Antonín Daněk

* 1916  †︎ unknown

  • “As soon as the gunfire stopped, the partisans stormed in. There were around ten of them and they captured the commander, a warrant officer. They tied him down and loaded him up. He went in our truck. Before we left, the priest had told us: ‘There’s a rabbit hutch there. Kill all the rabbits and stain the loopholes with their blood to make it look like there was a fight here, that there’s blood here. The Germans won’t inspect whether it’s human blood. As long as its red.’ I think we killed about twenty or twenty-five rabbits and we splattered the blood around every loophole of the bunker, inside and outside, to make it look like some soldiers had died there. And the priest told the warrant officer’s wife that when the Germans come, she must say this and that. That they had been attacked by partisans, five Czechoslovaks had died, and others had been taken captive and taken away. And he told her that if she didn’t say all this, they would shoot her husband. And that they will let her know every month how he was.”

  • “The platoon commander kept pushing me to the shore. ‘Keep left. Further left! There’s a German tank ahead of you. You’ll open fire. But keep left, left!’ But because it was a radio, the driver heard it too and kept moving over to the left and the suddenly we turned over and the tank was gone. We were lucky that even though we fell in the water, we all managed to get out. Then we got a new tank and that was it. Mine was called Sherman. Its gun was heavy ammo in the unit. Others were smaller caliber. But the Sherman had a high-caliber gun. And on top it also had an anti-aircraft machine gun.”

  • “The Italian partisans took the officers who were tied up of course. And took them to the nearest town. To swap them. One officer for five partisans. We escorted them to the town and then we headed back to Ciavess and then in about two hours they came back with a truck full of Italian partisans. So the operation was successful. And such swaps were done once a week. But especially when the local partisans knew who was going, what officers. And they were waiting for a general. Because for a general, they had to free twenty partisans.”

  • Full recordings
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    Kroměříž, 08.07.2003

    duration: 01:13:12
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
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They asked us: You want to join the partisans?

Antonín Daněk
Antonín Daněk
photo: archiv pamětníka

Antonín Daněk was born April 3, 1916 in Kostelany near Kroměříž in the Haná region. He grew up in a family that ran a small farm for a living. After primary school he went to Zlín to be apprenticed and then started working in the Baťa company. After falling seriously ill, he was laid off and worked as a laborer. In late 1934 he started his military service and stayed in the army even after his service had ended. After the occupation of Czechoslovakia he decided to join the government forces but, due to his insufficient German, was soon redeployed to work forces stationed at various places of the Protectorate (Vyškov, Stichovice, Praha-Žižkov, Kutná Hora, Stará Boleslav or Lipník n. Bečvou) where he mainly worked as a joiner. In 1944 the government forces were transferred to Italy. Soon after becoming guards of a munition depot near Torino, the entire unit joined the Italian partisans. He participated in a number of operations with them but when there was a threat of a German anti-partisan unit attack, he set out to Switzerland across the Alps together with two other Czechs. They were stopped by border guard multiple times on the way, but they always managed to escape and continued all the way to France. In Lyon they all enrolled in the Czechoslovak Armored Brigade together. With it Antonín took part in the first Dunkerque offensive and then served as a guard in the front line after he had lost his tank in a flooded area. After World War II he returned to Czechoslovakia and returned to civilian life. He found a job at the food inspection department of the National Committee in Brno and later in Gottwaldov. From 1954 he was employed at the food inspection of the National Trade Inspection Authority with the Ministry of Internal Trade. In 1970 he retired and got invalidity pension. In 2003 he lived in Kroměříž and was devoted to repairing antique clock.