Jiří Kotlový

* 1927  †︎ 2024

  • “I remember going to town during the war. The street was a terrible mess, some were returning and others were coming. You don't have to believe it, but it's a fact - there was a green, iron disk lying there, I took it, then I thought of something, I brought it to the town hall. The frightened ones said: 'Jesus, put it down, it's a mine.' That was the end of the war. I stayed there for a while before returning to Zlín. Another thing, we as boys were looking for some bullets or a rifle to try shooting. We found such a wooden box. When I went to the basic military service, we tried to open it up. When I was in the military service as an army engineer, I found out that we were trying to open an anti-tank wooden mine."

  • "Then the Russians came through. We were all scared because they were known to take what they liked. We only lost our bike, but otherwise we lived in a basement during the time that Ivanovice was threatened or liberated. We had a huge cellar, the veterinary institute had a huge consumption of potatoes, there were thirty horses and ten cows and lots of pigs, guinea pigs and mice for experiments. So, we were in the cellar for three days. The fight was still going on, apparently somehow the opponents tactically remained standing and that day, those three days, we lived in the basement. When my father came, he was a Ukrainian, they also invited him twice to the town hall and investigated him to see if he was a collaborator. We were very afraid then. We didn't know what could happen to him as a Ukrainian. There were about seven Ukrainians in Ivanovice, one of them also worked there, his son was my friend, Jarda Krejčí. So, dad came and said they were looking for girls. We had two girls there, my sister and the neighbor's sister, they were covered with beetroots and potatoes."

  • "There [in Zlín] Dr. Krejčí founded... in the 1940s he started writing: 'Come and play rugby,' for fighters and for those who are not afraid of getting hurt. He was the founder of rugby in Zlín, I already went there to him with my best friend Mirek Fröhlich, with whom we then formed [an inseparable couple]. As they say, the kind of fools who started to spread our sport by doing various events, we put up articles: 'Come and play rugby, we train there and then,' so people would come to play. It was a pleasant time, we worked and then went to practice, not on the football field, but outside, because rugby was a completely unknown sport for Czechoslovakia. There were articles with American rugby, which we also learned that we were going to play American rugby, because there was an illustration of the squishy ball with which it is played. So, we clarified that it is American rugby, which is played all over the world. Mirek Fröhlich and I practically yielded to the taste of the founder, our teacher, Dr. Krejčí. He worked at Baťa as a lawyer and drove us crazy with those newspaper articles. We had training sessions, of course outside the football field, in rugby they form such... they are called mills, eight players, one miller who throws the ball into the mill, the attackers run in a dart. However, at that time Emil Zátopek was also running at the SK Baťa stadium, when the boys were passing and he was running around, so they threw the ball to him too and he threw it back to them. So, I have a nice memory of Emil Zátopek."

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    Zlín, 25.06.2022

    duration: 01:54:55
    media recorded in project Stories of the region - Central Moravia
  • 2

    Zlín, 15.04.2023

    duration: 01:08:36
    media recorded in project Stories of the region - Central Moravia
Full recordings are available only for logged users.

Rugby became a lifelong love

Jiří Kotlový in 1942
Jiří Kotlový in 1942
photo: archive of the witness

Jiří Kotlový was born on April 22, 1927 in Ivanovice na Hané as the younger of two children to parents Ludvík and Klementina Kotlovi. His father Ludvík Kotlowyj came from Ukraine. He fought in the First World War, after which he stayed in Czechoslovakia. His parents met in Ivanovice, where they both worked at the state veterinary institute. After the wedding, they started using the czech version of the surname Kotlový/Kotlová. In 1942, Jiří entered the Baťa Labor School in Zlín, where he trained to be a mechanical fitter. He then worked at Baťá factory for most of his life. In 1944, he was at the founding of the rugby club in Zlín. He played actively until the age of 35, then coached the young and men in Gottwald. In the eighties, he worked as a coach of the Czechoslovak national team. As a passionate philatelist, he collected rugby-themed postage stamps and postal items. Thanks to his philatelic contacts, he also managed to arrange several friendly matches with players from other countries. He is the recipient of the FIRA (Fédération Internationale de Rugby Amateur) bronze badge for services to rugby. He and his wife Helena raised two children Jiří and Jana. He is the author of the publications Rugby Zlín 1944–1994 and Povídání o rugby. In 2023, at the time of filming, he lived in Zlín. He died on June 7, 2024.