Bohuslav Eliáš

* 1931  

  • “Dad was a reserve officer, in the end that cost him his life in Pardubice... he’d take us on street inspections, which he was responsible for in the time of the air strikes... when the Anglo-American bombers flew over Pardubice and onwards; Pardubice had to be blacked out, so they wouldn’t happen to drop bombs on Pardubice, which they managed to do anyone in early 1944... we were in Chvojenec, where Granddad had a pub, and we were coming home from the field on a heap of hay, and we saw the Americans fly up at high noon, the aeroplanes shone, and then suddenly bombs started falling on Semtín.”

  • “Towards the end of the war we thought we’d been liberated by the Soviet army, but that wasn’t true at all. Pardubice was basically liberated by the Vlasovites... I remember them when they passed through Pardubice to Chrudim, by the graveyard, there was a whole column of them, and because they’d been in Russia, they had Russian clothes, so we thought that they’re the Russians. We cheered that the Russians were here, but then we found out that they were captives from the Russian army who’d agreed to stay in the German army. And because the Germans didn’t have any uniforms for them, they kept their Russian ones, and we thought that they were really the Russians.”

  • “When he [my brother] emigrated and he could do the things he wanted to, we have a lot of testimonies from people who, say, have relatives there and went to visit, so we heard many times that he’d give his last penny to someone who didn’t have anything at all. [The person] had emigrated and was starting from scratch. So he’d let them stay in his place for a fortnight, until he found someone who could help them work out what steps to take next. He completely changed his approach to people, which was a big surprise to us because we saw him as a man who was strict both to himself and to others.”

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    Liberec, 05.05.2015

    (audio)
    duration: 01:28:18
    media recorded in project The Stories of Our Neigbours
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My brother won out the right to choose his own fate

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Bohuslav Eliáš was born in 1931 in Pardubice as the third son of Vladimír and Anna Eliáš. His father was an officer of the Czechoslovak army in reserve; in 1935 he started his own brick factory in Chvojenec. However, the economic crisis forced him to move to Pardubice and take a job as a civil servant. His son Petr was born that same year. Vladimír Eliáš was in the resistance movement, but he was never discovered. He died at the very end of the war, on 8 May 1945, in a clash between demonstrating Czechs and a German armoured car. His widowed wife took their five sons and moved to her brother’s house in Liberec. When the latter emigrated to Colombia in 1948, the family got in trouble. Bohuslav’s brother Petr was not allowed to study theology, and so he earned a degree at the Czech Technical University in Prague instead; his jobs included working in Otto Wichterle’s team. In the end Petr escaped to Italy and entered the seminary; he was ordained into priesthood in 1971. He was posted in Switzerland and served as the pastor of his expatriates in Australia for fifteen years. He returned to his homeland after the revolution and helped establish the Diocese of Pilsen. With this work done and Mons. Radkovský chosen as Bishop of Pilsen, a completely exhausted Petr Eliáš died of a heart attack. Bohuslav Eliáš still lives in Liberec.