Colonel (ret.) Adolf Kaleta

* 1925  †︎ 2018

  • “I remember very well the day when the village mayor came to my parents. It was already after we had been occupied by Germany, and his position was called Vorsbauerführer, something like the farmers’ leader. He came to us because nationality registrations were being taken in the Těšín region at that time. The village mayor was František Klimša, and he said to us: ´So, you are not Germans, you are not Czechs, either, and I don’t recommend you to register as Poles, because the Germans are transporting away the Poles who are inconvenient to them. As Poles you would have to go to work somewhere in the Ukraine. You should therefore register your nationality as Silesian.´ ´Fine, we live in Silesia, so we are Silesian nationals.´ Everyone had their nationality registered as Silesian. But the Germans then said that it was a German territory and therefore we were Germans. What this meant for young boys? That they had to join the German army.”

  • “I remember the company commander Oberleutnant Geistrike shouting: ´Alles zurück! Alles zurück!´ Everyone come back, because the Americans and Englishmen were pushing us there. I said to one of my friends: ´You know what, damn the Germans, we will wait here in the trenches.´ We thus disregarded the German order and we remained in the trenches and waited for the Englishmen and Americans to come for us. We waited for them. We thus did not attack the Englishmen or anything like that.”

  • “It was on October 28 and I drove the Cromwell tank. We seized some land and on November 5, there was another large attack, where I was unfortunately wounded in my legs. We were advancing in the German territory and the Germans were in bunkers, and I shouted into one of the bunkers. ´Alles raus! Der Tom ist da!´ Everybody get out. The English are here. The Germans called the Englishmen Toms. They crawled out of the bunker like cockroaches, carrying a white flag. I remember it so well. Some ardent German threw a hand grenade, which bounced away, but I still got some fragments from the explosion in my legs. So that is how I took part in the fighting for Dunkerque.”

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    Hrádek, 05.12.2013

    duration: 01:19:25
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
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Either you kill him or he kills you

Adolf Kaleta at the time when he fought at Dunkerque
Adolf Kaleta at the time when he fought at Dunkerque
photo: archiv pamětníka

Adolf Kaleta was born in 1925 in Albrechtice near Český Těšín. He comes from a mixed Czech-Polish family. His parents accepted the Volksliste n. 3 in 1941 and two years later, the seventeen-year-old Adolf had to join the wehrmacht. He served in southern France for some time before being transferred to the units defending the German positions in Normandy. He crossed over to the Allies in the very first combat situation, and he was subsequently transported to England, where he joined the Czechoslovak foreign army. He then took part in combat at the city of Dunkerque as a Cromwell tank driver with the Czechoslovak Independent Brigade. After the war he worked in the Trade Association in Český Těšín for nearly forty years, and he also served as its director for some time. He lived in Hrádek u Jabrlunkova and was the chairman of the Frýdek-Místek chapter of the Czechoslovak Association of Legionaries and the chairman of the Jablunkov chapter of the Czech Association of Freedom Fighters.