Private First Class Josef Kaluža
"I was drafted into the German army on the 9th of September. I was in Italy first. There were eighty-five of us during the landing at Villa San Giovanni in Sicily. Only four of us survived. I stayed in the mountains, of course, and I surrendered myself to the English military police. Followed by my capture. For three months I didn't even have enough water to drink. I could only dream of washing myself. Then they moved us to Africa. It was a bit more lively there, we did our own cooking."
"What would I want? That there be humans here! Nowadays there are no humans in the world. People are without personalitites. Who doesn't have a personality, isn't capable of feeling shame. People like that, without a personality, we need to rid our society of."
"So we came to England and there they divided us into squads. I ended up in the MRU - the motorised reconnaisance unit. At first we burned down like paper, at Dunkirk. After two hours we had lost two tanks courtesy of our commander. Then they established a third tank battalion and we acted as instructors. And when something was going on at Dunkirk and they needed reinforcements, then a car drove up with sirens blaring, and we packed our things and within an hour they dumped us off at the battlefront."
"There was a lot of Poles in the army. And they were at the landings. We weren't. We arrived a few days after the landings, we headed straight for Dunkirk and remained there right up to the end. We didn't actually enter Dunkirk, because the Germans surrendered on the 10th of May under the condition that no Czechs or Frenchmen enter Dunkirk. They were afraid of a massacre, because when the Germans caught a Frenchman, he was later found with his eyes gouged. No one knew whether they did that before or after they killed him. The same counted for Czechs: whoever they caught obviously didn't survive and we found them with empty sockets every time."
"In Algeria the Poles there were drafting into the Polish army. They said that Silesia would belong to Poland and that there is no Czech army in England. But I knew that there was one there, because as a German soldier I had befriended a Czech family and I had listened to London with them. Beneš had said: 'Sign up to the Czech army, wherever you are,' so I knew that the Czech army did exist in England, and so I wasn't fooled by them."
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What would I want to say to the next generations? That they be humans! Nowadays there are no humans in the world People are without personalitites Who doesn’t have a personality, isn’t capable of feeling shame People like that, without a personality, we need to rid our society of
Josef Kaluža was born on the 10th of January 1923 in Karviné, in an area that was hit by the Polish and later German drafting. At the beginning of the war he was sent to join the Werhmacht and was stationed in Italy. He spent three months in a prison camp, from whence he was transfered to Algeria. He joined the Czechoslovak Army in England, where he was a member of the motorised reconnaisance unit. He was a tank battalion instructor. In 1944 he fought at Dunkirk, where he remained till the end of the war. He was awarded the War Cross (Válečný kříž), 1st, 2nd and 3rd degree. After the war worked as a driver, excavator and crane driver.