Mgr. Soňa Klímová - Janečková

* 1959

  • Russian tanks were supposed to be coming through there from Germany to Prague. So we stood up, there were, let´s say, few dozens of us with banners and flags and we were standimg across there at that crossroad where they were supposed to turn [on the way] from Germany and go to Prague. The tanks were coming and we were singing our national anthem. A lady said, 'Send that little girl to the front, so she can see it all clearly, so she can remember the terrible event, the horror we're going through now.' So they pushed me all the way at the front, so I could see the tanks. They were coming straight towards us and they stopped for a while and we kept singing the national anthem. After long seconds, they set off in a different direction. They were driving away, they didn't run over us, and on the last tank there was our bloodstained flag and some young guy was holding it there with the last of his strength. It was a terrible experience. So I remember the '68 and I know very well what betrayal is from friends who at any rate pretended to be friends."

  • "Hitler was trying to hasten this as much as possible, because he knew that the Janeček father and son had a new arms patent on the drawing board that could enable Hitler to dominate Europe very quickly and very easily. It was a so-called small conical adapter and it was as simple as putting it on a rifle and the bullet gained such kinetic energy that it penetrated the armour of a tank. It was in the stsge of research, experiments so far, but nevertheless the patent was there and Hitler was specially interested in it. So when the Germans were advancing on Prague, my grandfather rolled up all the plans and managed to send it out in a rather complicated way with the help of [George] William Patchett and the British Embassy in England. In fact, he was active there through the war under the code name Little John and even had it announced that he had died in a car accident to protect his family here in the republic so that the Germans wouldn't hurt them. However, in the south of England and the west of England amongst the dunes he was perfecting the invention and testing it out there to see how it worked. And indeed, in the end, the conical adapter was perfected there to the point where it could be used in practice, and all those North African victories against Rommel, for example, were successful due to this adapter."

  • "For example, I went to take an exam and I had a silver half dollar with Kennedy on my neck. I was proud of it. I got it from my mum´s friend who came back from America and brought her a present. So I loved wearing that silver half dollar because it was beautiful. I went to the exam with it. Comrade examiner looked at me strangely and said: 'Comrade Janečková, you are not serious. You failed the exam today. Come back next time and dress properly, not with that American stupid thing you have on your neck.' So such little snags."

  • "By the way, the chateau ended up awfully, because there were huge collections of weapons and daily utensils of the North African kingdoms and Persian weapons and Persian equipment, and the Náprstek Museum managed to save some of it, but mostly people stole it or it was taken to the Central Committee of the Communist Party as gifts for foreign delegations. The carpets, those were cut to pieces by the national administrators, the communists, so that there would be a piece for everyone. So it must have been something absolutely horrible."

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    Hradec Králové, 11.07.2023

    duration: 01:39:45
    media recorded in project Příběhy regionu - HRK REG ED
Full recordings are available only for logged users.

I grew up knowing we had owned a chateau and a factory, and we have nothing

Photo from the recording in the Post Bellum studio in Hradec Králové on 11 July 2023
Photo from the recording in the Post Bellum studio in Hradec Králové on 11 July 2023
photo: Post Bellum

Sonia Janečková Klímová was born in Rychnov nad Kněžnou on 21 September 1959. She comes from the well-known business Janeček family. Her great-grandfather František Janeček became famous for his activities in the electrical engineering and arms production. Grandfather František Karel Janeček followed in his father’s footsteps. He founded the production of motorcycles and cars in the eastern Bohemia in the village of Kvasiny under the JAWA make. He is the inventor of the conical attachment, which was used by the Allied armies in the fight against Germany in World War II. The communist regime completely expropriated all the family’s property. Her dad was not even allowed to take the state exams at the Czech Technical University. He managed to build a second career and graduated from the conservatory in violin. He became a renowned violinist and teacher. Because of her background, the witness faced difficulties to be admitted to secondary school and university. Soňa Janečková - Klímová graduated from a secondary school in Rychnov nad Kněžnou and then from the Faculty of Education in Hradec Králové. She taught Czech to foreign students at the Institute of Language and Preparatory Studies at Charles University. In 1988 she got married. She has two children, son Daniel and daughter Dominika. In 1992, the family was given back the chateau in Kvasiny and forests in the Orlické Mountains. Since 1992 she has been intensively involved in the renovation of the Kvasiny Chateau. She managed to reconstruct the dilapidated chateau and renew its surroundings. Various cultural and social events were held at the chateau and a permanent exhibition was created. In 2023 she was developping the family forestry business and living in Kvasiny.