General (ret.) Antonín Husník

* 1921  †︎ 2011

  • “After few years when the communist scoundrels started to hang each other, they had decided that especially our interrogators from military staff had misused their authority. So they prosecuted and imprisoned them. Bohata was sentenced for seven years, Pergl as well, I think. So we met them again in prison Leopoldov. We were in jail altogether. Especially in Leopoldov dwelt elite society. For example general Syrovy, who worked there as a gardener, members of pre-communist government and then arrived the Bolsheviks arrested in connection with Rudolf Slansky. One day suddenly Bohata was standing at our doors. We, young soldiers were of course looking forward for revenge. But general Janousek ordered to ignore him absolutely – not give a shit about him. The general decided – we could do nothing. But we were annoyed by this decision because Bohata took it easy. Very soon he managed to acquire a good job. We were really disappointed we couldn’t birch him.”

  • “I was arrested just before the legal process with Milada Horakova started. I was moved to Prague to the so-called ‘Little House’. My wife was just in the maternity hospital. When I have returned from prison my daughter was eight years old. The interrogation started. There was an ill-known screw Pergl (Doddered Linden) in those days. The interrogation took place in another building across the yard. There the beating was limited to slaps, but in case the detainee did not cooperate, we were returned back to the ‘Little House’ into Pergl’s hands. He has one stooge named Maly at hand. Maly spoke with a very strong eastern accent. Interrogators always shouted: ‘Take him upstairs, he is not able to remember anything again.’ Especially a psychological pressure was very strong in the ‘Little House’. My wife was still in the maternity hospital. The interrogators threaten me they will imprison her and the child would be send to a child home. In this lied the difference between Communists and Nazis. Germans were not taking vengeance against family members in such a way, even if they were our enemies. Physical violence was pursued by the sergeant Maly. When he hit you, you felt like a vehicle crushed you. I, for example, was interrogated by captain Bohata. He still wanted to know something, but I had no idea what was going on. He was convinced I kept denying. I created a method to trick him. If I was not able to ‘remember’ or I didn’t ‘know’ I suggested I would write it down. One of the ways used to break the detainees was the constant walking order, which meant to walk from the morning till the evening without a rest. During the night we could sleep only on back with hands on the cover, otherwise the guars immediately woke us up. Therefore we were exposed to sleep deprivation as well. Even at night we were regularly called to interrogation. All together it could mean all day walking and then interrogation till dawn during which you had to stand all the time. So I came with an idea, I will write my testimony down. I got papers and I could of course sit during the writing. So I was sitting and writing and writing... I was beaten several times after this, because I was writing all time the same. Two sentences would be enough for what I wrote on several pages. Shortly I wrote bullshit. Bohata finally realized I was making a fun of him, so Maly heavily thrashed me.”

  • „When I was 18 years old, we decided with my friend Jiri Flemr to escape to France via Slovakia, Hungary and Yugoslavia. Our plan was to leave in January 1940 because I got news the river Moravia had already frozen. In this case the crossing of Slovakian borders would be much easier. We left Pilsen on 31. January. In Hodonin we got information in one pub and than crossed the river Morava in the middle of the night. Than we continued by train to Hungary, I think from Galanta. We were heading to Budapest because we had information refugees were getting help at our embassy. But we had to be very cautious, because Germans were already illegally patrolling around trying to catch refugees.”

  • “I was transported to Jachymov area to a central camp and afterwards to the ‘Tower of Death’ in block ‘L’. In Jachymov area I have spent three years. At the block ‘L’ I had worked from its very beginning. There existed no anti-radiation equipment at all. Part of our work consisted in transporting boxes full of highly radioactive ore. While we were resting we were sitting right on the boxes. The ‘Tower of Death’ was build as a central point for processing all the uranium ore mined in Czechoslovakia. Trucks unloaded the ore, then it was transported at the top of the Tower, and from there it was falling trough various sieves down to the ground. There we had to fill up the barrels with shovels. The opening of each barrel was relatively small and we had to press down the ore with big hammers. One full barrel weighed around 60 kilos. The way of processing was absolutely primitive. After the Velvet revolution I returned to the place, but I was unable to recognize it. The Tower was rising up build from the red bricks. But in my memory it remained clean white, everything was then completely covered by radioactive dust.”

  • „All the way to German court I was thinking of escape. In Moabit I wanted to get to a hospital, where to escape would by probably easier. We had regular walks during our detention. Once I found a light bulb. I crushed it to a dust and drunk it. I was awaiting horrible pain in my stomach which would cause me to scream and then a transport to a hospital. But absolutely nothing had happened! On another occasion I had tried to break my leg. I put a jug under ma heel in a cell and let an iron bed fall on my leg. But the leg withstood the blow. The only thing happened I wet myself because of pain.”

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    Plzeň, 25.10.2006

    duration: 03:22:43
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
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The interrogators threatened me they would imprison her and the child would be send to a child home

Husnik and his wife - wedding photo
Husnik and his wife - wedding photo
photo: archiv pamětníka

Antonín Husník, lieutenant-general in retirement, was born on 17th November in 1921 in Pilsen. In January 1941 he had tried to escape to France, where the Czechoslovakian units were forming, but he was caught in Hungary and returned back to Protectorate. For the escape he was sentenced in Nuremberg to three and a half years in jail. Immediately after he did his term at the end of 1943, he was arrested by Gestapo in front of the doors of the Weltheim jail, and was detained in Pankrac for several months before definitely released. After the war Husnik decided to become a professional soldier. He studied at the Military Academy in Hranice and afterwards went through a special paratrooper training. Within few days following the communist putsch in February 1948 Husnik was fired from paratrooper unit and later arrested in 1950. Several months Husnik was interrogated in the ill-known “Little House”, namely by an interrogator Bohata, and finally sentenced to 13 years imprisonment on an account of an alleged treason. For the first three years he was transferred to Jachymov uranium mines area, where he was placed to so-called “Tower of Death” in a block “L” and later to labor camp Ostrov. Together with Zdenek Kovarik and Mr and Mrs Balousek Husnik established there a unique secret mail connection from the camp. Afterwards Husnik was jailed in prison Kartouzy and several years in Leopoldov, where he met his interrogator from the “Little House” Bohata. Husnik was released prematurely after eight years in prison.