Václav Jakeš

* 1923  †︎ 2014

  • "I knew how they [State Security agents - ed.] worked, so I reckoned they'd cook up some evidence against me. They had their sights on me also because we were the only kulaks in the village and because Mum had a brother who was in the League Against Bolshevism. And I already suspected at the time, that they must have something, some evidence against Řezáč [a member of the Black Lion 777 resistance group - ed.]. I reckon they'd have dragged me into it well and truly. Šíma maybe got what was coming for me, he hadn't taken part in any of it either, he just took them there on his motorbike. When they threw the grenade, and one stood waiting with the gun... but that wasn't Šíma. He just took them there and back on his motorbike. But they executed him, they executed Šíma... Back home they had to report that I had disappeared. So they did. I had a tooth fixed that day, and then didn't return any more. And I met a girl from Branišovice there, and she must've told them she was there with me. They knew I was somewhere close by, that I had to be somewhere here. Near Branišovice. But I didn't go home at all, I slept in the woods. There was a clearing, I gathered some small trees, made myself a shelter of sorts. I picked a bundle of aftergrass, it was still growing at the time. That's what I slept on." (Q: "How long did you sleep like that?") "It wasn't all like that, sometimes I stayed with Šimák in Porešín - and he got into trouble for it. Some people saw me and didn't say a thing. I know Mrs. Komárková, this one old lady, she was doing something with the potatoes, and they had the cattle let out there, and she shouted to me: 'Venda [familiar for Václav - transl.], shoo that cow away for me!' In other words she recognized me. So I shooed it away. You didn't have to be afraid of some people."

  • "The nadcos ["esenbáci", members of the SNB - National Defence Corps, police and intelligence forces - transl.] might've seen me there. Normal people didn't go there much, but the nadcos patrolled there. Well, and come the 9th of October, Jenda Jakeš stopped by and told me: 'Look, they've got cars here, and motorbikes, so be careful.' So I was careful, but then I saw a man come along. He was walking by the field, though there was no pathway there, and he had walky-talky in his hand. And when I noticed him, he probably noticed me as I stepped out, so he waved his hand like this [to the side - ed.]. I guess he was pointing at something nearby, I didn't know that, didn't know that there was anyone there, but there were more than twenty of them with submachine guns - those were the ones who shot at me. Well I didn't wait for anything, when I saw that man give the signal, I started legging it. They opened fire as soon as I turned back into the forest, they blasted, shot at me... But those were just warning shots. I fell over two or three times, but ran on and over the ridge, so they couldn't see me. I legged it all the way to the meadows, then the nadcos climbed over to my side too. I could still find the bullets there, if I wanted to look, because I saw the bullets bite into the ground. I was running with bullets whizzing all around me... So I legged it along the path to Porešín, and they thought I had gone into the forest there. Then I hid myself, in the shrubbery there, and they pushed on to the forest, but I wasn't there. I set out for Porešín, round by Dobrá Voda, a secluded place, and entered a forest. And suddenly I didn't know where I was, because I had never been there... Then the path split up and there was an arrow pointing one way... Have a guess, where I was - it was written there 'Pray for us', so I took the route the arrow pointed me to. And I thought to myself that Mum must be praying for me at home. I came to my friend Kořánek. He took a bottle of paraffin oil and soaked my feet, so that they couldn't track me with hounds. Then he took me to the Peckas, where I stayed in hiding."

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    Příbram, 10.04.2008

    duration: 03:10:07
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Wait it out in the barn, ‘till it blows.

Václav Jakeš
Václav Jakeš
photo: Archiv pamětníka

Václav Jakeš was born in 1923 into the family of a farmer in Branišovice near Milevsko. He completed studies at an agricultural school and began working on his family farm. As a “kulak” (farm owner) and the chairman of the local Catholic youth organization, he disagreed with the events following February 1948. Together with his like-minded childhood friends Jiří Řezáč, Jaroslav Sirotek and Bohumil Šíma he formed a resistance group called Black Lion 777 (Černý lev 777). Apart from other activities, they carried out two bomb attacks on the Communist Party’s secretariats in Sedlčany and Milevsko. Jakeš knew about his friends’ and neighbours’ efforts, but he denies having participated in any specific activity of the group. Despite this and based on witness accounts of other detainees and of State Security members, he was accused of subversion of the state and attempted murder. During an attempt to cross the western borders in 1949, his brother Alois was caught by State Security. During interrogation he claimed, among other things, that Václav was meeting people in touch with foreign agents. Soon after, Václav Jakeš was brought into custody and forced to cooperate. He met up several times with State Security members in the woods near Branišovice, where he was assigned missions. But instead of betraying his friends, he decided to go fugitive in July 1951. Armed, he hid in the woods and at his Black Lion friends. State Security was close on his trail and in October 1951 it attempted to close down on Jakeš at the village of Porešín. Thanks to a generous dose of luck and good knowledge of the terrain, Jakeš managed to slip through the net and escape while under gunfire. A friend from Kovářov, Kořánek, found him a knew hideout with the Pecka family, at their reclusive farm at the hamlet of Zadní Chlum. Members of the Black Lion (who had no clue as to Jakeš’s whereabouts) were arrested in 1954 and given death sentences. Václav Jakeš remained at the Pecka estate until 1966, when he was found by his sister, who persuaded him to turn himself in to the police. He was arrested and held in custody in České Budějovice. After five months he was acquitted of all charges and released. He lived in Pilsen and Prague, earning his living as a labourer. He was rehabilitated in 1994. Václav Jakeš died in 2014.