Major General Rudolf Krzák

* 1914  †︎ 2004

  • “The soldiers were trained in training groups of the foreign legion in the Sahara desert but we didn’t go there as we were designated for the colonial army. We went there and back again. It took a while – health checks and the like. We didn’t do any military training in Africa.”

  • “The occupation was in 1939 but by then I had already been appointed to the 1st infantry regiment in Budweis and that’s where the German occupation caught me. From the very beginning I didn’t care about any retraining or employment. My only thought was that I couldn’t walk the same earth as those German boots that had overrun our country.”

  • “Suddenly they mobilized us which meant that they discarded the horse-drawn carriages and gave us fifty automobiles. I was the commander in charge of the people which meant that I was only the organizational commander. I wasn’t too happy about this because I was eager for fighting. I wanted to distinguish myself as a young officer, to have merit and to have combat successes.”

  • “The MS Chrobry which was a new Polish vessel brought us to France. In France, we were divided into professional officers (something over four hundred men) and reservists. We went to Saint Germain to the artillery garrison in Paris because we had to wait for a bill to be passed by the French parliament, which allowed non-French officers to serve in the colonial army.”

  • “They cared for us all the time. Of course, it was no luxury, but those who didn’t drink, smoke and play cards were able to save some money and to have a decent life.”

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    Poděbrady, 09.12.2002

    duration: 02:14:48
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
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I couldn’t walk the same earth as those German boots that had overrun our country

Rudolf Krzák 1942
Rudolf Krzák 1942
photo: 1942

Rudolf Krzák was born on April 6, 1914, in Bernartice nearby Milevsko. After his school leaving exam he attended a higher school for officers in reserve in Budweis. After the occupation of Czechoslovakia he organized an escape to Poland in June 1939. From there he managed to get to France where he briefly served with the 1st regiment of the French foreign legion. After the fall of France he went to Britain, where he stood at the inception of the creation of elite airborne units as, for example, Anthropoid. In September 1944 he participated in the airborne invasion Silica-South in Italy. After his return to England he was sent to Slovakia to general Svoboda’s army. In 1945 he returned to Czechoslovakia as the commander of the 1st Czechoslovak army corps. His entire family was murdered by the Gestapo on July 3, 1942. He served in the army in the rank of a lieutenant colonel till 1949. He was the founder of the Czechoslovak paratroops. In 1950 he was sentenced to nine years of imprisonment for treason by the Communist regime. He was rehabilitated after 1989 and promoted to the rank of general. In the nineties he was gathering documents with the aim to preserve the memory of the legionaries from the First World War. He died on April 22, 2004 in Poděbrady.