Jan Fiala

* 1924  

  • „The paratroopers asked if there lived some gamekeeper near the village: ‚Yes, approximately 2 km away stands a gamekeeper's lodge in the middle of the wood,’ answered the armers from Boňov. ‘What is the name of the gamekeeper?’ The Farmer said his name was Vitouš and he came here at the beginning of the war. Kotásek, one of the paratroopers, sit up: ‘How he looks like? Maybe I know him.’ Kotásek asked the guys from Boňov to arrange a meeting with Vitouš then. When they met, Kotásek exclaimed: ‘Is that really you? How did you get here?’ Vitouš answered: ‘Of course I know you. How did you get here? In Ratiškovice there was a rumor you had escaped to England. Let’s move to my place.’ So the paratroopers came to the gamekeeper's lodge. But there was a problem with their radio transmitters which were hidden near Krasonice in an old pit.”

  • „Finally (König) told me: ‚Go home and do nothing. If somebody appears and asks after the radio transmitters, notify the cops. They know what they are supposed to do. If you would get a letter signed by Ludwig, do whatever is written inside.’ So I stayed at home and was waiting what was going to happen. Once I was working on our field and my father brought me a letter. There was written: ‘As we were holding talks on 11th July (now it was 20th August) we need to talk to you again. Come to Jaromeřice nad Rokytnou. I will arrive by train. You will recognize me easily.’ The letter sent the Gestapo officer König. But this was their big mistake. I was already in contact with the paratroopers now located in Šebkovice. I grasped the point and disappeared to Šebkovice immediately.”

  • „The paratroopers of the SPELTER unit were broadcasting sometimes at night, sometimes at noon. It was complicated, because at Papula’s house lived farm workers. When the paratroopers were coming to broadcast, we were safeguarding their way in order to avoid some accident with cops. I handed over the fence the radio transmitter. In the loft they had stretched the wires. Because the cops had the toilet on our yard, I switched some machine on in the workroom in order to make noise, for example some sander or a circular saw. At the same time I watched out if there were no cops buzzing around.”

  • “On the 16th of June, when the Germans stormed the gamekeeper’s lodge, soldiers made a mistake. The attack happened at midnight. As so many men in heavy boots moved in they made to much noise. Vitouš was sleeping at the lodge, but the paratroopers were in a nearby beehouse and they were woken up. One of them was on guard and told the others that something is happening out there. When they realized they were being encircled, they darted out of the beehouse. Germans started to shoot. One of the paratroopers was deadly hit, the other two escaped. When Vitouš heard the shooting, he hastily put on his pants, grabbed the rifle, jumped out of the window and ran away to the other side.”

  • “I arrived to Myslibořice and at first sight there was something strange. There was not a living soul on the street. It happened on the 11th of July. There stood a pub not far from my home and at the doorsteps was standing a girl, arms akimbo. She was waving at me. I asked her what was happening: ‘Do not go home! There is the Gestapo from the early morning. They are looking for radio transmitters.’ – ‘Not a bit of it, I have to go there. I can’t leave my parents alone in such a situation. My father knows what is going on,’ I answered. I went home. At the very moment I opened the door – ‘click’, I was handcuffed. Now I am making fun of it, since I already know how a handcuff feels cold.”

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    Třebíč, 13.12.2006

    (audio)
    duration: 02:44:26
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
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“I would hand the radio transmitter to the paratroopers over the fence and because the police used the toilet in our yard I always had to switch a machine or other on in the workshop in order to make some noise.”

Jan Fiala
Jan Fiala
photo: Jan Horník

Jan Fiala was born on 22nd September 1924 in Myslibořice. He trained as a wheelwright. During the war he actively participated in the local Anti-Nazi resistance movement. He was messenger to Moravské Budějovice and was responsible for hiding weapons. Jan Fiala came into direct contact with four members of the paratrooper unit SPELTER from England several weeks after they landed near Kramolín during the night between the 4th and 5th May1944 and began to operate in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia. Together with his father he concealed the paratroopers’ radio transmitters and weapons and assisted them with broadcasting to London. After the resistance network was discovered in July 1944, Jan Fiala was arrested and shortly interrogated by the Gestapo. In August 1944 he resorted to live illegaly in the Sudetenland where he stayed in hiding until the end of the war. After the war he was conscripted for military service and on returning from the army in 1948 began work in a knitting-machine factory where he worked for the next 35 years.