Second Lieutenant Vladimír Baum

* 1922  †︎ 2011

  • “While we were then in France, there were two brothels. One for officers and the other one for rank and file. The chief-doctor was a female and she held a major’s rank. Many of these French prostitutes were infected, it was like an army of infected women, perhaps they were being infected on purpose to infect the soldiers. Gonorrhoea, syphilis, and all that, and you went to this brothel, and when you got out, there was some non-commissioned officer standing there, and there was a row of us. With a card saying with which prostitute you were. If you had this paper, OK, if you were infected and you did not have a paper, your leave was cancelled for two years. They treated you, but you could get no leave.”

  • “While we were nearby that Austrian town, we were being bombed. But we were used to it, to the bombs being dropped and the sound they made. But this time there was no roaring noise. I said: ´Something is going on here.´ And there were air raids coming at us. We had our radars there, it was a slope of a hill and a village under it. Several hundreds of bombs were dropped. It was the splinter type, you know. If you were covered, you were OK. But otherwise you got riddled with holes like a sieve. And a while after this mess, a mayor of that village was calling us, all the men had to go down to the valley. Spades and shovels. Eighty dead. Cattle, people, children, everything was destroyed. So we went to dig a mass grave.”

  • “We came there, and all of a sudden: take your uniforms off, your submachine-guns. I say: ´Are you crazy or what?´ - ´Take your uniform off, I say!´ They were partisans, who were not drafted anymore. They could have gone on a leave or they could have run away with their weapon, but now they wanted uniforms. Because a uniform is a uniform. Who could’ve known you were a partisan. ´Take them off! And your shoes and long pants! And the shirt! All right. Thank you.´ There was no avoiding it. And we were to report in two and a half hours. We were only lucky that it was in early May. So we came up and our oberleutnant, the first lieutenant, and tells us: ´Guys, have you gone mad or what?!´ You cannot stand attention if you don’t have your uniform. ´Come up here. What has happened?´- The Austrian partisans took away my uniform.´- ´Well, I will not go down either, then.´”

  • “The Germans will come. And they did. It was on September 10th.We were just digging potatoes. A neighbour came to me: ´Come look at it, Germans are now in Rapotín.´ I replied: ´I don’t care for any Germans, I need to get my potatoes out. I got no time to go there.´ But I saw them. Their vehicles with tracks, and everything was riding to us. With their firearms, helmets. They were passing over Jeseníky, Frývaldov, Sedlo all the way to Zábřeh and Mohelnice. It was somehow predetermined. The borderline was drawn there. This was where the protectorate was created.”

  • “I still had this one cow. Her name was Beletuta. This was the way we farmed. And then a certain Neuman came there, saying ´I am here for the cow.´ They have already taken the other one. And I tell him: ´Why, you don’t even have a chain?´ - ´The chain goes together with the cow.´ And then I started crying. On the road there. The cow kept turning around. Because he was a stranger to her, he had not been working with her all her life. The cow was still turning her head and mooing.”

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    Petrov nad Desnou, 28.08.2009

    duration: 02:32:59
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
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Communism and fascism can shake hands. Stalin had Siberia and Hitler had concentration camps.

Vladimír Baume
Vladimír Baume
photo: archiv pamětníka

  Vladimír Baum was born July 13th 1922 in the German village of Petrov nad Desnou, in settlement Terezín. His father Josef was a German, his mother Cecílie a Czech. He went to school in Rapotín and Šumperk where he was taught in Czech. After the occupation of the Sudetenland he was drafted to the German army in January 1939 and assigned to Luftwaffe as a pilot. He went through training in Jüterborg and he was deployed to France, where he took part in air raids on Britain. During his fourteenth flight he was shot down and he had to make an emergency landing. He suffered serious brain concussion and he was not able to fly anymore. After his recovery he was assigned to radar operators. After a one-year training in Nancy he got to Croatia where he worked at a radar station, but he was transferred again after three months. This time he was sent via Hungary and Poland to Russia. He was in charge of a radio transmitter which was positioned six kilometres in front of Leningrad. After five months he became ill and he was sent home for treatment. After his recovery he went to Vienna Neustadt to a local radar station. There he experienced two massive air raids. Shortly after he was transferred again, this time to the Austrian Alps, where he was building another radar station high up in the mountains. The station was destroyed by an Allied air raid, and Vladimír Baum nearly lost his life there. After the war he was interned in a POW camp. Then he went to Vienna to his cousin, and lived and worked there for a short time. In winter 1947 he returned home and in 1949 he was granted Czechoslovak citizenship. He died in June 2011 in the Terezín settlement.