“My name is Václav Bouzek. I was born in former Poland, which is said to be Volhynia at present. It is still Volynskaya Guberniya and it used to be like this even before. Around 1870 and later the Czechs from Czechoslovakia started leaving for Volhynia, for the czar Russia at that time. They were given forests for free there that they cut down and burnt in order to gain arable soil. They gathered there from all possible regions of Pilsen, Dvůr Králové and from various Czechoslovak regions. They were establishing Czech villages there. After WWI, from 1914 to 1918 and then the Polish Republic was formed there.”
“They took us to Vrútky. Here we had to go upwards because all tunnels, as well as bridges and roads were destroyed. We went towards Žilina over a hill, we saw Žilina from top. We saw with our own eyes Germans walking down there, there were blockages on the roads. Some kind of five concrete pillars. Žilina was conquered without fighting because when they saw there were more soldiers concentrated on the hills then they run away. We won over them without a fight. We carried on marching. They didn't resist very much. They only stopped us at night and in the morning we carried on without fighting. We got as far as Horní Mariková where we crossed the Slovak-Czech border. We came to Starý Hrozenkov.”
“We came to the village Makhnovka where the Soviet Army retreated and we received our own part. It was a disastrous start as they planned we should go 7 more kilometers. This never happened. We were assaulted by the Germans because we came just within the range of fire. Our reconnaissance, who was supposed to go at least a kilometer ahead, went only 200 meter. The road was totally under German control because there was just one road. When they heard carriage rumbling in the evening, they started shooting with shells. Both horses and people were killed. Luckily enough it was foggy in the morning and they couldn’t see us. They occupied hills around and if it were sunny they would kill us off. The weather actually saved our lives. And then rain, which was a bad thing, but poor visibility helped us and not many of us were killed then.”
“I didn’t reach even the Czechoslovak border. At Hejrová Mountain, nicknamed Death Mountain, a splinter ran into my right jaw. I was hit by a bullet. The bullet was even pointed as if it hit something. I had it for 5 days, my collar bone was broken. The bullet stuck in my shoulder and they took it out only in Lvov. What luckily saved me was that I strove to run about 10 meters – I got to the road. Our brigade major’s car with already 3 wounded people passed by. The driver and one more person jumped out and they threw me to the wounded. They saved my life this way otherwise I would bleed to death from my right jaw artery. They took us to a Russian military hospital.”
“They pulled out the roots that remained there. I stayed there for 28 days. There were even cases when you had a smooth shot through your mouth. Your tooth had to be pulled out so that they could feed you. Civilian nurses gave us liquidized food; it resembled sucking from funnels through some kind of elastics. When they took it off, none of us could open his mouth. There was a kind of gym, we sat there against the mirrors and daily had to open our gobs with small pliers of various sizes.”
“Perseverance, integrity and patriotism – values that need to be incessantly preserved.”
Corporal in retirement Bouzek Václav was born in the village Maslenka in 1923, he is a Volynian Czech. He attended a Czech-Polish school. He joined the Czechoslovak Army after the German assault of the Soviet Union. He underwent training in Lucko, later in Romania and Bukovina. He was wounded during the fights at the Dukla Pass. Having recovered he was transferred back to the front in Slovakia, he went with the Army all the way to Bohemia. After that he was transported by a freight car to hospital in Lvov where they performed surgical interventions. Later he was transported to Moscow where he spent almost four months. At the end of December he was told he would be sent on “komanděrovka” (an official journey) and transported to the town Rovno. Having been healed he was given a medical finding record and he moved to Dubno. Dubno was only 18km far from his birthplace. Then he was transferred to Poprad where a reserve regiment was being formed. He got with two other Volynia Czechs to 3 brigade of 1 battalion of 5 company. The company was transported to Pivín - they were supposed to support the Rumanian Army in ambush in case their offensive failed. They detected the location of their enemy with periscopes. The assault was planned for 9 AM. However, lieutenant Kaňák informed the troop about the assault postponement. When he arrived for the second time, before 12 o’clock, he told the soldiers the war was over. In the morning they marched towards Prague right to Horní Počernice. They stayed there for two weeks. Then they went in procession to Prague. After the war he returned to his parents to Volynia, he settled down in Moravia after repatriation in 1947. He lives in Nedvězí at Olomouc. He passed away on April, 23th, 2014.