Vladimír Holman

* 1929  

  • “There is one moment I can’t forget. There were barricades and the Germans needed to leave. They wanted to get through Prague and get to the Americans. They went to a shelter – they knew that people were hiding in there – and ordered them to remove the barricades. And I can still feel it even today: a soldier approached me, pressed a gun against my back, to my dad as well… We climbed out of the shelter. I can see my mom, scared, waiting if they would shoot us. We went out, and there was a soldier with a machine gun lying against us and pointing at us. So we went, cleared away the barricade. They passed and left us alone.”

  • “We lived next to that main railway track between the main station and Vysočany, near Balabenka. One day we saw a train there, we were looking at it, and it was an armoured train. We came out, and suddenly a shot was fired. You could then see it had gone through a roof. So we ran into the shelter. And I also remember we were walking the street and there were four policemen. They were heading to destroy that train. But when the Germans saw them there was a bang bang, and the policemen were gone.”

  • “What was terrible was the situation after Heydrich’s assassination. At that time they basically occupied all of Libeň. One was even afraid to stand by a window. In the neighbourhood a mother with a baby pram approached a window. Somebody warned her and fortunately she didn’t finish her movement when a shot came. After that they began shooting people in the shooting range in Kobylisy… To put it simply, one was terribly afraid. There were always some announcements with names of people who had been executed. And then when you saw Lidice, Ležáky… It fell down upon you, feeling as if you lived under a heavy blanket.”

  • “It differed. I cannot say that all the Germans I met there were Nazis. Obviously, they got convinced by Hitler then... I remember I was taking violin lessons in Králíky. And it was always: Ein, zwei, drei... Then he called another boy to translate it for me. But at that time quite a lot of people there were already siding with Heinlein. That means wearing those white socks, trousers with a drop-front flap, shirts, hats... It was being formed there, but this was rather in towns, not so much in the villages.”

  • “When Gottwald died, he was clad in a military uniform, since he was the commander of the army, and a military parade was held. The coffin was leaving the Castle, it had a glass lid and the corpse was visible inside. I went to Pohořelec to see it and there was a mother with a little girl. The girl is looking at him, and then clasps her hands and exclaims: ´Mommy, Snow White is passing here!´ The mother grabbed her and off she ran... Because about every other person there was a cop...”

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  • 6

    V Praze, 15.10.2009

    (audio)
    duration: 02:59:13
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
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I don’t think I have even a single nice memory from the war. It was terrible.

portret3.jpg (historic)
Vladimír Holman
photo: Dobová archiv V. Holmana, současná Jan Kotrbáček

  Vladimír Holman was born May 12, 1929 in Osek. After two years he moved with his parents to Žebrák and after another two years again, this time to Prague-Libeň. His active participation in the 1938 all-Sokol rally was one of his greatest childhood experiences. He remembers his stays in the Orlické Mountains in the pre-war years, where his father was working as a driver on the construction of the border fortification line. Vladimír, with his mother, often went there to stay with him during summer vacations. On the other hand, the takeover of Prague by the wehrmacht on March 15, 1939 was a traumatizing experience for him. For Vladimír Holman it is painful to remember the war years in Prague, filled with terror and fear. He experienced what it was like to have a German gun pressed to his back. He witnessed killings and bombardment. After the war he became an electrical engineering specialist. He was also fired from a job for his so-called ideological ignorance, and experienced difficulties searching for other employment. At present he leads a happy life, full of travelling and music.