Ing. Jan Herejk

* 1928

  • "At the end of April, Karlov received the carpet bombing aimed at the Škoda factories. And the first three blocks there were practically destroyed. Not a single apartment could be used, so the people had to move in with their relatives. We had an aunt who lived opposite the Continental [a hotel in the centre of Pilsen], and at that time, three families lived at hers in two rooms. There was not enough space to even sleep on the floor. I actually didn't experience the worst period, I came to Karlov with a knapsack on my back and found a broken house, and there it was written with a brush: 'We are at Aunt Ela's.' So I knew where to go. But otherwise, my parents didn't know anything about me, and I didn't know anything about them either. And I only found out about the air raid when I returned to Karlov."

  • "Karlov was such a clean place before the war because it was built on the west side of the Škoda factories, and the wind there usually blows from the west, so the waste products didn't flow there. So when we washed clothes, we would take the linens to the lawns, and it was our duty to walk around with the sprinkler and sprinkle them. There was a Sokol gymnasium and a DTJ [the Workers' Sports Union]. They were both great gyms, and everyone went into either one to exercise. There were a lot of Germans living there, but as soon as it was a mixed marriage where the mother was Czech, their children went to school with us. If the children had German mothers, they went outside Karlov, even to exercise - they had a Turnhalle a short way from here. The football team here was excellent. Today, even hockey results aren’t as good. The results were, for example, in double figures, and it was played practically in one half. Many of those players were then selected and played in the first league."

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    Plzeň, 02.02.2022

    duration: 01:15:31
    media recorded in project Příběhy regionu - PLZ REG ED
Full recordings are available only for logged users.

“We’re at Aunt Ela’s,” was the sign on the remains of their house in Karlov when he returned from the battlefront

Jan Herejk in 1948, graduation photo
Jan Herejk in 1948, graduation photo
photo: Witness archive

Jan Herejk was born in Pilsen on October 14, 1928. He had two brothers, Jiří and Jindřich. His father, Jan Herejk, worked at the Škoda factories in Pilsen, which is why the family got an apartment in a workers’ colony called Karlov, built precisely for the purpose of housing company employees. Jan Herejk spent his entire childhood in this distinctive part of the city. In its heyday, there were over five hundred housing units, various cultural facilities, a doctor and other amenities contributing to the full civic facilities of the colony. Jan Herejk even went to general and city schools here. In 1942, he passed the exams for secondary technical school, where he began his studies. But those were already the wartimes which significantly changed life in Karlov. Several air raids which damaged many houses contributed to this the most. At that time, however, Jan Herejk was in Poland, where he was building barriers against the advancing Red Army as a conscript. On his return in May 1945, he found their house bombed. The family moved to an apartment on Klostermannova Street. Jan Herejk returned to his studies at the secondary technical school, which he completed in 1948, and then joined Škodovka as a design engineer. In the same year, he joined the Communist Party. However, he broke with the party politics after 1968, when he signed the Two Thousand Words manifesto and did not revoke his signature even after the August occupation by Warsaw Pact troops. He was expelled from the party. However, he worked for the Škoda factories in Pilsen until his retirement. He also taught at the University of West Bohemia in Pilsen in the early nineties. He was married twice. He has a daughter and a son. At the time of the interview (2022), he was still actively interested in the affairs of the meetings of Karlováks, former residents of the workers’ colony. He also contributed to the mapping of its history. For example, he participated in an exhibition dedicated to this district.