“We had to wear protective aids against the gas at all times. We always had to be on alert in case we would have to take action. If they had used gas, we’d be sent into action. But it actually never happened afterwards. After the unit had been set up, the Germans never used it again. They had used it before and that was the reason for the formation of the chemical unit. It was under the orders of the Russians. But after it had been formed, the Germans never used the gas again.”
“The editors of the Rudé právo magazine fled from Prague and came to our village. [There was also some murdering of the Jewish population right?] Well, there was some of that, too. [Do you remember it?] The lads got lost and were not to be found. Then the Red Army arrived and with it came Svoboda. So they came with Svoboda.”
“When we marched through the Dukla Pass, I was with the machine-gun company, in the unit that had heavy machine guns. An ulcer developed in my knee. So they let me go to the doctor to get it treated. When they were collecting the wounded soldiers, I was waiting there and so they took me together with the wounded. I protested, telling them that I couldn’t come with them ecause I was going to the doctor but they wouldn’t listen to me. ‘Davaj, pašli¨. And so I had to go with them. We went to Rzeszów.”
“In March 1944 it came back. The Russians drove out the Germans back to Germany and our army came together with the Soviet army. It was the Czechoslovak brigade. We all enrolled as one man. Except for the children and the old people, everybody went to war.”
“Later on, they would allot soldiers plots that used to belong to the Germans who had been displaced. However, most of the land had been already taken by the national custodians who then established themselves there. Before we even came there, most of the plots were already occupied and when they had to leave it they took everything with them. So there was nothing left on the plot, nothing you could use to cultivate the land. Finally, we managed to make something of it anyway. In 1947, my parents came to Czechoslovakia as well. My father had been in the war as well but he fell ill afterwards. He didn’t stay in Volhynia but came home instead.”
“Except for the children and the old, everybody went to the war.”
Retired first lieutenant Václav Hajný was born on January 1, 1925, in České Noviny in Volhynia in what used to be Poland. He completed four years of elementary school and graduated in Luck. On March 21, 1944, he joined the newly created 1st Czechoslovak Army Corps and served with the machine-gun company of the 1st Brigade. He fought in the battles for Krosno and Machnówka and the Battle of the Dukla Pass. In the course of the operation, he became ill suffering from an ulcer in his knee and had to be taken to hospital in Rzeszów. After recovery, he served in the 3rd brigade of the chemical unit. After the war, he settled in Tvršice in the region of Žatecko and became a farmer. At the same time, he was a member of the Judex anti-Communist resistance organization (JOPO). For his activities against the regime, he was arrested on June 18, 1949, and sentenced to six years in prison in Pankrác. Altogether, he spent four years and eight months in various prisons like Pankrác, Jáchymov - Horní Slavkov and Vykmanov, in Hostinné, in Valdice-Kartouzy, and in Trutnov. In prison, he lost an eye. On July 14, 1953, he was released and took up work at the Czechoslovak state railway where he served as a maintenance man and assistant worker. Václav Hajný lived the rest of his life in Žatec, passed away on the 5th of June, 2015.