Karel Bečvář

* 1931

  • „We were in a cinema Legiodům with my class, and they were showing the movie called Zborov. It was already near the war. And when we came outside, of course we were discussing it as boys, it was a great battle of Zborov. And a lieutenant was listening to us and said: ,So how about you, boys, would you defend the republic?‘ And we replied as one man: ,Of course, we would!‘ and we were excited. And then we were taking a walk with the class we saw the transporters with the army in a transporting cars and buses. We were waving and were glad to see our soldiers, but we didn’t have a clue what war means. They tried the gas masks on at school, it was a good thing to miss a couple of classes. We would just put the mask on and imagine we are soldiers too.“

  • „At around three o´clock in the afternoon a Russian soldier woke me up, who came to us. He had a machinegun, the one with a little drum. And told us he´s searching for Germans and was really thorough opening all the drawers of the night stand. Back then we didn’t know that it was really cool for them to find a watch. Then we saw some who had that many watches… Their behaviour was, I don’t want to say evil; they were people who went through a terrible hell. Surely they were different to us, but sometimes they were quite primitive, some of them. For example I met about thirty people marching together and they all had an umbrella and marched with it. Probably not to get wet by the rain or they saw it the first time in their life I don’t know. Or that happened at our home and she was a soldier. She washed herself in the toilet, in the basket and said, how silly it is done, that the water is flowing down for such a short time. I am not laughing at her, she just came from a certain environment and had it in herself. Today it is not true as the progress goes on.“

  • „But then we laughing at it as much as we could, we were young and silly, somehow superior to ourselves, so we always had a laugh. You probably wish to hear something quite funny. So a boy ran from a lager in Pardubice – for that you got a prosecutor. In a few days he came back, holding his mum´s cake wrapped in a newspaper in his hands and our chief interrogated him: ,You climbed over the fence!‘ And he replied: ,Comrade, I did, but my soul went past the gatehouse.‘ Or it happened in Tábor. It happened to a boy from Prague, a very tall one from a high school and he bumped into a police woman. And didn’t salute her. And she said: ,They didn’t teach you to salute in the army?‘ And he replied: ,Indeed they did, I don’t understand military barches‘ – ,I am a younger constable.‘ – ,And I am an old trouper.‘ And just left.“

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    Byt pamětníka, Ladova 5 Jihlava, 07.04.2015

    media recorded in project The Stories of Our Neigbours
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It is all right, when you are already in prison

Karel Bečvář
Karel Bečvář
photo: Archiv pamětníka

Karel Bečvář was born on 26 March, 1931 in Jihlava in a family of a trader. He had seven years older sister; his mother was at home. During Heydrichiad his father was arrested for two days during a station search. At the end of war the witness was placed to the German Armed Group due to the fact he spoke German. With his friend they went to meet the Soviet Army and came back with the Soviets. In 1948 he was expelled from the secondary school as he refused to join the Czech Association of Youth and because his brother-in-law emigrated. With his friend they also decided to emigrate and left for Bavaria. In a detention camp in Regensburg they got enlist in the Foreign Legion, but from France after disillusionment soon escaped back to Germany. He risked returning to Prague to ask for a visa in Argentinian consulate, but he was not successful. His sister left meanwhile for her husband, so Karel Bečvář decided to stay with his parents and went to the secret police. He got arrested and shortly imprisoned; was released in amnesty. He served army service at PTP in constructions in Slovakia and Bohemia. He worked all his life in a brewery, where he gradually worked his way up to beer brewing. In 1990 he prematurely retired in disability pension.