Bohuslav Andrš

* 1926  

  • "When I joined the army, there were a lot of Subcarpathian Ukrainians there, a good many Jews and Czechs - the locals, they were mostly officers, and then there were the Volhynian Czechs. I'm not of that category, I'm an exile. And then there were people like me, from the Ukrainian villages, some from Mariopol, from Kherson, from Novorossiysk, and even Czechs all the way from North Caucus. And then the individuals from as far as Omsk, Leningrad, Moscow, Khabarovsk and goodness knows where else. They might have been the grandsons or relatives of the legionaries that had been there in 1914 to 1918. And also people like my mother - exiles deep inside Russia, especially from the Volga basin, Orenburg and that area. My family lived there as well, for three years."

  • "The Slovak National Revolt broke out, and they probably - according to historical sources, as I know and as no doubt everyone knows - were counting on us being deployed into combat somewhere around the Moravian Gate. Because there were pointlessly too many troops in these parts of the Carpathians. They were moving in through Hungary, so they would've by-passed the whole thing. But the Slovak National Revolt broke out, so hurrah and off we go to help the revolt, so off to Dukla. And there... You know all that from the sources, there's no point in me talking about it. Opinions vary on whether too many died there and for no good reason. But really, that wasn't the only place they were dying pointlessly in. Because, I do have to say, the Soviets' method of fighting was: 'We are many and no one is important.' ... I arrived at Dukla. The first impressions were appalling - the impressions from the 8th and 9th of September 1944. We were almost fit to pull back from combat, in those first moments. We regrouped somewhat, strengthened the lines, but the truth is, we lost many of our own there."

  • "I'm not originally from Bohemia, from Czechoslovakia. Unlike others who had crossed the borders and entered the army, either in the West or in the East, our foreign army. I'm the descendant of post-White Mountain exiles. My ancestors left - as far as I've been able to find out - sometime around 1740. That means that I am the seventh or possibly eighths generation to be born abroad."

  • "Everyone returned, but I stayed. And I was afraid, rightfully, that they would send me back, that the Soviets would say: 'You belong there, you are a Volhynian Czech.' So I didn't write home. Two years - from 1945 to 1947 - I didn't write home. In 1947, they even asked after me through the radio, as they did after the war... And a friend came to me one time and he said: 'Bohouš, I heard in the radio this morning, that they're looking for one Bohouš Andrš etcetera. Wouldn't that be you?' I said: 'Nah, no one would be looking for me. Give me a break!' I told me to go there and ask, but I didn't go anywhere, I was afraid. In fact, I had made up my mine to such an extent, I was so determined, that if they had caught me and were taking me away, I would have jumped out of the train. It was a completely different place here, to me. When I was in the demobilization detachment in Kroměříž, as I remember, on August 6th, they dropped the bomb on Hiroshima. There were various notice boards and I read the newspapers. Mostly Rudé právo, Svobodné slovo, Lidová demokracie (transl.: The Red Law, The Free Word, The People's Democracy). And I saw that each paper wrote in a different way, in an interesting way. I thought that was something brilliant! Back at home, they were all, whether it was Pravda, Pionýrská pravda or Izvěstija (transl.: The Truth, The Pioneer's Truth, The Report) - all exactly the same. So I liked that very much."

  • "The Soviets came, and with them the kolkhozy, persecution and imprisonment. We lost our father. Not just us, that year of 1938 they took away thirteen people from our village. For no reason at all. They sent them off to Siberia. Just one returned, Pujmun his name was. No teeth, a broken man who couldn't even remember, where he had been. The rest never came back. Not until 1956, when Khrushchev replaced Stalin and Malenkov (the witness probably means the 20th Congress of the CPSU and Khrushchev's denouncement of the Stalin personality cult - ed.), they sent my mother an announcement: 'Your husband was unlawfully repressed...' And we don't even know where he rests."

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    Byt Bohuslava Andrše, 14.07.2009

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    duration: 56:36
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In 1938 Soviets came to our village and deported 13 of our neighbours to Siberia. Just one returned

Bohuslav Andrš in 1941
Bohuslav Andrš in 1941
photo: Archiv dcery pamětníka

Bohuslav Andrš was born in 1926 in the village of Czech Alexandrovka, near Odessa in the Soviet Union. He comes from a family of Czech post-White Mountain exiles. In 1938, his father was deported to Siberia by the Soviet regime. Between the years 1941 and 1944, Andrš remained in his home village under German and Romanian rule. With the arrival of the Red Army, he applied to join the Czechoslovak foreign unit. After basic training, he was assigned to the reconnaissance company and fought in the Dukla offensive. He was also a member of the chemical corps. He took part in the liberation of Czechoslovakia with Svoboda’s units. After the war, he refused to return to the Soviet Union and remained in Czechoslovakia. He worked as a gendarme, and then as an investigator for the National Defence Brigade (SNB) until his retirement.