JUDr. Mojmír Konečný

* 1919  †︎ 2016

  • “When I came back, I had to show up at the department that was vetting the ‘cadre’ background of the ministry’s staff. I was surrounded by youngsters. These were the new working-class cadres that had recently come to the ministry. They enthusiastically told me: ‘Comrade, tell us about China. We now have China on our side as well and India will surely follow her soon. In a short time, our banner will be flying high there as well’. To which I replied: ‘You know, it’s not quite as simple as that with China. It’s one of the poorest countries on the planet. Before it advances to a certain level, it’ll take a bit of time. At least ten five-year plans’. This was the turning point. They wrote me off. Together with the old cadres, I was told to voluntarily leave the ministry, after about a year that I had spent in the very unpleasant company of the new working-class cadres there. I went to work to a factory.”

  • “I came back to Prague and signed up for studying law. It was a turbulent time and thus we could only enroll later but soon enough I would find myself studying for the first big exam. One day, when I was going to the faculty to enroll for the exam, I passed the Faculty of Philosophy and saw armed SS troops there. The law faculty looked suspicious at first sight. I read an announcement that all universities are being closed down for three years and the names of 9 people who had been executed. I have to confess that my first reaction to this was: ‘Great, I don’t have to study no more’.”

  • “I spent the last 16 years of my career at the trade department of the French embassy. It was a very comfortable position. I liaised with all the ministries and the central monopoly office. I would also receive French ministers visiting Czechoslovakia. When they came to Czechoslovakia, I would tour the country with them, most often taking them to Slušovice. We would also take care of French businessmen coming to Czechoslovakia. That was our role, to put these people in touch with the Czechoslovak companies.”

  • “As you’ve said yourself, this resistance organization was composed of Scouts, but it progressively snowballed to become a much greater organization. I also have to add that it was the only resistance organization that had not been discovered by the Germans. It had its own system of concealment. For instance, its members would only two other members and nobody else. It was my contribution, for example, that I came across a German probing of the sewage system of the Charles Bridge. The Germans wanted to blow it up. I immediately reported my findings and was congratulated for it. In this way, the Germans could be prevented from realizing their intention.”

  • “The negotiations of the Czech national council, headed by professor Pražák, and the German military commander Toussaint, who was looking for his son all over Prague. However, there were actually two German armies in Prague – the Wehrmacht and the SS. The Czech national council was scared of negotiating with the SS as the SS was rather ruthless, shooting everyone who dared to negotiate for surrender. As it was so dangerous, the council asked the International Red Cross to negotiate on its behalf. They turned to Mr. Motodor for help. As a delegate of the Red Cross, he was not in a position to do this. Thus he authorized me and two fellow young people to take charge of the negotiations. The reason why he turned to me was that I spoke brilliant German. The others didn’t. We were taken to the SS command that had found its seat at the law faculty in a truck that was designated with a red cross. In spite of this, we were shot at. Then, we were taken to their commanding officers and on a map of Prague, we determined the routes to be taken by the retreating German troops. They were to take the Plzeňská ulice Street and the Karlovarská ulice Street as they naturally wanted to surrender to the Americans. These streets were to be cleared of any barricades so that they could leave freely. They were allowed to take their light guns but had to leave all heavy arms behind. This is what later happened. They set out in the morning and moved out of the city. However, in the end, their evacuation was blocked by the Soviets.”

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    Praha, 20.06.2013

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Jan Masaryk was the best boss I’ve ever had

Konecny Mojmir orez dobovy.jpg (historic)
JUDr. Mojmír Konečný
photo: foto sběrače a přefocení fotografie pamětníka

  Mojmír Konečný was born on November 26, 1919, in Prague. His father was an entrepreneur and a counsellor of the Chamber of Commerce and Trade. At the age of 15, he was granted a scholarship and travelled to Nîmes to attend a local lyceum. After his return to Prague, he began his law studies at the Charles University. However, as all universities were shut down in 1939, he was only able to complete his studies of law after the war. He gained his first professional experiences in the law firm of Jiří Křížek and subsequently in the main office of the trade association. In the course of the war, he got involved in the resistance activities of the intelligence brigade. In May 1945, he took part in the fights for the liberation of the Czech Radio. As an interpreter, he was helpful in the negotiations of the Czech national council and the German military command on the terms of the withdrawal of German troops from Prague. He began his service with the foreign ministry while he was still finishing his law studies (he graduated on July 13, 1946). He worked at the intelligence section of the ministry. Thanks to his outstanding linguistic capabilities, he briefly worked in the cabinet of the minister of foreign affairs, Jan Masaryk. Since 1948, he worked at the Czechoslovak embassy in Nanking. Being a passionate traveler, he toured a number of countries, including China, the Philippines, India and Thailand. After Czechoslovakia recognized Mao Zedong’s communist government in 1949, the incumbent president of China, Chiang Kai-shek, the Czechoslovak diplomats were ordered to leave the country and Mojmír Konečný returned to Czechoslovakia. He then worked for six months as a lathe operator. In parallel with his job, he graduated from the Czech Technical University, in the field of heavy engineering. Afterwards, he was hired by the company ČKD Sokolovo as an expert in arbitration law. After five years, he switched to the Association of producers cooperatives where he was placed in the position of a patent law expert. In 1968, he took part in a six-month stipend program in Paris and after his return, he took up a position at the trade and commerce department of the French embassy in Prague. He retired in 1986. He was in charge of the Jan Masaryk foundation and actively promoted the publishing of Masaryk’s complete works and a collection of his letters. He would also push for the placement of a commemorative plaque at the Černínský palác palace, the seat of the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs. However, his efforts to his end have been in vain. Mr. Mojmír Konečný passed away on May the 29th, 2016