Ing. Bohumil Harák

* 1925  

  • “I would like to add some details about my family. I was born on October 4, 1925 in Brno-Chrlice. My father Bohumil (born 1902) was a technical clerk in the Škoda factory and he had one sister. His father was a baker. My mother Marie Hamrlová was a seamstress, she came from a family of 11 children. Her father Hamrla was an iron-founder, he was a co-owner of a foundry in Chrlice. Beside that he was an excellent trumpeter: the founder and leader of a brass orchestra. My ancestors endowed me with a liking for the baker’s trade (grandfather Emil), for technical drawing, passed on by my father, from grandfather Hamrla I inherited organization and leadership skills and the love for music, and mother and grandmother taught me the love for cooking. What I have received from all my ancestors is the sense for justice, truth and helping others; I have been well prepared for life. My mom used to tell me: ´Your parents and grandparents endowed all this to you – use these wherever life will carry you and you will be able to handle any situation.´ I have never forgotten her words – they have helped me to solve many critical situations in my life. I have one sister. Jarmila (b. 1938) lives in Valašské Meziříčí, where she was working in the DEZA company as a technical draftswoman and before she had worked in the Research Institute for Machine Tools and Machining in Prague for several years. With her husband Štefan Donič they had son Jaroslav, who died tragically when he was twenty-one, and her husband died in 2008. Her daughter Renata has a two-year-old son Jakub with her husband Martin, who is a computer expert. They live in Valašské Meziříčí as well. In 1950 I married Milada Dašková, who was a children nurse. The marriage didn’t work out, we divorced in 1978. I have two sons: Bohumil (*1951), who is an economist, before 1989 he worked in the economic department of the ČEZ company, since 1990 he has a prosperous auditing company. His wife Hana is a social worker in a nonprofit organization which focuses on the establishment and development of hospices. My son Bohumil had two daughters from his first marriage: Martina (*1972) with our granddaughter Barbora, and Petra (*1975) who died tragically in a traffic accident in 1995. They live in Nové Strašecí. Our son Martin (*1958) studied a higher industrial transport school in Prague. He was not admitted to a university due to his personal ´profile,´ because I got dismissed from the Communist Party in 1970. Nevertheless, through his hard work he became an expert on city commuter trains. He has worked on designing commuter train systems for Prague, Brno, Ostrava, Pilsen and Ústí nad Labem. At present he works at the Ministry of Transport as an editor for the magazine Železničář (Railwayman). With his wife Vladimíra they have son Jan, who studies a second grade at a grammar school in Brno. The family lives in Brno, and Martin divides his time between Brno and Prague. About Bohumil’s family: with his wife Hana they have two children – Jan became a computer programmer, and their daughter studies social sciences. With my partner Milena Pobertová (*1936), who is a confectioner by profession, we have been living in Slaný since 1988. Milena has two children from her first marriage: son MUDr. Pavel Ponert (*1953), head doctor of the orthopedic department of the hospital in Slaný. They have daughter Pavlína from their first marriage. His second wife, Dagmar (*1961) works as a surgery nurse in the hospital in Slaný and they live in Tuřany near Slaný. Daughter Zuzana (*1960) also works in the hospital in Slaný as a nurse. With her husband Stanislav Fric (a forwarder) they have two daughters, Lucie (*1980) and Petra (*1981). My wife had two siblings. Her older brother Jiří Krejza was a repairman of agricultural machinery in Miskovice near Kutná Hora, and his wife Jiřina was working in an agricultural cooperative. Jiří Krejza died in 2008. The older sister Anna was working in the economic department in the company Výkup in Slaný, and her husband Roman Úlovec worked as a driver in the Kovohutě Velvary. So this is all about my large family, which, headed by my partner Milena, has been giving me so much energy, that even in spite of my eighty-five years of age I am doing very well physically and mentally. It is a pity that our parents and grandparents are no longer alive, it would have made them happy to see such a large family. After I retired I was working in the place where I had lived before as a treasurer of the local chapter of the Czech Union of Freedom fighters in Prague-Nusle. Now I work as an economic auditor of the Military Association of the Rehabilitated Persons of the Czech Army, in its local chapter in Kladno-Slaný. This gives me satisfaction for my life.”

  • “I lived with my mother and sister in a flat in Nusle. It was in a house where Rudolf Ulč, who was a resistance fighter and got arrested by the Gestapo in late November 1939, just like my father, had also been arrested. The journalist Julies Fučík, Mr. Vysušil and his wife and Mr. Suchánek and his wife were also arrested in the same house. For this reason the house was monitored by the Gestapo all the time throughout the occupation period. After I completed the fourth year of my grammar school in Prague, the school management, following the urging of our German teacher, who was an active member of the Vlajka organization, asked me to leave the school since my father was a political prisoner. I was helped by my dad’s friend, architect Kincl, who gave me a recommendation to study at a secondary industrial school. Thanks to the understanding and courage of that school’s principal, Ing. Jaroslav Zahel, I began receiving a social scholarship, but secretly, being son of a political prisoner, and a merit scholarship as well. The principal also arranged for me to earn some money by tutoring other pupils. Thanks to all this, I was self-sufficient as for the school expenses, and I could even help out my mother with our family budget. Mother was ill and she was receiving an allowance of 550 Protectorate Crowns from the city council, and she also had to take care of my younger sister (born 1938).”

