Captain (ret.) Josef Fronc

* 1920  †︎ 2015

  • "So we guarded and played cards, because Beneš would always come and tell us: 'do whatever you want, just don't shout and don't walk'. And every week we would go to either Lány or to Sezimovo Ústí. Not always, but usually one day for holiday to Ústí and one day [to Lany]. Or once in a fortnight, that doesn't matter. I'm not going to about it ... The six of us would always go with him."

  • "Suddenly, they brought him to us, there was Cajthamel and [soldiers] from the [government troops]. He got hit by shrapnel. So I treated him. I just rubbed him with some ointments. The doctor told me that I could go. I had to go back to Dunkirk, because they had their camp there. I said: 'Let him stay there for another three or four days'. So he left him there for a week. He lay there. He was well creamed so it was good."

  • "When I was leaving she didn't even come to say goodbye. She probably forgot about it. Her parents weren't too much in favor of our relationship. She had a brother who said that I was playing cards and drinking too much. Her parents believed him. But we would go out together. However, when I left, she didn't even come to say goodbye. When we got to the border, I wrote a letter to her in which I greeted her. I also wrote to her that she was free to do what she wanted and that I didn't know if I was ever going to come back again; she had to make her a life of her own. And so it ended. It was only when I got her letters when I found out about all of this."

  • "We left at six o'clock in the evening. No one knew where we were actually going." [You didn't know?] "No, nobody told us where we were going. It was only when we arrived that we found out. Some of the guys on the train said: 'we're not going to Russia; we must be going somewhere else '. And then the dispatcher said: 'you're going to Italy. We are in Italy'. I said: 'Jesus Christ'. We sat there in the train, we were six guys from Jičín. There was nothing we could do. So in the morning, we arrived in Turin."

  • "[I went] to the interview and I noticed that it was the same people who had taught there. 'So what do you play?' I said: 'Well, I'm learning to play the clarinet'. One sergeant said: 'Come here to me. Oh, it's going to be an oboist'. In here. [According to the print.] Alright. And we'll learn to play the clarinet. So you can go, we're done here'. It was three o'clock and I was admitted."

  • Full recordings
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    Jičín, 20.01.2013

    duration: 02:09:40
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
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With the band in the music school, the government troops as well as in Dunkirk

In the castle guard
In the castle guard
photo: archiv Josefa Fronce

Josef Fronc, a retired captain, was born on 26 August, 1920, in the village of Černouček near Roudnice nad Labem. He attended primary school in Černouček and secondary school in Horní Beřkovice. In 1934, he began to study at a music school in Prague, where he learned to play the oboe and the clarinet. At the same time, he served as a military apprentice in a military regiment, and when the army was disbanded, he left to work in the Becher Company. However, he continued to have an obligation in the military and therefore he was assigned to the 8th battalion of the government troops in Jičín. Here, he completed secondary school and he also became a member of its military ensemble. In 1944, being a member of the government troops, he was transported to Italy and ended up in Turin. However, he only remained very briefly in this famous Italian city because he escaped to Switzerland. From Switzerland – thanks to Italian partisans – he managed to flee to France, where, along with other former government soldiers, he enrolled in the Army in Amiens. On 13 October, 1944, he was assigned to the 1st Czechoslovak Independent Armored Brigade at Dunkirk, where he served as a medic in the light brigade ambulance, where he treated minor injuries. Following the war, on January 1, 1946, he was assigned to the castle guard of President Edvard Beneš, where he remained until October 1, 1948, when he was transferred to Rychnov nad Kněžnou and subsequently to Jičín. Shortly afterwards, on 1 August, 1949, he was dismissed from the army but continued to play in the army band. He was henceforth employed as a storekeeper. He currently lives in Jičín.