“With such rubbish. There was a guy with us who wasn’t much of a manual worker. His name was Pepík Vopařil and he was from Prague. He wrote poems and they wanted to take him there. He was from Prague and had some kind of a connection there. His wife would send him lard and the like. He told me to hide it for him because they would search him and take it away from him. So I hid it for him and they searched me and found it with me. They sent me to the correction for a week.”
“As I had an apprenticeship, I went to work in a brick factory in Hranice. Our neighbor living next door was in Germany. He worked as a train dispatcher and in 1943 he was working in Nuremberg. He came to Hranice for a vacation and didn’t want to go back to Nuremberg. He didn’t have a father and he was a trained shoemaker. His mother ran a shoemaking shop with several workers. They would repair boots. So he wanted to stay in the shop and he was looking for somebody to replace him in Nuremberg. So we agreed that I would go to Nuremberg instead. He was released by the railways and I was hired in his place. He would also work instead of me in the brick factory, three days a week, and three days a week in his mother’s shop. So I replaced him working for the railways in Nuremberg.”
“I couldn’t believe it. They were bombing. The tracks were broken, the trolley wires downed. But within half a day the trains rolled out again. At first, only one railroad was put into operation, then the second one. The trains were going again, they were repairing the railway. We didn’t feel good about it. For example, a cottage that was there one day was gone the next day.”
Alois Čoček was born in 1925 in the village of Střítež nad Ludinou, close to the town of Hranice. During the war, he voluntarily went to work at a railway station in Nuremberg where he witnessed a number of allied air raids on the city. Shortly after the war, he was drafted to basic military service in Olomouc. In March 1949, he deserted and tried to escape to Bavaria. He was captured close to Domažlice and sentenced to 10 years in prison. He was held in prisons in Prague Pankrác, Plzeň Bory and correctional and forced-labor camps in the Jáchymov uranium mines. In the beginning of November 1953, he was conditionally released but was imprisoned again as soon as August 1954. His younger brother, Josef Čoček, who had become an agent of the U.S. secret intelligence service MIC, contacted him with a plea to provide him with information. Although, according to his own words, Alois Čoček never provided any information to his brother, yet he was sentenced to twelve years in prison in December 1954. He spent most of his term in the correctional and forced-labor camp Bytíz. He was released in 1960 through the course of a presidential amnesty. All in all, he spent 10 years of his young life in prison. After his release, he worked for the public-transport company in Olomouc and as a carpenter in the Vítkovice steel works since 1962. Today, he lives in Ostrava.