* 1923 †︎ 2017
“My parents were worried about me but I didn’t consider it a real risk that I’d die in Germany. This was not on my mind. But I would like to add something regarding the shelling. Once I had spent a shelling in a shelter at Alexanderplatz. They must have bombed the immediate surroundings because everything was shaking down there. There were plenty of children there and especially women. They started screaming terribly, it was unbearable. Some jackass realized that there weren’t only Germans there and started screaming: ‘Foreigners out!’ They wanted to kick us out from the shelter during the shelling. A few brats from Hitlerjugend were walking around there and one pulled out a dagger and started poking me in my chest. Meanwhile, the bombing was ceasing so he gave up on it but I told myself that I would never go to the shelter again. Ever since, I had spent all the bombings out in the streets. I would always go to a park or some open space. I saw them dropping the bombs. Once, I went to work at the Eastern Station when a shelling started. As usually, I stayed out, a few meters from the station. I snuggled against a house and waited for whatever was coming. First they dropped light bombs so it seemed like daylight. Airplanes were flying over. I saw them drop the bombs. Luckily, they didn’t fall in front of me but inside that building. So I escaped unscathed. But I saw it all. Something horrible.”
“At the beginning I used to work for the railway post and doing that I experienced a lot. Often we couldn’t get to the cars because civilians occupied them and wouldn’t let us in. The worst part was the regular bombing of trains. They would attack us from aircrafts and shoot at us. When I experienced this for the first time I hid in the mail car. I jumped below the steel thinking that it would save me. Then I changed my mind, jumped off the car and laid down next to the tracks. When I returned, the steel – it probably wasn’t even steel – was completely wrecked. The bags below it were turned into shredded rags. This way I saved my own life. Since then, whenever they started bombarding us, I always jumped out and laid down in the closest bush or a hole nearby.”
“I drove towards the Czechoslovak Radio building. I got out by the barracks. They admitted me there. There were plenty of people but unfortunately they didn’t have rifles for us. So they gave me a panzerfaust, explaining how to use it and warning me about always minding what’s behind me when shooting. But I didn’t get to shoot it. They loaded about twenty of us on a truck and drove us towards the radio. The commanders decided for us to go towards the Czech Radio. We didn’t get all the way there. We drove somewhere; it was almost night time, where there was a vast meadow. Shooting was going on in there. They wouldn’t let us join in because we lacked rifles. They said: ‘We have plenty of people but few rifles.’ So we went on foot and made it towards the radio building. The one in command was killed in action the other day. He fell victim to a mortar attack because there were people out in the streets and he wanted to chase them off to take cover and leave the open space. Poor guy, he died doing just that.”
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Although I didn’t like the Germans, I felt sorry for them
Bohuslav Fabián was born on February 3, 1923 in Bořeňovice. He graduated from high school on May 27th 1942, the day of the assassination of the Acting Reich-Protector Reinhard Heydrich in Prague. He worked in a post office before he was sent to forced labor in Germany. There, he worked with the railway post. He survived several train bombings and witnessed air raids on German cities. In 1944 he was released from duty and allowed to return to Prague where he once again took a post office job. On May 5th 1945 he heard a call to arms against the Germans on the radio. In response he went to the barracks to get a weapon. For the next four days he defended the Czechoslovak Radio building. After the war he graduated from a university of economics and worked in the Rudé právo publishing house. Bohuslav Fabián died in 2017.