Vladimír Beneš

* 1928  

  • “I and all the others were naturally interested in it, and we always listened to a radio, not to our broadcast, but the broadcasting of other radio stations. In 1968 we could listen to a number of stations via the Austrian service, including the smaller ones which were changing frequencies constantly. And in 1969 we paid attention to the news, to who said what and how people, especially the politicians, were prepared to react, if there was some conference or a politician went for some meeting to the Soviet Union, Hungary, or Slovakia, we followed the political activity, to put it simply. This was done by people who didn’t have to write. And those who had to write found a specific station, and followed it from editors’ viewpoint. But everybody was interested and everybody was listening to it, and when they came home, they continued listening.”

  • “The brother decided we would go for a trip to the Black Lake, then walk along the borderline and me and Standa would separate from the group there; there were two of us. So we did, each of us had a small backpack, the others as well, but they had some snacks in it. There were 14 or 15 of us, a smaller group. When we arrived to the border, and we could see the hill sloping down, the two of us stayed behind and when the others disappeared behind the hill and where the patrol was.”

  • “I know of some colleagues, whose brothers then told them: ´I’ve suffered because of you, they kicked me out of a job, I lost a lot of money,´ and extended a pleading hand. They thought: ´You’ve had a good time here, you’ve been earning money for 40 years and you could do whatever you wanted while we’ve been suffering there.´ But this was not the case in my family, nor with my parents or with my brother or his wife. I can thus be very happy with my family. And with the other people as well, none of them have ever blamed me for anything, nobody, not even my classmates, whom I now met for the first time in 60 years.”

  • “Since there were already six of us, a car took us to Regensburg to an assembly camp for refugees from Czechoslovakia, it was called Goethe Schule. We also found some people we knew there. We were assigned to a lower class, there were 12 or 14 of us, but it was fun. We were receiving food, personally I have nothing to complain about, I had a roof over my head and food, albeit very simple food at times, but I was not hungry. I think none of us could complain that they were hungry.”

  • “As people were gradually retiring, they were telling me: ´Man, you’ve ruined my life. Because of you, I never knew when I was free for a date and when not. You were creating my schedule, when I was allowed to go for a lunch, and when I had to go for a dinner.´ But it was not meant seriously, we parted on good terms. These were good times.”

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    Mnichov, 27.10.2009

    (audio)
    duration: 51:03
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
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“Nobody blamed me for having left the country.”

Vladimír Beneš
Vladimír Beneš
photo: Archiv pamětníka

Vladimír Beneš was born April 1, 1928, in Zdíkovec in Šumava. He had an elder brother. When he was a child, the family often moved because of his father’s profession (he worked for a customs patrol). At first he attended a Czech school, then a Slovak one, in 1939 he was admitted to the grammar school in Čkyně, and he completed his secondary studies in 1947 in Písek. After that he began studying at the Faculty of Chemical Technology in Prague. From 1946 he was also actively involved in the scouting movement, thanks to which he emigrated to Regensburg, Germany in 1948. In 1949 he attempted to move further to Australia, but he was stopped in Italy. He returned to the assembly camp in Ludwigsburg and from there he was sent to the Language Institute in Ulm, where he learnt English. He got his first employment in Ludwigsburg in the Tracing Service in a doctor’s consulting room, but only for a few months. Then he found another employment in Resettlement Center in Munich, where he worked just for half a year before starting as a producer at Radio Free Europe in May 1951. He held this position until 1989, after that he worked as a program director until 1993. Since that time he has been working on organizing the collected documentary material.