank of the colonel at his own request, because the limekiln, that was founded by his grandfather, was returned to his family in a restitution procedure. Ladislav Vitoul then ran the newly established company Vitoul, which in 2017 was ranked among the 100BEST in the Czech Republic.