Josef Dobrý

* 1925

  • “The whole of life in Volhynia went downhill. The people started to be scared and tried to concentrate into bigger groups. In 1941, after the invasion of Volhynia by the German Army, everything completely disappeared. The Germans started to take the young people to Germany to work. Incidentally, I did not have to go.”

  • “Here, our unit spread out in a valley where there was a field of uncropped grain. Every one of us tried to dig himself in as far as it was possible with a spade. It then happened that our sergeant major, Pavlik, was killed by a member of our unit, who didn’t warn him, and began to shoot at him as he walked towards him.”

  • “Although I was not dragged away off to Germany, I hid anyway, mostly in the hay in the loft. In the evenings I used to come out, and ate along with my parents, but during the day I was concealed in the hay. So it went month after month. Only in 1944, early in February, came the Soviet Army. Immediately after the occupation of this area by the Soviets I volunteered to join the Czechoslovak Army. Provisional conscription was in the town of Rovno, approximately 7 kilometres from our place. I was conscripted, and right there, during the conscription, there was a discussion held about sending the young guys either to the parachutists or to the Air Force. I would have preferred to join the Air Force, but destiny brought me to the parachutists.”

  • “We were accommodated in various places, such as schools, cinemas etc. And so we were accommodated in a former school. The windows were usually nailed down with boards as no glass was around. In the yard we carried out the training. First training without a parachute was carried out: the soldiers were to jump from various altitudes, with both feet and knees tied to each other. After completing this training we learned how to “deaden” the parachutes. The parachute was unfurled on the snow and we were learning how to “mute” it with the help of the ceiling, so that it does not elevate. After passing this training we carried out a marching training, partially along with organisation training. During mild and calm weather we carried out descents with parachutes. First jumps from a balloon. The first jump was always without a weapon; the second was with a weapon. After completing the jumps, we passed on to jumps from an airplane. They were the old-fashioned planes of the Douglas type. And again: the first jump without a weapon, the second with it.”

  • “In my unit at the inquiry division in Proskurov, there occurred a tragic situation when one of our boys from Volhynia shot a soldier in the guard service, through his lack of care. He thought he was locking his sten-gun, but it was cocked and instead of locking it, a shot occurred. About two bullets or so went through the neck of the guard who was going to the front.”

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    Bydliště Josefa Dobrého, 01.01.2001

    duration: 42:03
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
Full recordings are available only for logged users.

We were very enthusiastic. We could fight for the liberation of Czechoslovakia!

Josef Dobrý was born in 1925 in Hlinsko, Zdolbunov, Volhynia. During the Soviet occupation he worked, along with his family, in agriculture. He was able to avoid transportion to labour camps during German occupation by hiding until 1944. Once the Red Army gained control, he signed up for the Czechoslovak Military Unit. He passed paratrooper training and served in the 2nd parachute brigade in Yefremov. Dobry fought in numerous battles in Poland, Slovakia and Moravia. After the war he was sent to protect the Czechoslovak-Hungarian border. Afterwards his realease from the army, he returned to his native Volhynia. During the repatriation of Volhynian Czechs he moved to Czechoslovakia where he re-entered the Army. He served in the Army until 1982, when he took his pension.