Milan Čapek

* 1935  

  • “It was after revolution in 1989. I was in former company committee. I was there already before revolution shortly. At the last meeting, the committee was supposed to take a position regarding whether or not we support our government. That was after the 17 November. We voted and I was against it. All the directors and other people were there. They were wondering a lot. And two more, a man and a woman, also voted no. So the three of us were against the whole gathering. They immediately started asking me why. I told them: ´Now I don’t wish to comment at all. It is Friday, let’s wait and see what Monday brings.´ And just a little note. On Friday morning the students were attending companies persuading them to make the change happen, so the director, who does not live anymore, he threw them out of the gatehouse. He just did. On Monday, when we came back to work, the changes in government happened at the weekend and we gave up our management... so the director was the first and in the gatehouse he was telling everyone: ,We have to vote for a new government!‘ etc. So he kicked them out on Friday and on Monday he was the first to vote for them.”

  • “We were listening to London broadcasting a lot at home. Once I saved my grandpa from going to concentration lager. He knew too well, when London began broadcasting. We were the only household with a radio in the unit. Grandpa had an ear on a London radio. I don’t know how it was exactly, I just saw the door knob turning all of a sudden. And I was nine or ten years old, probably nine, and I thought it may be Mr. Štelcik (note: German neighbour and former soldier of Wehrmacht). So I ran to the door and made a long step and screamed out loud, "Mr. Štelcik, I will not let you in!" Grandpa immediately retuned the radio, switched it off and went to work. And that just happened... always in a larger house lived a German. That was fatal to Mr. Šlosar (note: next house neighbour), who also listened to London. They sent him to concentration camp and he never came back. So it was all that simple.”

  • "I remember that next to the house, where I lived, there were something, I am not sure what they called it, something like a town house. It was next to the tenant flats. And I know a certain man, a chemist I think, lived there. A very decent (note: German) family. They had a daughter two years older, about thirteen she was. I do remember they were decent. They got scared the end of war came and the Germans lost so the whole family poisoned themselves. I remember we looked at their coffins being carried out of the house. As I say, they were decent and didn’t hurt anyone, got on with the Czechs well. And on the other side there lived a German man. We called him ‚gauleiter‘ or what kind of a rank he had. He wore a uniform and the exact same moustache as Hitler, including the hairdo. I remember him well. And he used to check if someone had a light on at night and so on. He was the kind of person to let everyone know that he was a German. I don’t recall exactly when they started to produce pioneers, motorcycles... And suddenly I looked out the street of 5 May and saw the bloke riding the motorbike and still wearing the same moustache. So you see decent people who rather poisoned themselves and this kind, who tried to scare us during the war and remained living happily amongst us.”

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    v Jablonci nad Nisou - Kokonín, 09.05.2016

    (audio)
    duration: 03:33:08
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
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As children, political matters did not interest us; we did not understand the war at all.

Milan Čapek - dobová.jpg (historic)
Milan Čapek
photo: aktuální - z natáčení 9. 5. 2016; dobová - archiv pamětníka

Milan Čapek was born on 1 March, 1935 in Jablonec nad Nisou, where he lived during the time of the war. After the war, he helped his parents run their butchery. In 1948, they had to close it down due to political uprisings. They moved to nearby Nová Ves and began farming there instead, but not for long. The socialist agriculture policy forced them to enter the agricultural cooperative, and In 1950, Milan Čapek began working as handyman in a locksmith’s workshop of the company Naveta. Within the company, he was transferred to work in the toolroom and entered into a three-year tool training. He finished his training in 1953, and then continued to serve for twenty seven months for the military service at the border patrol in České Budějovice. Then he returned to Naveta, later known as Elitex. Twice he was elected the toolroom manager, but since he was not a member of the communist party, he was repeatedly deposed from the position. He has memories of the company events in November 1989. After the Velvet Revolution1 he became the toolroom manager and worked for TTP Elitex in the supply and cooperation division from 1996 until 2002. He is married and has a daughter Milena and a son Milan. He currently resides in the suburbs of Jablonec nad Nisou.