Emil Kintzl

* 1934  

  • “We concluded our activity in the Boy Scout with the last camp in the summer of 1948 before the Communists abolished the organization. It was about 200 camps in the Šumava region. In the morning, we were burning wood and collecting forest berries. In the afternoon, we had our Boy Scout entertainment. We stayed in tents at Vysoké Lávky nearby Scherlův mlýn. There still stood the abandoned houses of the Germans who had been driven out just three years earlier. We sometimes entered the former German homes and looked what was left inside. When we found a bed we took it out and slept in it comfortably. We had our lookouts and in the morning we could see that some Germans were still coming back to their former homes to collect their belongings that they had left behind. They had hidden it and now they were taking it with them across the border. The abandoned cattle were dispersed across the woods and meadows because the Communist comrades apparently thought that the cows will take care of themselves. The cattle had enough grass to feed on but no one would milk them so they howled in pain, the sound was terrible. It was a strange experience to sit in the lookout, guard the camp, to listen to the howls of the cows and watch the Germans coming to their old homes. That was a rather hard challenge even for the three eagle feather test”

  • “Here, it was painted and covered with posters… A friend of mine, Valášek, who was the chief of the local garrison, did the right thing. He didn’t let the Russians drive into the town and assigned them the military training grounds in Cikánka.”

  • “We then frequently drove to Sušice. I remember that on 15 March 1939 we watched the arrival of the German Wehrmacht with my uncle Ondřej. It was on a snowy day and these were very sad moments that made me hate everything that’s German since my youth. Because the Germans did something terrible to us. This was particularly strongly felt in the border areas like Sušice. The Protectorate border started right behind Sušice and from there it was the Sudetenland. Another thing I remember is that on 28 October 1939, me and my dad walked around Prague and my dad had a tricolor pinned to his jacket. The Germans tore it off his jacket and gave him a couple of slaps.”

  • “The true liberation for us was when the Americans bombed the railway station in Klatovy in April 1945. The trains stopped rolling and we had the best and longest holidays in my life. I must not forget about the ‘boilers’ – it was American fighter pilots whose mission it was to blow up trains in order to wreak chaos on the railway. So they would prevent the Germans from fleeing and from shipping in weapons and ammunition. Well and these guys were cool. They flew above the train and the engine driver knew what he had to do. They then waited till the passengers got out of the train and into a safe distance and then they bombed the train. Boom, boom, boom… When they saw that white steam is coming out of the boiler, the job was done and we waited for the next train to come and went home. But since that April, we had beautiful holidays.”

  • “The best thing happened on 6 May 1945 when the American troops came to Sušice. It was the fourth armored division of General Hoge under the command of General Patton. For boys like us, this was something extraordinary. My dad wasn’t sure what was going to happen in Sušice and since we were very restless lads, he locked us up in the cellar. But when we heard the tanks rolling, we couldn’t wait any longer and we slipped through the little cellar window. We were only in our t-shirts and we were barefoot – that was the usual outfit boys used to wear back then in the summer. We were so proud to be the first ones in Sušice who came to salute the American soldiers on the main square.”

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    V Kašperských Horách, 21.11.2009

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    duration: 02:11:52
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
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The kids have not once complained about their dad. They’ve always said: We’re glad they didn’t get you on your knees

Kintzl_portret_1.jpg (historic)
Emil Kintzl
photo: Archiv pamětníka (dobová), Jan Kotrbáček (současná)

Emil Kintzl was born on 23 February 1934 in Prague, Nusle. After the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia in 1939 his family moved to Sušice. Here, he spent a large part of his childhood and experienced a number of war-related adventures. In May 1945, he witnessed the liberation of Sušice by the U.S. Army and this experience has deeply influenced him. After the war he became an avid Boy Scout and during the holidays of 1948 he participated in the last summer camp before the Boy Scouts were abolished. The last summer camp took place in dramatic circumstances in the environment of former German villages and settlements whose inhabitants had been driven out just a couple of years before. He witnessed some of the Boy Scout chiefs crossing the state border and leaving the republic right after the end of the camp. He also recalls the persecution of Sokol officials, small businessmen and farmers who refused to join the collective farm system. He also remembers the onset of the Communist Union of Youth, which he never entered. After graduation he started to study geometry but the arrogance of the young members of the Union and the tainted relationships in general at the university so disgusted him that he left the studies and made a living by delivering coal. An important moment in his life was the encounter with a favorite professor, who persuaded him to become a teacher as well. He became a teacher at a school in Hartmanice while studying remotely in Pilsen. He remembers the distinctive local community of Romanian Slovaks and Ukrainians. After returning from military service he found his place at the school occupied. He therefore went to teach to Srní and then to Kašperské Hory. He remembers the brutal devastation of the region, the destruction of entire villages located in the former military zone and their subsequent leveling with the ground, the looting and destruction of churches, chapels and cemeteries. In August 1968, he became involved in a tragicomic situation when - after visiting the German town of Zittau - he found himself in German internment for a week (as a result of the occupation of Czechoslovakia by Warsaw Pact armies and the closing down of borders). His continuous conflict with the regime resulted in his being fired from the school in 1975. He then spent fourteen years in the boiler room of a local company as a stoker, and his children were prevented from studying. He remains faithful to Kašperské hory, as well as to his lifelong hobbies - scouting, hiking, sports and especially skiing. He has developed an interest in the history of the region and is the author of two books on this topic.