“I go to church, but God is a term I do not understand...”
Karel Chlebik was born in Albrechtice between Ostrava and Český Těšín in 1925 in a Polish family. His father was a miner and his mother a housewife. He had three siblings - two sisters and one brother. He did not finish elementary school because the war broke out in the last year of his studies; and, because of his Polish nationality, he was not allowed to continue with his education. Instead, he was sent to forced labour camp to mine. After the death of his father his mother remarried, she married a man who applied for the Volksliste. As a so-called Volksdeutsche, Karel Chlebik was drafted in the German army in 1943. After his training in France he was sent to the western front in Italy. He spent half a year in the trenches at Monte Cassino. During the English offensive of May 11, 1944 he was captured. A draft to the Allied army was carried out among the captives. Karel Chlebik joined the 2nd army corps of general Anders, which advanced northward. He went through a sappers´ training and received a driver´s licence. As a soldier working within the staff unit, he did not take part in direct combat anymore. He returned home in 1946. Then he worked in the Vítkovice Steelworks, where he was employed until his retirement in 1985.