Captain Adolf Vodička

* 1913  †︎ 2012

  • “We came to Basil, there were two thousand people for Spain. The divided us to ten groups of two hundred and then into smaller groups of six. Why? I don’t know. And because they speak German in Switzerland and I spoke it, I went to buy the tickets. I said: ‘Sechs Reisekarten nach Zürich.’ ‘Salut!’ I didn’t understand. ‘Say hello to the Spanish!’"

  • “When the Civil War began in 1936, I read the news and listened to the radio and then I heard that there are volunteers from all around the world who want to fight against Fascism and that there already were some Czechoslovak units and that their motto was: ‘In Madrid we fight for Prague.’ So I decided to go. Of course I didn’t tell my parents because they wouldn’t let me go.”

  • “In Perpignan, we were divided into groups of two hundred. They couldn’t have been bigger because [the line] would have been too long. But we thought: ‘Two hundred people. That is so conspicuous that we can as well go altogether. They gave us those Spanish slippers called alpargatas. We had to put off our shoes and carry them with us. But before we made the two kilometers to the place where we were crossing the border, we climbed to two thousand meters altitude. I can say that I made it, but there were bigger and stronger ones who had to return. They were transported later in the night by fishing boats. But there were a lot of men, especially the older ones who had serious problems with the high altitude. When we reached the top we saw Spain covered in sunlight and the way down was quite pleasant.”

  • “I met this girl in London. I met her brother on a ship from France to England and he told me: ‘I have a sister in England… She is as short as you are but a bit cheekier.’ Later I met her, we got to know each other and she said: ‘You’re even smaller than my brother told me.’ And I said: ‘And you are cheekier than your brother told me.’ And we spent the war years in England together.”

  • “Somebody told me that the communists know how to get to Spain. So I went to them and they told me that I wasn’t going alone, that there were around eight of us, but we wouldn’t go together. Then they told us how to get there. So… and one day I simply decided to go. I was on a train and a policeman came in Cheb. He went directly to me and said: ‘You are Vodička? So get off the train, you are not going to Spain.’ I said: ‘But why? I’m going to Paris to see an exhibition.’ There was a big, famous exhibition at the time. But he said: ’Look, don’t try to fool me and get off!’ He followed me to Prague. I had to report to the police for about three months, and then I said to the policeman… We became a bit closer… Look, I have a girlfriend in České Buďejovice. Can I see her? Just for three days.’ ‘But remember, if you escape, I will kill you!’ I said: ‘But if I escape, how are you going to kill me?’ ‘We will find you.’ ‘I promise to be back.’ But I didn’t say when. So in fact I wasn’t lying. So I went to the office and they told me: ‘You will take this train, at Český Krumlov, you will pass the border, there will be a connection waiting after the border with a password. This connection will take you to Vienna, in Vienna, at Ostbahnhof you will take this train and you won’t tell anybody that you’re going to Spain! Don’t you dare to speak about it!’”

  • “Then I said: ‘It is no good, I have to go to Spain.’ I didn’t tell my parents, my dad would never have let me go. I went to the recruitment three times but I wasn’t conscripted for non-sufficient body height and weak constitution… But I could be of any help in Spain. I was a member of the Youth Organization, which was a semi-communist… no it wasn’t… there were a lot of young people who weren’t in any party at all, including me. But I inclined to the Communist Party because I liked their social politics, care about the unemployed and so on. I really liked that, but I didn’t know about any machinations behind the curtain.”

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    Praha, 29.03.2006

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    nahrávka pořízena v rámci projektu Stories of 20th Century
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This is the way it goes, each day is a different story, today they praise you as a saint and tomorrow you will be a swine

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Adolf Vodička was born on 26th January 1913 in Libočany u Žatce, North Bohemia into a Jewish family. His father died when Adolf was one year old. He graduated at a two-year German economical school, and then he worked in different occupations. He was a member of the Sokol and the Youth Organization. In 1937 he left as a volunteer to Spain where he fought in the International Republican Brigades. When the Interbrigades were dissolved he moved to France where he witnessed the beginning of the World War II. After the defeat of France in 1940 he left to the Great Britain and he was discharged from the army. He married a Czech, Hana Levitová. He worked as an assistant to the vice-chairman of the Czechoslovak National Council, Václav Nosek, he cooperated with the New Czechoslovakia journal. After the war he was a member of a settlement committee, in the first half of the 50s he worked at the intelligence department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. He had to leave the ministry and eventually worked in the Political Literature Publishers (Nakladatelství politické literatury). Between 1962 and 1964 he helped to establish the Czechoslovak Cultural Center in Cuba. In the period from 1965 to 1967 he worked as a ČKD representative in India.