Miloslav Čermák

* 1928  

  • "And the Germans were bored, so they took their rifles and went out for a walk. They came to us, along the track, under the track, over the bridge, over the river and got to a town where there were a lot of people. Where a lot of people were concentrated. But nothing happened, no one fired, the soldiers went smoothly. Well, but the local partisans… when the Germans came to the gendarme station, our and the red flag hung there. Russian, it really bothered them. So, one of the Germans started scratching at the pole and wanted to take down the flag. But, our guerrillas, across the street, there was a narrowed gate, there was a crack, it was visible from here. The carpenter took a pistol and shot the man. He fell down. And he shot another. The Germans then took them and carried them away. They wanted to disappear. But the Germans made an alarm, they all withdrew and disconnected the locomotive, put a heavy machine gun on it and rode along the track. And they shot everything on the opposite side. They shot windows, shot a lot of windows, and shot people's clothes. As their clothes hung in their closets, they shot their clothes in pieces too. So he explained it to the head of the railway station in Jihlava, to the Germans, that he was unlucky here, that the Germans would shoot it here. So he pulled one train on the track, on the bare track, and made room there, and they had a vacancy. They got rid of everything, all the shooting, connected the locomotive, jumped on the train and left."

  • "Yeah, Gottwald died, then. And there was a parade in front of his coffin in Letná in Prague. And we went there… we were artillerymen, we had black shoulder straps. And we had to sew them red to sit in front like infantry. There weren't that many pawns. There were also other troops there, so we got on, we stopped as the Powder Bridge is, above, above the Castle, it goes through the Deer Moat. There you can go to the Castle… We were about the third car, ordinary civilian cars, we did not have any military cars. And we stood there, sitting like infantry, then there were also cannons, some tankers, but there was a whole army. And we stopped, so we stared for an hour. And when the funeral was about to begin, there were a lot of civilians on the sidewalk. They brought some stepladders there and put them on the connecting spot… they set up the stepladders there, climbed on them, and when they were all upstairs, the stepladders cracked and they fell to the ground. A moment later, the coffin was moving - before the coffin was moving, the lieutenant tells me, 'Look if there is ammunition in the chamber, if a submachine gun is loaded.' I said, 'No, I didn't get any ammunition.' I always got ammunition for the whole battery and I distributed them to the soldiers when they fired. And I said, 'I didn't get any bullets, and I didn't give out any.' But it was an order, everyone had to open the gun to show that there was nothing, no bullets. I said, "No, no one has any bullets.´ So Gottwald was safe."

  • "But take care of yourself. You know, a greedy mare is kicking. If they catch you, they'll shoot you. We said, 'We know that. But they can shoot us there tomorrow. Here we have a chance to somehow get, at least closer to home.´ We walked through the city, the streets were bombed out… just piles of bricks. Suddenly someone threw down a metal plate there - we went quietly - we have to walk quietly. Suddenly we lit a flashlight, 'Watch out, an unexploded bomb!' We said, 'It doesn't matter. It mustn't explode now.' And we walked through the piles until we reached the station. There were a few people at the station, there were such a big clock. They hung - they were punched out, only the wheel hung there - they were already bombing there. And there I normally bought… I wanted to join us in Luky, but they said they only sell within sixty kilometres. So I bought it within sixty and that was all the way to Třebíč. I went to school in Třebíč for a year, so I knew it there. I knew that in Třebíč a line from Vienna connected and there, through us, led the main line Berlin-Vienna, one of the main lines of the Great German Empire. And that connecting station was large, and there were packed one train next to another and many soldiers. The cannons were there, heavy artillery and lots of soldiers. And now they pulled a locomotive there, and we it was about ten kilometers to Luky. And we said, 'Man, we could run on foot,' but there were guards, guards walking with machine guns, men in leather coats at the entrance.'“

