Pavel Hauzner

* 1936  †︎ 2022

  • “When the Hitlerjugend played music and carried the flag we had leave our games, stand at attention and take off our caps. But several times during football matches we hadn’t obliged and so it happened that their commander got up on an elevated lawn near Škoda’s houses in Dvořákova street and sent the German boys after us. There were more of them than us so obviously we got beaten up. But it wasn’t all too bad. Then he blew the whistle, they lined up, went on to the park and we carried on playing football.”

  • “I remember a plane being hit, the pilot jumping out and landing on the field which is today Borské sídliště. There were more experiences of the sort. For instance, I have a shrapnel at home which had landed on our roof. It hadn’t fallen while I was inside but I only found it later when I climbed up the roof for observation. A hundred meters from our place were two spotlights which we used after the war as carousels. They were revolving in order to spot the Englishmen who flew over at night. Thinking of it today, I shiver to realize that during air raids instead of going to take shelter I went to the roof.”

  • “Cigarettes and alcohol were a great currency. When we travelled to the countryside I and auntie Máňa went to exchange cigarettes. She had them thanks to her husband and her son who were non-smokers. We used to go to Žákava to see the miller, my mummy had sewn cloth bags and I carried a schoolbag. We gave the miller ten Zorka cigarettes in exchange of which he filled up two bags of flour. We put these in the schoolbag. On top we put a pencil case, schoolbooks, and gym shoes. So this is how the barter went.”

  • “As a ten-year old boy, I witnessed some of the last air raids on Plzeň. Each time there was a raid, we had to run to the shelter. As my father wasn’t home at that time, my mother would grab my little sister who had been born in October 1944 and we would run to the shelter in the Škoda houses across the street which had a solid cellar and were pretty high, so they made for a good shelter. I was running and holding the baggage in my hands. In one of the handbags, there was something which was very precious at that time: a bottle of plum brandy. I was running ahead of my mom because as a boy, I was naturally faster. I ran into that shelter and tripped on the stairs. I fell and broke that bottle. The plum brandy naturally spilled all over the floor. I sat down on the bench and remained sitting in silence. A while later, my mom arrived in the shelter with my sister. She said to the people around: ‘what a nice smell there is today’. And one man who was sitting next to my mom said: ‘Well, unfortunately for you, your son made this place smell so good. But don’t be mad at him, he tripped and fell down on the stairs’. So everybody commended that scent of the spilled plum brandy. A smell most of them probably hadn’t smelled for three or four years.”

  • “The bombings of Plzeň were quite frequent and the planes were flying over the city very often, so people would have to get up and had to run to the shelters. So in the beginning, each time the siren was sounded, it was a horrific experience. Because no matter when it was sounded, whether it was one o’clock at night or half past three in the morning, you just had to pack your luggage and run to the shelter. But old habits die hard, so people slowly got used to it. However, there were some things people just couldn’t get used to. When there was a raid on April 17 and on the previous days, there were dozens of deaths and hundreds were injured. There were also those who weren’t counted, those we’ll never learn about. There were various German units distributed throughout Plzeň. They were also bombarded. In this last raid, it is said that around two thousand Germans were killed at the Plzeň main train station. So it certainly was no fun.”

  • “At that time, the black still used to be segregated from the white Americans. So the whites went to dance to Beseda and to Svazáček in the Bory quarters. Whereas the blacks would go dancing to Peklo, which today is the Patton Museum. It was interesting that even when the blacks did something, a black patrol of the military police had to take care of it, whereas if there was a problem with a white soldier, a white policeman would handle it. So it was separated in all respects.”

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    Plzeň, 09.10.2013

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The uttered word holds, a handshake is as good as law

Pavel Hauzner
Pavel Hauzner
photo: archiv pamětníka

Pavel Hauzner was born in January 1936 in Plzeň. Soon after his birth, World War II broke out and thus he spent his early childhood in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia. In those times of war, he experienced eleven air raids on the city of Plzeň. He also experienced the city’s liberation by the U.S. Army. By that time, he had been already developing his passion for collecting stamps. He became interested in stamps after he had found thrown-away letters of American soldiers. He acquired his first stamps from these letters. After completing his studies in 1956, he was called up to join the troops in Prague - Bohnice. His stamp collection expanded during the communist regime and during the normalization period he would regularly attend the memorial ceremonies for fallen American airman. Due to the nature of his collection and its political connotations, he could not publicly exhibit his collection until 1989. His first exhibition was initiated by General Liška, a former classmate of his father. Over time he has won several international awards and he’s regularly attended exhibitions at home and abroad, most recently in Bangkok. He had two daughters. Pavel Hauzner died on December 15th, 2022.