Václav Harmáček

* 1937

  • "Well, the director Sedláček called me at the end of the fourth grade and said: 'Do you want to continue studying? So we'll let you go to grammar school, and then you'll go to study at the mining college.' Even then, I received such a predestination. I didn't fulfil it because I wanted to be a teacher, so I did everything to get into that profession. I did it, and I've been teaching all my life."

  • "They let us climb up their GAZ cars... The nicest thing for us was when a soldier suddenly got into the car, started it up and took us around Staňkov. That was the biggest reward, we all bragged about it: 'I rode in gas!' Anytime we could, we were mingling with the soldiers. Back then, parents didn't have to worry about us all all; if they were looking for us, they were sure to find us there."

  • "At that time, it was a huge column of all kinds of tanks, cars, trucks; some of them were pulling cannons behind them. Just a traffic jam that really lasted about two hours. It was a gift for me, because I actually received the liberation of Staňkov for my eighth birthday at the time. And an even bigger gift was the end of World War II two days later."

  • "I remember, for example, a single plane flyover. At that time, I was still in the backyard, yet it was already dark in the evening. Suddenly, the factory sirens announced the beginning of the air raid with a fluctuating tone, and we just ran to hide ourselves in covers most of the time. Shelters in the countryside at that time were mainly cellars. But I didn't go into that shelter at that time, because I already heard the roar of the planes, and one of the planes suddenly lit up – it seemed to me that as if a hot ball was floating in the sky. Only later did I learn that it was a plane that had the task of illuminating the future bombed area a little so that the pilots of the planes that carried the bombs could better orientate themselves. Unfortunately, it was one of the raids on the city of Pilsen, and at that time the plants were quite destroyed. The hot ball, I liked it, it shone nicely floating across the sky. Well, as a boy I was happy about it, but really it was the worst thing that could have happened."

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    Mníšek v Libereckém Kraji, 18.03.2022

    duration: 01:52:42
    media recorded in project The Stories of Our Neigbours
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It was a gift for me. On my eighth birthday, I received the liberation of Staňkov

Young Václav Harmáček
Young Václav Harmáček
photo: Archiv pamětníka

Václav Harmáček was born on May 8, 1937 in Prague. After his birth, the family moved from the capital to Staňkov in the Pilsen region. Shortly after, his mother died, so he grew up with his grandparents. He spent his childhood in Staňkov, where he visited a town school during the war. There he also experienced military raids on Pilsen and in 1945 the liberation by the American army. After the war, his subsequent studies began to be addressed, which at first seemed complicated, but in the end the witness managed to begin studying at the gymnasium. After the war, in 1959 he completed his secondary school leaving certificate, got married and became a teacher. He first taught in Nýřany near Pilsen, and then he and his wife moved to Mníšek in the Liberec region. There he taught at an elementary school and later became its principal. Before he retired, he taught at a school in Frýdlant. In 2022, Václav Harmáček lived in Mníšek in the Liberec region.