Pavel Höchsmann

* 1927

  • „So that’s how I had told you, then two English fighters accompanied me. I saw that they flew by so I waved at them that I did not mean to fight. And when they flew nearby, I showed them that I want to go down. And so one flew in front of me and one flew behind to make sure that in case I did something shady so that he could shoot me dow. But the first one led me to the airstrip. I probably wouldn’t find the way there only until I’d have seen that there’s some landing strip so that I could land there.”

  • „I was never too eager to fight. I rather sought a way to turn aside and pretend that nothing was happening. Nobody was following me because there was no time for that. That was my luck. Then I shot out all the ammo because if I returned with full…, they would accuse me of being a coward for not fighting. That is the ruckus, as they say. The heavy bombers were gone and the fighter planes got into the ruckus.“ „Were you ever hit?“ „Yeah, that too. My record was thirty-six hits. Mostly to the fuselage, some to the wings. But it goes like this: when you have a chance to shoot at the enemy, those are fractions of seconds. He, for example, flies here, you fly there, he has some speed, you have some speed. So you aim at him and then poof, he is gone. That’s an enormous speed. Those are fractions of second and when you do not take your chance, he’s gone. That’s an enormous speed, that’s not that I could aim in peace and then I shoot him dead. No way. This is just a bit of good luck.”

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  • “When they made sure I was Czech, then the commander of the Czech squadron, major [Miroslav] Mansfeld came to test me. I told such details that they became convinced that I was indeed a Czech, not a German. Then he let me be. They gave me a British uniform, you’re welcome.” [Note: at the RAF Coltishall, the No. 68 Squadron RAF was stationed and most of it personnel was Czech.]

  • „It was ugly. There were undeground bunkers and we hid in them. We only heard the explosions. The bunker was well built in concrete and underground. Those who managed to, simply ran away. Those who did not did not end up well, they were killed or injured. There were girls as well, the WAF ladies who helped the airforce. Two of them were killed in an air raid as well. Those are such unpleasant things. But then, you get used to them and it becomes business as usual to you. That’s the worst about it, you get used to everything including the gallows.”

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    Mohelnice, 23.02.2018

    (audio)
    duration: 04:53:05
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
  • 2

    Olomouc, 07.05.2018

    (audio)
    duration: 03:08:22
    media recorded in project Příběhy regionu - STM REG ED
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He waved his wings and landed on an airport in England with a German airplane

Pavel Höchsmann wearing the uniform of the Auxiliary Technical Batallions.
Pavel Höchsmann wearing the uniform of the Auxiliary Technical Batallions.
photo: archiv pamětníka

Pavel Höchsmann was born on the 30th of September of 1927 to a Czech-speaking family in Duchcov (German: Dux). In 1937, the family moved to Mohelnice. After the Munich Agreement, they were only one of the few families who stayed in the town now occupied by the Germans. When researching for the so-called Ahnenpass that should confirm his “Aryan parentage”, the German registrar office found out that he was of partial German origin. He thus had to join Hitlerjugend (Hitler‘s Youth). In one of the Hitlerjugend’s clubs, he acquired a pilot license for a glider. After finishing his apprenticeship, the Reich Labour Service (Reichsarbeitdienst, RAD) sent him to Hirschberg (today’s Jelenia Góra in Southwestern Poland). This served as a preparation for young men before entering the Wehrmacht. Based on his pilot license, Pavel Hochsmann was allegedly conscripted to the Luftwaffe shortly after his 17th birthday and after an expedited training someplace near Dresden at the end of 1944, he was assigned to the fighter squadron. He flew a Messerschmit and allegedly participated in the bombing of England. He however did not want to fight for the Nazis and he claims that during his third air raid, he landed at an airstrip near the town of Coltishall where the Czech airmen of the No. 68 Squadron RAF were based. He claims to have served there as land personnel, which is barely probable, according to the historians of the RAF. After WWII, he was conscripted in Czechoslovakia. At that time, the Communists had already seized the power so as a politically unreliable person, he was assigned to the Auxiliary Technical Batallions to the President Gottwald coal mine in Horní Suchá. After returning from the army, he worked in the MEZ company in Mohelnice. In 1953, he started a parachuting club in Mohelnice and organised an air parade. The State Security prohibited him from further activity in the club. He got back to parachute jumping only after fifty six years, two years after his eightieth birthay. He jumped four more times, for the last time on the 5th of October in 2013, he created the Czech record as the oldest parachute jumper. In 2018, he still lived in Mohelnice.