Věroslav Dušek

* 1922  †︎ 2020

  • “I crossed the bridge and suddenly I hear a shout behind me: ´Halt!´ So I turned around and there is a guy with a rifle aimed at me. And I was so happy that I had managed to recognize this mine Zárubek, and this made me angry, that some fool stopped me… I almost made it home and now he is asking me: ´Where are you going?´ In an angry voice. And I replied, also angrily: ´Going home!´ - ´And where do you live?´ - ´I don’t know!´ And we begin to shout at each other more and more. And so I told him that I did not know where my parents lived and that I was going now to the Zárubek mine, that I had noticed the mine’s name and I was on my way there, because my father was employed there. - ´Walk in front of me and we will go to Zárubek together!´- And we went. Imagine, I was nearly at home and had to walk the last metres with a rifle aimed at me! So we came to Zárubek´s gatehouse, there were two night guards, and the guy who was accompanying me asked them: ´Is somebody named Dušek employed here?´ - ´Yes, there are two with the surname Dušek, one is a staff captain, and the other an overman of the shaft.´ - ´And do they have children?´ - This overman has a son, but he is probably no longer alive, he has been imprisoned in a concentration camp for a long time now.´ And I don’t even remember the guy who stood behind me anymore, he somehow disappeared, and I only said: ´This son is alive, it is me, and I am looking for my parents.´ - One of the guards exclaims: ´Jesus, so that’s you, just wait a moment, I will get my colleague and I will go with you and take you home to your daddy.´ Such were my first moments at the Zárubek mine. So we came to our house, and the first one to open the door was my father. It was on May 24th early morning. And I had left on September 26th 1940, just after lunch. And now as a dutiful son I returned home in the early morning hours five years after.”

  • “On the evening of March 14th, while it was still night, I wrote a letter to the then leader of the French military mission of General Foche, who was at that time already back in Paris. I believe he returned to Paris in February 1939. I sought his help and I wrote to him asking him to inform me about the situation in case the war broke out, because we all expected the war to break out for sure; we anticipated they would not be able to make appeasement policy with Hitler anymore, so the war was to start and I wanted to find out whether Czechoslovak Legions would be formed again, or whether there would be an independent Czechoslovak army. Or, since Daladier was still in power, whether it would become a part of the French army. This was my question. And I also inquired whether these units would be formed within the French Foreign Legion. And I received a reply from Foche on April 4th, telling me that he was not in possession of any such information, and that as long as he was aware, nobody in France was expecting the war that year. And advising me to send my inquiry to the Czechoslovak ambassador in France, whose office was still functioning. And apart from that, the letter also contained a leaflet, or rather an application form, to the French Foreign Legion. That was all. And on the basis of this letter from general Foche I turned to our ambassador Osuský. But I would never imagine that this letter might get into their hands… That’s why I was totally surprised, when this nutter, he was a guy from Sudetenland, was telling me in Czech that I had written that letter to ambassador Osuský…”

  • “And Holý was talking to us: ´Christ Jesus, whatever you do, try not to get into a concentration camp, it is terrible what is happening there.´ And we were asking him, what was then the most terrifying thing he had seen there. ´Imagine, if it rains, the prisoners have to lie down and the SSmen use their backs as steps, instead of pavement, between one concrete surface and another, and they tread on them in order to avoid their boots getting dirty.´ And at that time, I had just turned eighteen, in my mind I was thinking: ´Don’t talk this nonsense to us.´ I could not believe it. The first moment after I arrived to Dachau, I remembered Holý. I silently asked for his pardon, for having thought about him as I had, and I thought: ´And you were very lucky that you saw only what you thought was the most horrible.´ For what I have seen there the first day was a man on fire, he was still alive; this was while we were still in front of the gate, and then a large crowd of people with enormous phlegmons, and on that day, on January 6th it was freezing. During the day the temperature rose to some 18-20 °C , the sun was shining, but usually it was very cold, freezing. And when I saw those poor prisoners, with their trouser-legs rolled up all the way, and their legs covered with pus, ulcers, and phlegmons. I did not even know the word, only there I learnt what it meant. So at that time I remembered this Holý.”

  • “On Thursday 26th September there was an announcement over the school radio: Věroslav Dušek is to come to the principal’s office. And since the principal’s secretary of this grammar school was a (Sokol) brother from Moravská Ostrava, we knew each other well and called each other by our first names, also in school when I had been called to the office before, so I came in and asked him: ´So what have you got for me?´ And he said in a low voice: ´The Gestapo is here.´ I started laughing, I thought he was joking, but I realized that the door of the principal’s room was closed at this time, while normally it was being left open. He said: ´No, seriously, the Gestapo is here, go to the principal’s room.´ I knocked on the door, entered, and there was the principal and one more guy, rather tall, and I greeted the principal and asked him: ´You called me, sir?´ And that nutter who was standing there asked the principal: ´Das ist er?´ The principal nodded, and he thus turned to me, asking me if I knew German. He said it in German. So I answered that I did not.”

  • “I think I have followed this verse by Jan Neruda. It reads: Should each of us be made of quartz, our entire nation will be like blocks of rocks. And another one, a motto which was declared during the finale of our exercise performance at the 10th Sokol national meeting: In discipline, in strength, in concord – we are our homeland’s future guard.´ This was my motivation. And above all I was driven by my effort to be a member of Czechoslovak armed forces.”

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    nejspíše Krnov, 12.06.2008

    duration: 03:19:55
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
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I followed the ideals of Sokol and Masaryk

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Věroslav Dušek

Věroslav Dušek is from Poruba, where he was born on May 29th 1922. His father was one of the founders of the Sokol movement in the Ostrava region before WWI. Věroslav was a member of Sokol from only four years old. He could not complete his studies at grammar school in Orlová, because in September 1939 he was arrested by the Gestapo for intending to join the French foreign army. He was imprisoned in Brno and Vienna and then deported to the Dachau concentration camp. During the following five years he was detained in the German concentration camps of Neuengamme, Sachsenhausen, Natzweiler and Lichterfelde. When Germany was liberated, he was in Dachau. Věroslav Dušek died on July 29, 2020.