Jan Gulec

* 1938

  • "The year 1968 I remember very well. I used to go jogging in the direction of the forest, everywhere, every morning at five o'clock. The day the Soviets came, the day I wanted to go jogging. But suddenly the door opened... Or the neighbor knocked, she was crying behind the door. I opened. 'Mr Gulec, do you know there is a war?' I say: 'What war? What do you do? Or what and how?' And there were Soviet troops, those tank units, were driving along the road. And they already drove at night. That is, from eleven o'clock they were already driving in the direction of Fryštát and along the main road in the direction of Karvina. Because they, the Soviets, had noted that there were military barracks in Sovinca."

  • "Otherwise, Frištát was not individually damaged. Although, when there was shooting between the Soviet and German troops, which were buried in the area of those Marklovice and Petrovice, some of the artillery shells flew in this direction as well. For example, I went with my father from the store in the evening... And we lived next to the former hospital insurance company, as it is in Nádražní street, so we had a barracks there. Shrapnels or something like that was flying along the road as it was exploding. But it wasn't so that there were too many barracks damaged by the war here in the city or in the surrounding area.''

  • "The city of Fryštát was pretty much, one can say, such a peaceful city during the war, because the war did not interfere all the way up here. It was not until the end of 1944, with the arrival of Soviet troops and the retreat of the Wehrmacht from these areas, that substantial changes took place. There were also various diversionary groups in this area. And then those fights were also quite significant at the end of 44 and 45, mainly in the area of the industrial part of today's Karviná, which means there in the area of Marklovice, in the area of Petrovice, in the area of - today - Mizerova. That's where the fighting took place.“

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    Karviná, 26.10.2021

    duration: 01:09:08
    media recorded in project The Stories of Our Neigbours
  • 2

    Karviná, 26.11.2021

    duration: 14:44
    media recorded in project The Stories of Our Neigbours
Full recordings are available only for logged users.

Until 1989 whole life was more or less interwoven with the burden of the past

Jan Gulec during basic military service in 1959 in Prachatice
Jan Gulec during basic military service in 1959 in Prachatice
photo: archiv pamětníka

Jan Gulec was born on September 18, 1938 in Fryštát to a German-Czech family. Immediately after his birth, Free State and its surroundings were annexed by Polish troops as part of the Czechoslovak-Polish conflict. A year later, Polish tanks replaced Nazi tanks, and both Fryštát and Karviná became part of the Third German Reich. As a child, Jan also experienced the liberation of the border troops of the Red Army in 1945 and the retreat of Nazi troops. Part of his family of German origin ended up being deported to Germany as part of the Beneš decrees, his father’s business was confiscated and he was sent to a camp, where he had to work hard repairing bridges and roads. In 1948, after the rise of the communist regime, Jan’s family’s house was confiscated. They lost the rest of what they owned in 1953 during the currency reform. Jan met the Red Army again in 1968, when they occupied the building of the insurance company where he worked, believing it to be a military base. In 1989, the witness participated in a meeting of the Civic Forum. Jan Gulec worked in an insurance company all his life. In 2021, he lived in Karviná.