* 1925 †︎ 2018
“From Kinských Garden up to Na Hřebenkách, there were piles of dead German soldiers. A transport was marching along, some Soviets drove by and mowed them down with a machine gun. Then there were the shaved women collaborators, who were chased and beaten. On Plzeňská Street people were bringing granite setts and putting them back, paving the street. Those were appalling moments that were never talked about.”
“The revolt ended on the ninth of May, towards the end of May we, members of the Intelligence Brigade, demobilised; in June we signed up at the former SS barracks in [Prague-]Nusle. They formed a battalion out of us and sent us first to Ústí nad Labem. There we experienced the beginnings of the pogroms: it was normal that when the boys went with the flag and someone on the pavement didn’t take off his hat, the second row went and beat him up. The second third day they transferred us from Ústí to Carlsbad, so we weren’t there during the big pogroms when they threw Germans from the bridge. Carlsbad was plundered, burnt out. Not a single house was standing in the area around the Upper Station, everything was bombed out. From Carlsbad we marched to Chodov, near Carlsbad, where there was a porcelain factory. There we could spend our Protectorate money, which was already invalid by then, and buy porcelain. My only gain from the war was that I brought my mum a tea set.”
“They sent me to the Sprengkommando SS in Bílek near Chotěboř, there they trained me how to defuse unexploded bombs. I didn’t learn anything, the only thing I remember from back then is: ‘Nach der Sprengung nie aus der Deckung.’ – ‘After the explosion, never leave the cover.’ We were trained by real SS men, presumably they were avoiding active service at the front. For instance, one of them threw a grenade on the ground, expecting to give us a fright - of course, we didn’t know what was going on. Well, they had their fun with us. I was perhaps the only Czech there, otherwise there were Sudetens there, who kept cutting themselves slices of lard. I watched with my tongue lolling out because I hadn’t seen lard for years. When I returned to my factory I was on file as the factory’s anti-air defence specialist and I was responsible for the air shelters, which was perfect for taking a slack.”
Ústřední vojenská nemocnice, 09.10.2013
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“There was something of a youthful romance to it.”
Ivan Kvasnička was born on the 10th of December 1925 in Prague. His father was a teacher, member of parliament, and later a senator for the Czechoslovak National Democracy, during the occupation he headed the Czechoslovak Business Academy on Resslova Street. In 1942 derogatory slogans aimed at the Reich were found on the walls of the grammar school that Ivan attended, and he and his whole class were expelled and banned from studying at any secondary school. Ivan and several of his classmates managed to finish their graduation exams at the Academic Grammar School. There they also joined the Intelligence Brigade resistance group in 1943. He took part in the Prague Revolt, after the liberation he and other former resistance fighters were sent into the Sudetes to serve in the Revolutionary Guards. Ivan Kvasnička studied medicine and worked as a doctor.