  • “We are calling the Czech police… ´We are calling the Czech police, the municipal police, the army and all patriots to come help us in the fighting for the radio. This was the signal starting the uprising. It was on Saturday. With my best friend and a fellow student from the industrial school František Valach we were at home listening to the radio. After this call was broadcast, we set out to the streets of Nusle. I ran down the stairs from the U družstva Ideál Street to the savings-bank. On the way I met Dr. Václav Jíra, who was a footballer playing in the Czech national team, a FIFA official and after 1990 the chairman of the Czech Football Union. He advised me to go to the Vršovice railway station, that there was an ambulance train with wounded German soldiers and he showed me a rifle he had got there. He promised me that if need be, if I didn’t come back, he would take care of my mother and my six-year-old sister. He kept this promise on the evening of May 6, when he helped them to evacuate to Nuselská Café on the intersection of Bělehradská and Otakarova Streets. I ran to the Brothers Synek Square and from there I wanted to get to the radio headquarters. I met František Valach there and we both wanted to continue towards the building of the radio. A small truck was approaching from the Michle neighborhood. ´We’re going to the radio building,´ the men on the truck called at us. František, running, managed to grab the side of the truck and the men pulled him up. He then did get involved in the fighting for the radio and he helped to evacuate the broadcasting equipment and the revolting employees to a safer location - to the evangelical church in the Bezruč Park, close to the Vinohrady water tower. There he became one of the armed guards of the radio and served there till the arrival of the Soviet army to Prague. After that he moved to our unit Dr, Bruner´s villa, in the Na Květnici Street at the crossroads with the Nad Nuslemi Street. I didn’t get onto the truck, I shouted behind them: ´I’ll get to you later.´”

  • “From the Vršovice railway station I set out to Jezerka, to the place where the sports ground of the Život Sports Club used to be, there were snipers’ posts in some attics in the buildings there. There I met my fellows in arms Josef and Karel Brož (who later represented Czechoslovakia in volleyball), Jiří Zelenka, Jiří and Alois Labounek, Josef and Petr Klimec, Vratislav Klimakovský, Jiří Keclík, who was my schoolmate, and another friend and schoolmate Bedřich Klaus. Béďa Klaus and his father were supplying ammunition to the gunmen, they had to bring it from the school in the U Mendíků Street in Michle. A random bullet killed Béďa’s father, and Rudolf Štícha also got killed (he fought with a rifle in hand in the same place as I, in the Na Květnici Street). Most of the people I mentioned were defending the locations of Reitknechtka, the forefield of the JAWA and MODERNA factories. Some of us were moved to the Květnice area. Rudolf Štícha and Vratislav Klimakovski went there with me - and both died in combat. The group in Květnice was led by sergeant in reserve Kotil, who also taught us to handle the rifles, and he himself was shooting from a light machine gun. The Jezerka sector commander lieutenant colonel Musílek and the Michle-Horní sector commander first-lieutenant Růžička ordered Kotil to move to the sector in the JAWA factory. At the same time we were assigned to go to the location of the Zelená liška school, where the SS and wehrmacht units were quartered, and where there was heavy fighting. We didn’t even reach the school. Near the bus station by Moderna we were stopped by a small bus which carried the first wounded from the Zelená liška school, and we were asked to be its armed escorts. We arrived to the general hospital on Charles Square, carried the wounded people out, and returned to the Jezerka area to the streets Na Květnice and Svážná. Around six in the evening it was relatively quiet in Jezerka. Barricades were built in Jezerka in all places where the streets lead to the Družstevní ochoz Road. A complicated situation issued in the Zelená liška school, where the lieutenant Sedláček’s group operated; he had destroyed a machine gun nest on the roof of the school. The unit which was quartered there refused to surrender to the insurgents, they wanted to deal only with the military command of the Prague Uprising. We received a message that this was not possible in any way, because the main staff of the insurgents led by general Kutlvašr was based in the centre of Prague.”

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    Vlastivědné muzeum ve Slaném, 20.08.2010

    (audio)
    duration: 26:54
Full recordings are available only for logged users.

After the call from the radio we set out to the streets

Photo from the Prague Uprising
Photo from the Prague Uprising
photo: soukromý archiv pamětníka

Ing. Bohumil Harák was born October 25, 1925 in Brno. His father was a designer of machine tools, his mother was a housewife. In 1926-1934 the family lived in Starý Plzenec, where his father worked in the Škoda company in Pilsen. In 1934 they moved to Prague 4-Nusle following his father’s transfer to the Škoda factory in Prague. His father, a member of the resistance group V boj, was imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp from 1939 until the end of the war. For this reason, Bohumil was not allowed to complete his studies at grammar school. Thanks to the intercession by his father’s friend, architect Kincl, and the courage of the principal Ing. Jaroslav Zahala he was admitted to the industrial secondary school in 1940, from which he graduated in 1944. In 1943 and 1944 he worked as a conscripted laborer digging trenches as part of the Technische Nothilfe in Prague-Ruzyně. After graduation he worked in the factory Škoda Praha, from there he was sent to ČKD for the  Panzerjäger program and he remained there till April 1945 when the ČKD factory was destroyed by bombing. During the Prague Uprising on May 5 he helped by building barricades, became a member of an armed unit Revolutionary Guard Prague 4-Jezerka, and took part in combat. After the war he completed the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering at the Czech Technical University in Prague. Briefly he worked as a technical clerk in Jaroměř and Hradec Králové, and after finishing his military service he became an officer of the Czechoslovak People’s Army, where he served as a referent in the Military-Economic Administration of the former State Planning Committee. He was dismissed on October 31, 1982 holding the rank of lieutenant colonel. He was arrested in November 1983 and held in detention pending trial because of the false allegation of “interfering with the foreign currency economy and receiving bribes.” In a lengthy statement made by his ex officio lawyer he refuted all charges and explained the matter. The prosecution was terminated on June 24, 1986 based on the presidential decision. After his return from prison he took care of his father, who was eighty-three years old; his mother died one day after he had been arrested. At present he lives in Slaný.