Otto Brück

* 1915  †︎ unknown

  • "I was lucky to go abroad as a soldier. I was one of the few NCOs to be a corporal, while everyone else was almost a sergeant. I don't even know what came to my mind, but all the saints had to watch over me. The last day, when the whole army was disbanded, I went to the regiment headquarters and said to them: Look, everyone around me is sergeants, I'm still a corporal. What if I need it one day? In the last hour of the army, the lieutenant colonel issued an order, thanks to which I was promoted to sergeant. Later I took the last transport to France. Italy declared war and the Mediterranean was closed. I became a novice instructor there, because there were a lot of our people abroad. For example, many Slovaks who were employed in France as miners, Baťa family, Zbrojka factory workers from Brno and also people from Škoda. In the end, the remnants of interbrigadists from the Spanish Civil War came to us."

  • "If he is a man who has a commanding position, the main thing is to think and use his common sense. I once received an order from a later general, then Staff Captain [Vilém] Sacher, to place my battery in a firing position at some point. I thought I'd go see it first. So I went and came across a bunch of Soviet soldiers: What are you crazy about, where are you going? After all, the Germans are there! If I obeyed him then and drove there, it was bad, because it was all occupied. However, the regulation remembers similar situations, because the order may not be obeyed when it was issued at a time when the commander's information differed."

  • "We happened to come to a man who provided us with a guide. He led us through the woods and got lost. Suddenly he stuttered and ran away and we were left alone. Fortunately [pausing]… there was such a hunting lodge. I peered into it and prayed that our man would be in there. They entertained us, took a nap, and the next day we acted like we were going to buy trees for Christmas, in case we were met by a patrol of soldiers. It was December at the time. So at half past seven in the morning we went out with his wife, who led us, while he went forward as a searcher. Their name was Kopřiva. Eventually we got to Makov. When I came from the war, I wanted to get in touch with Mr. Kopřiva in order to thank him. So I wrote to the National Committee there and did not get any reply."

  • Full recordings
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    Trutnov, 21.01.2003

    duration: 02:11:57
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
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It was our won World War II

Contemporary photo of Otta Brück (around 1945)
Contemporary photo of Otta Brück (around 1945)
photo: archiv pamětníka

Otto Brück was born on August 12, 1915 in Brno to a Jewish family. Due to poor housing conditions in Brno, he spent most of his childhood with his grandmother and grandfather in nearby Ivančice. In 1937 he quit studying at the Faculty of Law of Charles University prematurely and enlisted in the Czechoslovak Army. On March 15, 1939, just before the dissolution of the General Staff, he was promoted to the rank of sergeant. On December 18, 1939, he illegally crossed the borders of the protectorate in order to join the resistance in exile. Through a complicated journey through Slovakia, Hungary, the Balkans, the Middle East and the Mediterranean, he reached France in the summer of 1940, where he worked as a novice instructor. After the Nazis occupied France, he and other soldiers were evacuated to England, where he underwent a number of trainings over the course of four years. in the summer of 1944, he was transferred to the Eastern Front, and in the autumn of 1944, he joined the fighting in the Carpathian-Dukla operation as commander of the 3rd Tank Division of the Czechoslovak Army. Along with the front, he then reached Martin in Slovakia, where he spent the end of the war. On May 15, 1945, he was assigned to the General Staff. In 1946 he demobilized and with the rank of captain in reserve became the national administrator; later he worked as a guide in the travel agency Čedok. He lived in Trutnov at the time of filming the interview (2003).