Captain (ret.) Vladimír Hnetecký

* 1927  †︎ 2013

  • "We crossed the Krušné hory Mountains and went to Prague. In Prague, it was still in a flux. It still wasn't quite over. So we finished it and we celebrated the end of the war in Mělník. We returned from Prague and that was the end."

  • "We walked through Warsaw and there was just nothing left of it. There was nothing left. It was just ruins." [And at the front line, then, when you were behind Warsaw, what kind of fighting was it?]" Well, the usual kind, the Odra – Nisa campaign, we passed the river, we crossed over the bridge, through the river, and we marched on."

  • [What did you do there?] "Where?" [Beyond the Urals?] "We worked in the Ural tank factory. I didn't like it there, so the four boys as we were, decided to run away. We escaped many times. We got caught repeatedly but we would lie to them, we would always make up something and they let us go. Then we got on a freight train and we came to Zhitomir."

  • "There was a table, a woman, and they were recruiting people. We arrived there, the four of us that had fled together and we told her our dates of birth. And she said: 'No, no, you're still too young'. We missed it only about a year and she wouldn't accept us. So what would we do? If we went back home they might have jailed us for running away from work. So we stepped aside and waited until the woman who had refused us went away and another one replaced her. Then we went to the table again and simply added a year to our age. We had no papers. You have to understand that we had thrown everything away. We buried it in the woods."

  • [This filing cabinet, what did they keep in the evidence?] "Everything, the normal things, date of birth and so on. Where you were from most importantly what you did there. We didn't determine why he went there or the sort of things. That was the job of someone else." [Yeah, the contras were there too, right?] "Yes, they were there too." [And who decided what commando the prisoner was assigned to?] "It was decided there." [It wasn't at your place?] "No, no. I was in the office, not there. But it was arranged where they were needed. "[Alright. And did you write it yourself or did you have a secretary?] "No, I was putting everything on the files."

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    Ostrov nad Ohří, 31.10.2012

    duration: 01:36:16
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Those times were like that

Vladimír Hnetecký, 31.10.2012
Vladimír Hnetecký, 31.10.2012
photo: autor Martin Reichl

Vladimír Hnetecký, a retired captain, was born on 7 July, 1927, in Dubno in Volhynia in a mixed Ukrainian-Czech family. Vladimír Hnetecký only spent his early childhood in his birthplace because the family moved to Michalowka and then to nearby Luck still before the war. His Ukrainian father worked in a brick factory and his Czech mother worked in a company producing groats. Vladimír Hnetecký studied at a Polish primary school in Lutsk, but the war prevented him from continuing in this peaceful life. At first, he worked in the mill and in 1944, he was taken to work in tank factory in Chelyabinsk, where he served as a slave laborer. Together with some of the other workers, he decided to escape to Zhytomyr, where he joined the Polish Army the same year. He became a tank driver of the reconnaissance tank company of the 2nd Division, 1st Brigade. He went through battles in Poland and East Germany and came to Berlin. From Germany, he traveled to northern Bohemia and the end of the war found him in Mělník. After his demobilization, he returned to Volhynia, briefly worked as a driver and in 1947 re-emigrated to Czechoslovakia with his family. He settled in Chomutov and gained employment in a rolling mill. After he graduated from high school, he sent a service request to the Ministry of the Interior. Until 1968, he then worked in the filing cabinet and after he was degraded for opposing the occupation of Czechoslovakia by the Warsaw Pact, he served as a warden at Jáchymov - Vykmanov and Mariánská. He lived in Ostrov nad Ohří, passed away on March, 20th, 2013.