Václav Lachout

* 1927  

  • “I was going along Wenceslaw Square with the others, waving the grenade about me, and then some boys from the Intelligence Brigade came running up. Of course, Joey (Josef Just) yakked the most on how it wasn’t possible, and so we voted straight away. We all voted Joey.” (Q: “That was on the street?”) “Well of course, they drove off in the car and we went to Bartholomew Street by foot.” (Q: “You were sure, when you agreed that with them, that you’d go there?”) “We didn’t agree anything with them. We allowed them into the vote, but straight away those that were there said that it wasn’t possible and so on, that we have to send a delegation of fighters, and so that’s how I got there.”

  • “There in front of the Bulgarian, to the side over here was the railway headquarters, and there were a number of SS-men there. They were standing outside when we walked past them. I was in the uniform of Technische Nothilfe, and he was dressed in casuals. We were talking, but do understand that we hadn’t slept the two weeks previous. We passed some shops, and then we heard gunfire, so we reckoned: Could they have a barricade there? Who’re they shooting at? And the SS-men from around the corner started out with subs. We were just the two of us, so we started to run. We ran up top, and our boys were there.”

  • “According to my information, they held the first anti-German demonstration of the Protectorate there, and it was organised by the leaders of Scout troops. But those were all leaders around the age of sixteen to seventeen years. What it was, was that on Sunday, as they were returning from a trip, they met up and went to the square, where a German military band was playing. That was a custom. Czechs were passing by. We came along - drums, trumpets and the Czechoslovak flag. We couldn’t go across, and so we started to go around and, let’s say, to sing. I’d say more to holler. And we drowned out the music. The thing was that several hundred people came away from the pavements to join us, and to march behind the Czechoslovak flag all across the square.”

  • “Whenever I was returning, I made use of the fact that there were lots of boys coming back on vacation on the Linz-České Budějovice-Tábor-Prague express, who had been called to forced labour in Upper Austria. And they all spilled out onto the station in Prague, say, several hundred of them, and they had to give up on the inspections, because they all hoisted their suit-cases onto their shoulders, and when they were told: ‘Come here to be inspected,’ they answered to go to hell. There were two Germans there, four policemen and one from economic control. What could they do against such a mass of people coming against them? So it was, in my opinion, possible to carry anything through there without danger.”

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    U pamětníka, Praha, 10.10.2007

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    duration: 04:11:04
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
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The first anti-German demonstration of Scouts in the Protectorate was organised by sixteen-year-old boys.

Václav Lachout
Václav Lachout

Václav Lachout was born in 1927 in České Budějovice. His grandfather was imprisoned for seditious activity during the Austro-Hungarian Empire, his father deserted from the army during World War I and helped other people during World War II thanks to a good position in the unions - he was arrested in 1944 and taken to Terezín. Václav Lachout became a Scout in České Budějovice, and he took part in his first anti-German activity with his troop. First of all they, as a symbolic act, they stood guard at the Black Tower, then they sang so loudly as to drown out the German band playing on the square. This event did, to a certain extent, forecast Mr Lachouta’s future fate. The family subsequently moved to Prague, where Václav helped renew the Scouting Movement. He became a member of the 45th Troop. He then decided to leave with several older Scouts-Rovers to join the resistance group Vanguard (Předvoj). A large part of Vanguard was arrested, and so Václav Lachout moved on to the resistance group Fist (Pěst). Mr Lachout mainly carried weapons from South Bohemia and distributed instructions on how to use military equipment. He was active in the Prague Revolt at the end of the war. The fiercest fighting he took part in was with his comrades in arms on Trench Street (Na Příkopě) and by the Estates Theatre (Stavovské divadlo). He was also a member of the delegation that took part in the meeting of the captains and commanders of the Prague Revolt. After the war, he graduated from secondary school and started studies at the Faculty of Law (Charles University). In June 1945 he was accused of spying for the US. He managed to clear himself of this insubstantianted accusation with help from his resistance friends. After the communists accession to power, several of his colleagues from Vanguard got into trouble with the regime, and so paradoxically, Mr Lachout decided to enter the lion’s den, that is the USSR. He studied in Saint Petersburg. After returning to Czechoslovakia he employed himself with civil law and arbitrations. When he became bored with the legal profession, he worked in information technology. He still interests himself very much with the Protectorate period and with communicating with other witnesses.