Václav Hrabý

* 1945

  • "I have beautiful memories there. Even though I was a soldier, I slept with civilians in Kašperské Hory. Two buses were taking civilian employees up to the construction site. One came with employees from České Budějovice, and the other came from Prague. At that time, people from Prague still went to Šumava for work, but then things changed. We departed at ten minutes to five because we were going to Rejštejn, where we got snacks. There was Mr. Foltýn's butcher shop and bakery, which had the famous Rejštejn rolls. We bought 300 rolls and took them with us to the construction site. Often I would eat eight or ten rolls in the morning, wash it down with a beer, and that would be my only meal for the day. Because the number of people I was in charge of was large. When I assigned work to the last one, the first ones were already finished. That was laying out, measuring, checking the construction, handing over the work... I practically didn't rest. My fellow construction manager and I were, as they say, in over our heads."

  • "Practically the whole day, I sat with the management of Military Construction in České Budějovice. I knew what was being done on the Poledník. It would be revealed. We had to sign a paper agreeing not to talk about it anywhere. There was no photography. It was forbidden. We were not allowed to travel anywhere abroad for the next twenty years, only to the socialist sector. We had to sign everything. Then we kind of got used to it. It got under the skin that it wasn't talked about. In the evening, we stopped in Rejštejn at a pub for dinner, there were good accordion players, so we sang. But there was no talk of Poledník. We talked of sports, girls, and the like, but we didn't mention the building because we knew it could be a disaster."

  • "It was such a beautiful experience, and we weren't allowed to talk about it anywhere. But the Americans were aware of it. They knew more than we did. Their helicopters - the Cobras - were landing at the border. It was less than a kilometer from Poledník. They could fly to the border, watch what we were doing, and film everything. When I close my eyes, I totally recall the black guy who piloted the helicopter laughing at us. His white teeth were clearly visible on that face. He waved at us. They were just there sometimes twice a day, sometimes maybe every other day. There wasn't a week that someone didn't fly there for an inspection. At least two or three times a week, their helicopter flew in."

  • Full recordings
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    Plzeň, 14.12.2022

    duration: 01:35:37
    media recorded in project Příběhy regionu - PLZ REG ED
Full recordings are available only for logged users.

I lived for Poledník, it moved me further

Václav Hrabý in 2022
Václav Hrabý in 2022
photo: Pilsen studio

Václav Hrabý was born on 7 May 1945 in Dobršín near Sušice. His parents, František Hrabý (1901) and Božena Hrabová (1910) had a medium-sized farm in Dobršín. They refused to join the cooperative and gave in to communist pressure only in 1959. Václav Hrabý could not freely choose his school due to his parents’ attitudes. He was allowed to study only four subjects - mason, miner, metallurgist, and farmer. When he trained as a bricklayer, the regime no longer cared that he entered the construction industry school in Pilsen. After graduation, he went to work at the Military Buildings, where he completed his military service. During military service, when he was 22 years old, he became a foreman of a classified radio station construction on top of Šumava’s Poledník. Thanks to its location, it had excellent prerequisites for radio interception of military units and the air force beyond the western border. Under favorable conditions, it covered the territory from Austria through Germany to the French border. Václav Hrabý devoted himself to construction all his life. He left Military Construction in 1975 for the Construction Court in Sušice, then worked as an investment technician at the Municipal Office in Sušice. At the time of the filming, he lived in Sušice in an apartment building he had once built himself.