Rostislav Glajch

* 1925  

  • “Did you go through basic military service?” “No, I came from the university, from the “bench to the war” as we used to say. That was it. This was in 1941, war had just started and everybody had to recruit from where he was to be found at the moment.” “What about the mobilization? How did your departure for war look like?” “I actually hadn’t noticed any mobilization, they just announced to us we’re going to be the 53rd special battalion. There was no ceremony at all, nothing, and as we were on that construction site, they just took us as we were in our working outfits and that was it, we were in the war." “What about the mobilization? How did your departure for war look like?” “I actually hadn’t noticed any mobilization, they just announced to us we’re going to be the 53rd special battalion. That was no ceremony at all, nothing, as we were on that construction site, they just took us as we were in our working outfits and that was it, we were in the war.”

  • “How did you see the Communist regime that came to power after the war?” “What it was like? I didn’t understand it. Because I grew up somewhere else, under different conditions with different habits and it was just different, sometimes it even caused me trouble…” “Did you ever experience persecution?” “No.” “And did you have some problems with it?” “It’s hard to describe, it was partial problems, rather irrelevant. I can’t really claim I was somehow in danger.” “So you never entered the Communist party?” “Yes I did, from the beginning, as soon as I came here.”

  • “So I was demobilized, sent an application and was accepted again to school, to attend my fourth year in Ukraine. And because my brother served in the Czechoslovak army and wrote clearly that he wouldn’t go back to the Ukraine, I solved the situation by coming here. We didn’t want to split the family, so he served in the Czechoslovak army and I served in the Soviet army."

  • “What about the enemy forces, did they have superior numbers?” “They were. When they made it as far as Stalingrad, there was such a very high river bank which they had occupied, whereas we were on the lower bank, so they had an incredible advantage. “How did it look like when they were gradually loosing the upper hand?” “Well, it was shifting constantly, for a while we were advancing and then… it’s hard to describe, today I think it was just a mess, you didn’t even have time to really think.” “Could you tell me something about your supplies and supply lines? What was it like when you were cut off later?” “They were supplying us from Central Asia. However it was possible. We got our supplies once and failed to get them twice. Considering the circumstances there, I’d say it wasn’t that bad after all.”

  • “Did you have any friends in the unit?” “Yes I did, quite a lot. But Russians and Ukrainians. There were no Czechs there, I was the only one.” “What about the relationships and the friendships in the unit?” “We had a brilliant commander, his name was Michail Prodovko (?) (incomprehensible), but he’s passed away already. He was rather strict but fair, if you know what I mean. I held him in high esteem. When we visited him once, I don’t remember when it was anymore, it was a constant celebration. I liked him and he liked me. He was strict but he knew what he wanted.”

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    místo není známé, 14.11.2005

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    duration: 30:36
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
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“That was no ceremony at all, nothing, as we were on that construction site, they took us as we were in our working outfits and that was it, we were in the war.”

Rostislav Glajch was born on November 22, 1920, in the town of Kuněv, Ukraine to Czech parents. He studied at the School of Construction, but his studies were interrupted by the beginning of the war (1941). He was drafted to the Russian army together with all of his classmates. He was almost the only Czech in his unit. He served with the 53rd, and later with the 51st, engineer corps. They were mostly repairing war-damaged bridges or roads. From Kiev he got to Stalingrad, where he witnessed almost the entire siege of the trapped German armies. Then followed a transfer to the Baltic countries and subsequently to Germany where he saw the end of the war. After the war, he was married and wanted to continue his studies; however, his brother, who served in the Czechoslovak army, didn’t want to return to the Ukraine anymore. Thus, Rostislav Glajch moved to Czechoslovakia in 1947 with his family (his brother and his parents). At first he lived in Žatec, then later in Prague, where he worked for Konstruktiva. Glajch became the director of Konstruktiva before retiring. He joined the Communist party after he came to Czechoslovakia, and never got into any serious conflict with the Communist regime nor did he suffer any persecution.