“As far as service goes, when the Soviets got as far as to our place, they begun running out of petrol. A special train was dispatched from the east with twenty-five cistern cars. I had not known it was bringing petrol for the Russian units. It was an extraordinary event and when the train began its journey someone anonymously announced its number and time of arrival and told me: ‘There will be a overheated bearing in the train, have it repaired.’ Anyone working in the branch knows how long it lasts and how far it can go. It had been calculated so that it would knock over at my station. Twenty-five cisterns with petrol. I was hesitant. If I were to do such a thing, that would mean commiting suicide. I probably wouldn’t be sitting here now if I did. I do not know how they found out but when this train left Půchov, the Soviets soon found out about the overheating bearing. They stopped, the train returned to Půchov and the military units would then return and refuel there.”
“On 1 May the Red Army went on the offensive again. The Soviets advanced and got to us at about nine o’clock. Across the place we lived in had been a heap of slag from a mine. There was a German soldier in a trench there, as the last defence. Older guys peeped out from all directions and saw the Soviets coming. They were expecting them and wanted to greet them. This German soldiers was indeed there as the last one but he had a good view of Mostecká street. As soon as he saw the first Soviet soldier, he aimed and shot but missed. The Russian noticed it. He stopped and aimed to the place where from he expected a shot. The German soldier layed down after his shot. After a while when nothing happened, he stood up but the Russian was aiming at him and just pulled the trigger. The German got hit immediately. As if on a spring, he jumped out from the trench, rolling on the slope, already done for.”
“And then, so to say, they had to scare the nation. And so they selected people who did not fit their standards and who were known for never bending. Because our nation was not used to this new collective economy. Frankly speaking, my original occupation was agriculture, I studied Masaryk’s agrarian school in Opava which was at that time the most renowned agrarian school in the whole of Czechoslovakia, the second one being in Čáslav. We studied private economy; we were not brought up for Soviet-style kolkhozes. That was different and it had shown itself in the whole nation. Those farmers had a terrible aversion towards it. And this one whom I had talked about – he had horses and would lend them to me when I needed to cultivate my own land. One could see that he was a farmer who would never bend to anyone. Since the agricultural collective had not been established there yet, his friends had sent him to Auxilliary Technical Battalions. His name was Štach.”
For all I want to paraphrase one truth from the Bible of Kralice: If the Lord will not build this home and this state, futile are the efforts of all builders and politicians
Stanislav Chromčák was born on 3 January 1932 in Ostrava-Hrabůvka. His family came from Valašská Polanka where his grandfather’s name is engraved into a memorial dedicated to soldiers who were killed during World War I. During WW II, because of the numerous air-raids, Stanislav’s school had been closed down after Christmas party of 1944. Beginning in January 1945, Stanislav wrote a diary in which he recorded the everyday life, part of which were the regular air-raids. He also described the retreat of German troops and the liberation of Hrabůvka by the Red Army on 1 May 1945. After the war, he attended Masaryk’s agrarian school in Opava. He married Ludmila Hušťová and moved to her native village of Prlov. He took up job as a train dispatcher, refused to join the Communist Party and as a dedicated Christian, he was prevented from further career advancement. A dramatic WW II history of Prlov was after 1948 replaced with the persecution of local free-minded farmers who were among Stanislav’s friends. Those people were assigned to the infamous Auxilliary Technical Battalions. Among Stanislav’s noteworthy memories from the times of his work as train dispatcher are the security measures taken during Nikita Khrushchev’s visit to Czechoslovakia, crowned with an inaccurate stop of his train outside the honorary stage in Horní Lideč and a failed speech. In 1968 Stanislav received an anonymous message about the sabotage of a special cistern train which carried petrol for the Warsaw Pact occupants and which was supposed to derail in his station.