Rudolf Bělohoubek

* 1933  †︎ 2009

  • “They wanted revenge but I don’t know why, what for etc. I was just a little boy and I only remember the turmoil – hands and feet going up and down. I was also involved in a cople of fights, it happened. Your conscience doesn’t let go.”

  • (question) “What did you feel (in November 1989), what did it mean to you?” “Well, things loosened up...” (question) “Did you expect what happened in 1989? Or did you think that…” “Well, I saw the whole thing as, I saw it as a continuation of 1968. I didn‘t expect it per se, just from how I used to visit my aunt in Germany, right, so I had some information from Germany about various changes. I was waiting to see if things would loosen up or if they wouldn‘t loosen up. Because there was political tension, all around there was political tension. I wasn‘t active in any, you know, but I just checked out a few articles now and then, to see what was going on, right, well, and importantly – I just cheered for Gorbachev. He was the biggest chess master, right, he check-mated the Soviet Union and pushed it to its knees, so. And that‘s how it all… speeded up.” (question) “When you think back on it after these twenty years, were your expectations fulfilled?” “I didn‘t expect anything as such, no expectations. I didn‘t have any pre-formed ideas of what was going to happen next. How it goes is how it goes. That‘s history. I didn‘t affect it in any way. Certainly not.”

  • “The teacher told the class that there’s a mouse in the school. The mouse was eating everything it found except for metallic parts – mice eat paper as well. I had to stop hunting mice so I went somewhere else for hunting. I had to hunt mice on the shooting grounds and fairs etc. They went for lunch and the mouse came and ate everything it could find and after that it disappeared again.”

  • “They don’t know about it, I’ve never told them what happened. I didn’t want to traumatize them. It suffices that I have to bear it for the rest of my life. Time goes by.”

  • Expired long time and came 15th březen 1939th.Do zou want to know what the weather? Snowing and raining. Germans at 4 o'clock in the morning standing in the yard. My father looked away and said: 'Oh. Germans. War! This is the end."

  • “So I was accompanying them, I went alongside them and then a turmoil broke out, there was a mob of people and they were beating us. One of General Vlasov’s men threw a bag at me, it was a similar bag like this. One woman said: “He’s a German, shoot him.” I don’t know which one it was but it must have been one of them, this didn’t come out of nowhere. Well, then I just turned around and went home. I didn’t pay any more attention to it. You only realize after years what actually had happened that day, I haven’t told my sister nor my brother about this incident.”

  • “There are certain things in this life that I try to avoid searching for because I consider them to be useless. You can’t bring dead back to life. No doctor can do that. It’s just in a historical sense that you can elevate the dead. Besides that I don’t see any purpose in this. I came in the fifties to Beroun and asked at the funeral office where my parents had been buried. They told me that they are buried on a graveyard in Vráž. I never went there and always tried to evade that place because it would only fill my heart with a desire for revenge. You know what revengefulness is? It can make you do anything. Anything that burns can be burned down. That’s why I always avoided these things. Therefore I’m still here today. If I went down the path of revenge I don’t know where I’d have been today.”

  • “There was no interest on behalf of my siblings to see each other. Everybody followed his own path individually. All we knew was that we were brothers and sisters, that was it. Just the authorities cared about our common origin, but everybody kept their privacy.”

  • Do you want a cigarette? You smoke? You don’t smoke? Do you love? I love, too. Do you know what? Freedom.”

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    Šluknov, 26.09.2008

    duration: 02:50:36
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
  • 2

    šluknov?, 21.10.2009

    duration: 04:12
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
Full recordings are available only for logged users.

Do you love? I love, too. Do you know what? Freedom

IMG_0034.jpg (historic)
Rudolf Bělohoubek
photo: Viktor Portel

Rudolf Bělohoubek was born on 17 July, 1933, in a Czech-German family in Přísečnice in Krušné hory. Přísečnice doesn’t exist today anymore because it was flooded during the construction of a dam. In the school year 1943 - 1944 he was the only one to visit a German school in Beroun. In the closing days of the war in May he witnessed the murder of his parents by revolutionary “looting” guards composed of their one-time neighbors from Loděnice and General Vlasov’s troops. The murder took place on the pretext of the German extraction of his mother. He never talked about what he saw on that day with his siblings. By this time he was eleven years old and his siblings were even younger. The state didn’t allow for adoption of the children by their aunt who fled to eastern Germany. Therefore they were placed in various children’s homes all over Czechoslovakia. Rudolf managed to escape from these institutions several times. He escaped already as early as November 1945 and managed to get as far as Košice. Then he was captured and returned to his institution but he managed to escape over and over again. On his journey through the children’s homes he was stationed in the monastery in Hostinné, the Children’s home in Králíky and the regional training school in Opatovice. In 1953 he and his brother planned a getaway to their aunt Anne in eastern Germany but they were caught on the run and returned to Czechoslovakia. Rudolf served his sentence in the work camp in Kladno. In 1958 he worked in the Škoda works in Mladá Boleslav. As a passionate pilot he was planning to build an airplane and attempt to escape “over the hills” from Czechoslovakia. His plans for escape were, however, revealed and he was sentenced to another 30 months of imprisonment in Pankrác in the years 1959-1961. After his release from prison he worked on cranes and was a construction worker. He had a daughter with his wife. However, they got divorced very soon after her birth and Rudolf spent most of his life in solitude. He visited his brother Joseph in Karviná in 1969 and again in 2008 after 40 years.