Jiří Dubský

* 1941

  • "In a way I could have had a good military service, at that time I was already playing water polo and we played the first league in Pilsen. So even though I was sent to go to Litoměřice to the secret service, it was a kind of radio espionage for the The Council for Mutual Economic Assistance, there were radio transmitters here. But the sports clubs and Dukla Prague remembered me and I joined the Miroslav Tyrš Military School, which was the code name of Dukla, and here I joined the swimming club. They had five sports. At that time I had troubles with my knee, so I went to the army with that sore knee, and the beginning of the service was not easy, when I was commanded during the exercise by Lieutenant Odložil, the future silver medalist from Tokyo. So I ended up in Dukla after a quarter of a year and they traded me to Litoměřice for a canoeist they wanted and I was useless because I couldn't train at all. I just managed to write a postcard home to my dad saying that I was going to Litoměřice for a cookery course. And my dad, because he was hot-tempered, he went to Litoměřice right away, it was a secret unit where you couldn't get in easily. Dad was with the commander of the regiment within a quarter of an hour - and then he told me that he got into a very heated argument with him, how is it possible that they want to send a boy who graduated from secondary technical school to the cookery course. It made sense, because I was not able to learn Morse code, which had been taught there at the beginning. So they didn't know what to do with me. So I served the socialist country and went to the cookery course."

  • "I have one experience of it. My father's mother, my grandmother lived in the house above us. She wanted me to have something to remember her, and she was saving up for a watch for me - and not some Pobeda, but she wanted Swiss ones for me. My dad had the connections, so he said, 'Grandma, I'll get Jirka that watch.' - And that I'll get them sometime around the age of 12 or 13. Grandma was saving for it, she had the money saved, and the currency reform came. And at that time my dad said it would cost so much, it was smuggled, it was no fun to get. So she already had the money for it - and then the currency reform came. Dad got the watch, but it was already priced in new money. And I know my grandmother said that she suddenly lacked a quarter of the sum for the watch. She just lost the money. My dad paid for the watch and I still have it."

  • "There was a [sirene] wailing and you automatically knew you had to go to the basement. Mothers had backpacks, suitcases, bags with the essentials ready to take down to the cellar. Sometimes they would call off the raid warning because, for example, the planes were going somewhere else. But the last air raid we experienced, [a bomb] fell a hundred and fifty metres from our house, it exploded there, it smashed the house and people died there. The pressure wave smashed everything that wasn't open, so it was blown off, and in the pub bellow us, all the bottles were broken. It was an unbelievable noise. My mum told me afterwards that she thought we were hit. And I didn't notice the horror in the cellar. It was me, my mum, my grandma, my dad, I don't know if he was there with us. Well, it was pretty bad, but we survived. Then there was an air raid on the Škoda factory, but by then our neighborhood was completely out [of reach]."

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    Plzeň, 12.12.2022

    duration: 01:09:24
    media recorded in project Příběhy regionu - PLZ REG ED
Full recordings are available only for logged users.

I was a war child. I can still see Pilsen smouldering and Allied planes on the horizon

Jiří Dubský during recording in 2022
Jiří Dubský during recording in 2022
photo: Post Bellum

Jiří Dubský was born on 23 August 1941 in Pilsen. His father František Dubský worked as a sports editor until 1948. In 1948 he had to leave this post because he refused to join the Communist Party. His mother, Marie Dubská, was responsible for the running of the household. During the war, as a child, he eye-witnessed the Allied air raids on Pilsen. After finishing primary school, Jiří Dubský entered a secondary technical school. As he enjoyed his studies and was encouraged to study hard by his family, he graduated with honours. Later he was assigned to the newly established secret plant Atom. Here he worked until his starting military service in 1960. He spent the it first in Prague, then in a secret training centre in Litoměřice. Even as an adult, he kept being active in sports, especially water polo. In the 1960s Jiří Dubský travelled to the West several times as a participant in international tournaments. After his basic military service, he settled in his native Pilsen, where he was living at the time of the recording in 2022.