Zdenko F. Daneš

* 1920  

  • “We were near Pardubice and saw many German troops going to Prague. It occurred to us that they would like to crush the uprising. I had a revolver that belonged to my landlord. When another wave of soldiers came, I stopped them and, in a certain confusion of mind, told them, ‘You can go but you have to leave your weapons here.’ One of them asked, ‘Is this the western zone already?’ I replied, ‘No, it’s further down the road.’ But it was in fact behind Pilsen. He gave a command and they surrendered. It gave one creeps. There were all kinds of weapons – machine guns, guns, pistols, hand grenades… When they put everything on a pile, I waved and they went on. Only later did I find that the ammo I had did not work with my type of revolver.”

  • “We were on top of the Czech Forest ridge and my wife heard dogs barking. We were probably chased by the border guard so we jumped on our bicycles and sped to the Bavarian side. Fifty years later I went to see the place again and it seemed impossible to me that someone would ride a bike over this terrain, let alone a woman on a racing bike. When we arrived in Bavaria and met the first border guard, I introduced myself and explained our situation. I expected him to arrest us but he just stretched his arms wide and said, ‘Welcome in Germany’.”

  • “We then lived in the Purkyně Institute of which my father was the chairman. On November 17, 1939, the building was raided by an SS unit and they drove us all into the basement. The men were white and scared, women cried and I must admit that I was afraid. Then I noticed my mum. She held my little brother and sister and explained to them. ‘That is a soldier. This is a machine gun into which ammunition is inserted and when it fires, empty shells jump out from the other side.’ She described everything to them in such a calm way. Both my brother and sister remember to this day that it was so interesting that they were not afraid at all. Our mum became the hero of the day.”

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    Praha, 07.10.2016

    duration: 01:50:24
  • 2

    Praha, 22.11.2016

    duration: 47:53
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I am simply not going back

Zdenko F. Daneš
Zdenko F. Daneš
photo: Archiv - Pamět národa

Zdenko Frankenberger Daneš was born in 1920 in Prague. Both his parents were physicians but his father focused more on scientific research. He lived, for a short time, with his parents in Ljublana and then in Bratislava, where he attended primary and secondary schools. Before the outbreak of WWII the family returned to Czechia. On November 17, 1939, Zdenko Daneš witnessed a raid by SS men. During the war he took an active part in the anti-nazi resistance and it was at this time that he met his wife Marie Haňková (1921–1998). After the war he studied mathematics, physics and geophysics at Charles University, Prague. In 1950, he and Marie fled Czechoslovakia. They went through the refugee camp in Germany and in 1952 settled in the United States. Their children, Petr (1954) and Elena (1956), were born there. During his life, Mr Danes worked in the National Geophysical Institute in Prague and Charles University in Pilsen. In the United States he was employed by Gulf Oil Corporation, The Boeing Company, University of Puget Sound and U.S. Geological Survey. He has published many scholarly articles. In his free time, he occupies himself with music and issues from various fields of culture. In 2007 he married again, with Julsima Duisebayev. He currently lives in Prague.