  • "It all took five seconds, the whole raid. And now the first bombs began to fall down and I was fortunately on the edge and I jumped… I saw it rise, about two hundred meters from me, about twenty meters high, piles of plowed trees where they dropped the bombs. It was not visible at all. I jumped to the river and there was a footpath from the fishermen and now I ran out along, whatever it took. But we had such clogs, it didn't go well. It had a wooden sole, so I wanted to untie it, it didn't work, so I wanted to pull it off, it didn't work either, so I stopped doing everything and ran away. And now I heard a bomb whistling and I thought it was flying right at me. So I hit myself in the grass and held on desperately and suddenly the bomb exploded so close that it threw me, I lost contact with the ground and flew up, high and there I turned and fell down, on my back holding two handfuls of torn grass in my hands. Fortunately, the bomb went out upstairs, I don't know if anyone was killed there or not, I didn't chase after that. And immediately they fired at us from a machine gun, they arrived… and immediately fired at us. And one of those doses went about two meters down the river, I saw lines in the water, from those bullets. And then we ran away and I got lost. It was after the alarm and I went home. And I couldn't find where the school was. And there were crowds, mainly women with prams, carrying small children and especially food. Get out of town.”

  • "And when they conquered Hodonín, the soldiers came to our school and each took two boys. He took me and another boy and a soldier with a submachine gun. And I asked him what we were going to do. He said we would dig Maschinengewehrnest, simply that we would dig machine gun nests for heavy machine guns. That means this deep, exactly in a semicircle. There stood a man, only his head was visible and otherwise he was covered and could shoot. We came to the first houses, there was a way. There were fields on one side and family houses were starting on the other… he pulled out a map and said, 'Hier.' There was an elderly lady there, she saw a German soldier, so she shuddered. I say, 'Lady, don't worry. We're just going to the garden to dig a machine gun nest.' And she said,' Jesus Christ! ... 'I said,' I'm not to blame.' So we dug. We dug one and then at the other barracks, we dug the other. And the soldier rode with a wheel! A submachine gun on his neck, we loaded it on him, and he left with it, emptied it and "move, move." It was already clear that the Germans were afraid."

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    Kladno, 31.10.2019

    duration: 03:01:56
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
Full recordings are available only for logged users.

I heard a bomb whistle. And I thought, it is flying straight at me

Miroslav Čermák in 1943
Miroslav Čermák in 1943
photo: archiv pamětníka

Miloslav Čermák was born on August 3, 1928 in the town of Luka nad Jihlavou into the family of a small tradesman. A family with two children owned a house with a grocery store and a small farm in Lukach. After primary school, the first-born Miloslav wanted to study at a grammar school, but after the occupation of Czechoslovakia by Nazi Germany and the establishment of a protectorate, the grammar school in nearby Jihlava was closed for Czech children. The German employment office also refused to study at the Business Academy and sent him to a two-year Business School. He also had to leave here after a year. In September 1944 he was sent to forced labor at the BMW factory in Jihlava. He remained there until the beginning of March 1945 and was subsequently transported to Brno, where the Germans were preparing to defend against the approaching Red Army, and sixteen-year-old Miloslav Čermák was forced to help build trench fortifications. He experienced many air alarms and subsequent bombings in Jihlava and Brno. He was under a direct death threat during the raid on Brno on April 12, 1945. It was the last raid before the arrival of the front, when life in Brno remained completely paralyzed. Miloslav Čermák, together with several other boys, decided on a dangerous and then relatively dramatic escape home. The last days of the war he hid in Luky nad Jihlavou and experienced the retreat of German troops and the arrival of the Red Army. After the war, he graduated from the Business Academy and continued at the University of Economics in Brno. Due to the changes that took place in 1948, he left the school voluntarily and decided to study at the Czech Technical University in Prague. He served in the war with artillerymen in 1952-54. After the war, he began working in foreign trade, negotiating contracts for the construction of Czechoslovak power plants. He refused to join the Communist Party for the rest of his life, although membership in the party was a condition for traveling abroad. Nevertheless, he eventually traveled to many countries around the world. And only thanks to his professional and, above all, extraordinary language skills. He is now retired, married, and has raised two children with his wife. He lives in Kladno. Under the collective title The War Years of the Louky Boy, he wrote down his memories of childhood and adolescence in detail. They are full of authentic experiences presented in historical contexts and supplemented by unique photographs from the liberation of Louky nad Jihlavou.