First Lieutenant (ret.) Vladimír Bouz

* 1924  †︎ 2014

  • “The garages were on the lower ground, and all of a sudden a flame appeared there. An alarm sounded. The soldiers stormed in to see what was going on. Some jumped on the roof, some right in there. There was a German and he set a barrel with petrol on fire. Obviously, the lieutenant ordered the German to dig a hole for himself and he shot the German. The German had to dig the hole by the fence, the lieutenant shot him there and that was it.”

  • “My youth was so horrible that I would rather not speak about it, because it was so shameful. At that time, the Soviet Union was on the rise – albeit only for a short time, and there was one revolution after another. There were revolutions from 1924 till 1930. They were arguing and killing each other and so on. And that was where I grew up.”

  • “Everybody ran out to see what was happening. There was still some shooting, but only randomly in the air. The lieutenant chose me and one other guy to go and find out what was going on. We walked to the centre of the city in Brno, and there were Russian officers going to the front. We stopped them and asked what was happening: ´My neznayem [We don’t know], we are going to the front ourselves.´ So they went to the front. And suddenly, I don’t know who it was, but somebody shouted that the Germans surrendered and that there was now peace.”

  • “When we flew there for the first time, we had to return. The fog was so thick that they did not allow us to land. We were at that airport, and we were eating together with the air force men. The aviators were getting really good food. I and one more soldier were thus eating in their mess hall. A week after the fog in Slovakia cleared and we got permission to fly. We took off and landed there at midnight.”

  • “After that we served only in the defence, because we paratroopers had no equipment. The only thing we had were these Cossack carbine rifles. [Yes, yes.] Yes, right, yes. [These rifles were for four or five rounds?] For five rounds. We got this as our army-issued weaponry, and nothing else. We thus couldn’t do much but we did keep the defence every time. Wherever they positioned us we kept the defence line until they rotated us with others. That usually happened when the Soviet army went for reinforcements for a week or for a leave and we would guard that section in the meantime.”

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    Ostrov nad Ohří, 31.10.2012

    duration: 02:20:50
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
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Childhood during the famine

Vladimír Bouz
Vladimír Bouz

First lieutenant in retirement Vladimír Bouz was born July 4, 1924 in the village Olšanka in eastern Volhynia in the former USSR. Due to the political regime and the situation in the family he did not attend school and he thus learnt reading and writing by himself. He does not like to remember his youth when famine ravished Ukraine in 1932-1933. Kolkhoz farms were being founded and people were forcibly transported to Siberia at that time and in addition to this, his father was an alcoholic. As a young boy Vladimír worked in a kolkhoz and did agricultural work. He joined the Red Army after the German occupation of Volhynia which lasted from 1941 to 1944. On February 16, 1944 he was transferred to the 2nd paradesant brigade of the 1st Czechoslovak army corps. He underwent training in Yefremov and Proskurov and then served in the 6th company of the 2nd battalion. His paradesant brigade experienced the first combat situation near Krosno in Poland and after that they were sent to support the Slovak National Uprising. Vladimír Bouz reached Zvolen and fought with partisan groups. After this ordeal he rejoined the Czechoslovak units and his company headed for Prague. He experienced the German surrender earlier while they were in Brno, but Prague has not yet been liberated at that time. After they eventually reached Prague, however, only minor skirmishes were going on in the capital. Vladimír Bouz was then positioned to the mines in Jáchymov, where he guarded German prisoners of war and other criminals. After demobilization he continued working in the Jáchymov mines on his own, and later he also worked as a boilerman, in a car-repair shop and eventually as a driver for a spa resort. Vladimír Bouz died in 2014.