Jiří Čechura

* 1933

  • “The buses were crammed full, and they were fueled by wood gas. The bus would suddenly stop in the middle of a hill, and the driver would have to climb up the ladder to reach the boiler which was attached from the outside at the back of the bus. He had to poke inside, throw in a log of wood, and only then the bus would start moving again.”

  • “On November 8, 1943 she stepped in front of us and asked: ‘Boys, do you know what anniversary we have today?’ Obviously, nobody knew and she explained: ‘Well, on November 8, 1620 the Czech estates army was defeated in the battle of White Mountain near Prague and three hundred years of Habsburg servitude followed.’ She continued to explain the hardships we suffered under the Habsburg rule. The class was really so silent that you could hear a pin drop. We all became petrified. Although we were just ten years old, we were aware that she probably ought not to be saying this.”

  • “We received numbers to put on our backs and breasts. A medicine ball was placed in the middle of the yard, and Herr Leiter climbed up a stepladder. He was a German who could not speak Czech but he was in charge of the whole examination process. He had a whistle and a notebook and the teachers took their places around us along the wall. They climbed up the wall so that they could see well, and when Herr Leiter blew the whistle, we had to start fighting for the ball.”

  • “After graduation I was to start working as a teacher. I did not know where I would be placed, but already while we were at school they were persuading us to go somewhere to the Karlovy Vary region. At first we did not want to, but then as members of the Youth Union we said: ‘So what, it does not matter after all, we are young and we will go!’ I eventually did not go to Karlovy Vary region, anyway, but instead I became employed in Černošín in the Stříbro district.”

  • “There was a doctor, a German, of course, and a young German woman who was a secretary. The doctor measured our faces with an instrument which is similar to the tool used for measuring the size of the face for civil defence – he measured the angle of the nose, length and width of the face, protruding ears, and so on. Those who had fair hair and blue eyes had their admittance guaranteed. I was not among them. I had green eyes and my hair was brownish. I was a kind of ordinary boy.”

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    U pana Čechury doma, 13.08.2014

    duration: 02:02:06
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
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I lived for work with the children

18 let.jpg (historic)
Jiří Čechura
photo: vlastní archiv

Jiří Čechura is a son of a shoemaker and a worker from Dolany. He was born in 1933 and he grew up in the village Dolany near Pilsen when times were quite difficult, but in spite of that he likes to remember the time of his childhood. In 1942 he undertook entrance examination to the grammar school in Pilsen, and he was eventually admitted after some minor complications. In the last years of his secondary school studies he transferred to a pedagogical class for future teachers. Jiří started his teaching career in Černošín, from there he moved to Trpísty and then to Rozvadov, a small town on the border. While there, the Communist Party accused him of deliberate arson of the school building. When the true cause of the fire was discovered, the charges against him were dropped and he settled in Kladruby near Stříbro where he became a school principal. At present he is one of the important citizens and patriots of the town.