Bohuslav Anděl

* unknown

  • “Our village always applied to the Polish government for a Czech teacher to be appointed to our school. There were only four classes in the school but we always had a Czech teacher. Later, my father enrolled me in a school run by the Czech Foundation in Ludsko. I lived with my uncle who had a butchers shop there. We considered ourselves Czech. We never had to be ashamed of the fact that we were Czech. We were always one up on the other nationalities that lived there.”

  • “A mine once fell into a mortar trench and left people there begging: „finish me off, finish me off.“ Someone had a wounded stomach and there were splinters poking out of his back. And he kept begging: „finish me off, finish me off, spare me the suffering.“ You can’t do that, of course. The most you can do is wrap him up and, if you get a chance, take him to the back. It was hard. That’s why I keep telling you that the day the war ended I said it was the best day of my life for having survived. I hadn’t expected to. My brother lost an arm and I envied him because I though: he’s going to get out of here and stay alive but there’s no hope for me. That’s how I felt.”

  • “We were driven to go to war by patriotism. We not only enlisted in 1st Czechoslovak Army Corps but we took with us what the front hadn’t yet deprived us of. We experienced the front twice. The Germans went there and back and no one spared us. What the front hadn’t taken from us we took with us into the army. I took a horse, for example. I didn’t register it anywhere and I didn’t get anything in exchange. We took with us what we could. You see, when we heard orders being given in Czech by the officers it made us happy to be in Svoboda’s Czechoslovak Army.”

  • “I got off the train in Dubno and there was a village there were one of my aunts lived. So we went, my older brother and I, and spent the night at our aunts´. In the morning my aunt harnessed her horse – there was no other means of transport – and drove us home. And we met half way there. Imagine what a reunion that was. And that very night the Organisation of Ukrainian Nationalists came. They wanted me to hand over my uniform. To give them my hat and belt and army uniform that I had brought with me. I was asleep in the bedroom and they weren’t sure so they didn’t enter the bedroom and my wife gave it to them. That way, they left.”

  • “We suffered from lack of provisions. I remember that there was even a shortage of bread. That whenever I met friends I asked them whether they had extra bread and whether they could give me some.”

  • “I was really happy to have lived to see the end of the war. We were overwhelmed by joy because war is the worst thing in the world. Because it kills innocent people. People that are there simply because they were sent to fight. Because they were forced to. The worst thing that can happen is war. Those that have power decide to start a war among and ordinary people go and leave there lives there. For nothing, just like that.”

  • “We attacked from below and the Germans had us on a plate. There was heavy mist but when it suddenly dispersed, they had us on a plate. When they opened fire, I remember there was a small hole, a tiny trench I thought I might just crawl in to. And when I looked out of the trench I saw people and horses dropping like flies. It was terrible.

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    Praha, 18.09.2002

    duration: 55:01
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
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Those that have power decide to start a warand ordinary people go and leave there lives there For nothing, just like that

Bohuslav Anděl
Bohuslav Anděl
photo: archiv pamětníka

Bohuslav Anděl comes from a family of Volhynia Czechs. When he was a child Volhynia belonged to Poland, the most numerous section of the population being Ukrainian. Bohusalv Anděl recalls the life of the Czech community, especially the feeling of pride in being of Czech origin and the strong patriotism. For him and many of his peers it was this pride and patriotism that motivated them to join the 1st Czechoslovak Army Corps. As a sapper, Bohuslav Anděl took part in severe fighting at Dukla; he describes his experiences caring for the wounded. He also gives an account of his strong and undying yearning for the end of the war and his loathing of the nonsensical fighting. In 1947 he re-emigrated to Czechoslovakia and attempted to run a small farm in Žatecko. However, he was almost immediately forced to join a Kolkhoz (a collective farm system) in which he worked until the onset of his illness. Bohusalv Anděl is convinced that today’s society does not properly appreciate the merits of the soldiers who fought on the Eastern Front and thinks they are neglected and denied appropriate honours.