Václav Dubec

* 1929  †︎ 2011

  • “How did the war find you, how did you perceive the beginning of the war?” “Well, the beginning of the war – it started still during the Polish rule. You know, we young boys still didn´t take it too tragically… Only then, when we were growing up, we knew, because various murders started, because there were various troops there… and then the worst it was when Russians occupied us, in 1939, 1940, all started there, the collectivization… - the dictatorship started and the hard regime. So somehow, that we were not for the war though, but in the war we nearly saw the only way out, because we would have died out completely. Because Stalin simply hated people who can and want to do something a little bit.”

  • “What was the education like in your family?” “So look, in our place in Volynia… firstly, the work education, it is understandable, but generally all education there was concentrated on patriotism… no, it is not just a formula, it is reality, you know, because only this kept us there. And just due to the fact that most of the Czechs living there had this idea and we followed it, we achieved that in our place Czech schools were established during the Polish rule, they had been being established during the tsar rule already. In the Polish times, even in Poland of Becka which was simply co-operating with Germans, through all this we still kept our own schools…” “What were the relations with Polish people?” “…and so, relations were not too friendly – although there were friends there, naturally. But they were neither too tensed, it was quite normal, as it usually is, like people with people, well, were they some… there used to be for example policemen who were against Czechs, but they were such local ones, it was nothing… but otherwise, good, relatively…”

  • “Have you ever experienced an attack, have you ever got into the fire?” “Oh, well, yes, again – but was it too much, not really. When we were going to Krakow, Germans broke there a certain part – there was a little shooting, but it was not too bad…” “How was it, when you got into such a situation for the first time? For a fifteen-year old boy, especially…” “Very nice, you see, a great experience, that I couldn´t eat for a week. You know, one had imagined something else – but then got used to it. Because, you see, somebody shot there and you were already hiding. But then, when you were there longer, you knew if it was going to fall next to you or it was flying behind you… but was this some kind of heroism? You can´t say, hooray, heroism. You know, in reality, everybody usually became a hero unwillingly. Because he was doing it for example from desperation, like there is for example the spot height, a pipe spot height it was called, who simply threw grenades into a German bunker – but it was desperation, because they were attacking and attacking and so many people were killed there, our, so that he got there just from desperation, he caught them, but he himself was naturally killed there too.”

  • “When you (first) got into the territory of Czechoslovakia, it was…” “…you know, for us, Volynians, for whom Czechoslovakia was a promised land – you can hardly describe it, really, because although we entered lets say Slovakia, but it was still Czechoslovakia, it was… I say, it is impossible to describe, it would look like we were playing theatre… because we just – it was our desire to come back here. And all events were happening just for that, for the Czech language, for us to keep up and be able to return as full-value citizens of this state. So it was beautiful…”

  • “It was difficult. They took us into custody, they confiscated everything, luckily there was a mayor in the local authority, national committee, or chairman, a quite reasonable man. He came when he got to know that they would come to confiscate it. He came to tell us to hide it, or that my wife should give it to the sister-in-law. Cloths and such, they collected everything. They questioned my wife, but my wife really didn´t know anything, I saw to it that she didn´t know anything. She was already pregnant, so they let her go then. And again they were trying to persuade her to divorce me. Well, but she didn´t… you know…” “How much did you get?” “Only thirteen years… We were always led in groups – there was a partisan from the Žižka brigade, then a pilot from the West, me and also a boy from Suchdol somehow. So at that time I made it worse for me though, but I actually didn´t want to too much. When they were leading us, Mr attorney Antl said: ´Look, Czech helpers of the Fascists, the women from Lidice should see what traitors we have!´ And the smile somehow escaped me, so I smiled and he noticed it and you see: ´He is still so arrogant that he is smiling!´ We didn´t know what we actually were, because his words, it was impossible to remember, or maybe remember yes, but today somehow… well, and then he didn´t stand it too long, he hanged himself in the end.”

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    místo natáčení neznámé, 26.04.2004

    duration: 34:46
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
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For us, for the Volynians, Czechoslovakia was a promised land

Václav Dubec
Václav Dubec
photo: Není znám

Václav Dubec was born on November 14, 1929 in Volynia. There, he attended Czech primary and secondary school, and experienced the harsh governance of the Soviet socialist system. In 1944, st 15 years old, he joined the Czechoslovak army in the 1st tank brigade, serving as a motorcyclist. He fought at Dukla, Krakow and Ostrava. He remembers the relationships he made in the army, desribes his function, and he evaluates the enemy. After the war he settled in Bohemia, an actively participated in the organization of the re-emigration of Volynian Czechs (Federation of the Czechs of Volynia). He took part in the 3rd resistance, (group of Milada Horáková), and took share in the publishing of illegal press. For these activities he was taken prisoner, sentenced to a 13-year punishment (Jáchymov) and pardoned after 5 and half years.