Eduard Marek

* 1917  †︎ 2022

  • “I was summoned, there was a civilian asking for me, they said. He told me, “In a fortnight you’ll be speaking in the Wenceslas Square. What do you say to that?” I told him, “What should I be doing there?” “You have deserved it, you’ll be released.” I say, “I have heard so much about my release, no one does me any harm here, I don’t miss anything here.” I wasn’t sure this was not just a provocation. He says, “Actually, I am the chief attorney in Karlovy Vary. The committee has decided, you deserve it for your honest work. You have served your time, here is your recommendation that you have worked well.” So I was released shortly.”

  • When they found it, they gave it to the educator. Everything they found they brought into his office and laid on his table. Guys approached me, “Look, the took our Bible. And you know this guy Šámal.” I say, “I do, what did they take, your Bible? But it isn’t mine. If it were mine, he would return it to me.” “So be it yours, we give it to you. It is your Bible, go for it.” I went to his office. “When do we paint the other room? And how are you? Why don’t you call sometimes. Come and talk.” Sometimes I used to tell him jokes about policemen. And I say, “Mr Šámal, they took the Bible from us.” “What is it?” I say, “I say, it is a kind of prayers that people say in church.” “And you pray?” I say, “Ehm”. “And you pray only now when you are arrested? You didn’t pray before”. I say, “I used to pray before but you too will pray if you get arrested.” I don’t know whether he got it or just took it as a joke. He didn’t respond to it, in fact. “Look, here it is, the book, right on the top. It’s yours so take it. And hide it under your pillow. And don’t meet over it anywhere, just lend it one to another!” And educator who was to seize it.

  • “This was a fortnight. Correction was a fortnight, bread and butter, one day in three half of food ration, this was the right of the camp commander to order. And after the fortnight, to improve it, he made one more shed, surrounded with wire, including windows. And there he put those he couldn’t put in correction. He left them there. I was in the selection plant and when you are in a selection plant, you need milk – it works as an antidote, so my fellows brought me the milk secretly. Always secretly, we were not afraid of the wires, they just pricked too much. They broke through, gave me the milk, and then repaired the wires. I reported in the sorting room, “I cannot do it any more, my head is dizzy. I have no milk. I was put from the correction into the punishment house.” “The plant manager will come here so you tell him.” “This was the plant engineer, his name was Odikase, a Georgian, of NKVD, naturally. “So you tell him.” “I told him I couldn’t work.” “I’ll see to it” he said and left. When I arrived in the camp the officer called me: “You complained about me?” I say, “No, I didn’t, he asked me and I just said I needed milk.” “Right, so you complained. And I’ll let you go when I want.” And I say, “Right, when you want.” But the next day I was out. They were afraid of them, the Russians were in total control there.”

  • „When Christmas day was coming near, camp guards supposed we would meet each other in barracks after the work shift. So they made a search. Usually a lot of snow laid all around on the Christmas day. The guards forced us outside on a platform. Around 600 prisoners were detained in the labor camp Svatopluk. Prisoners in the first two rows had to strip themselves naked and the guards started to search their cloths for weapons, alcohol, religious books or forbidden literature. Then the search of the next two rows had followed. Meanwhile other guards occupied barracks, cut open straw mattresses if something was hidden inside etc. Such search had repeatedly occurred before every Christmas.”

  • “In camp Marianska a certain Vasicek was in charge, former head waiter from Pilsner, later he was promoted to first lieutenant rank. To encounter him meant 14 days in a correction unit. The correction unit comprised from a building with several rooms without beds, just concrete floor. No heating of course. We were put inside usually in winter. In such case we got canvas clothes to worsen the cold and a blanket for sleeping. Under such circumstances man had to exercise all night not to freeze. Vasicek could put inside anyone for 14 days according his liking: for two days just bread and water, the third day half ration. I happened to get inside three times. On one occasion I was punished for helping a friend. We were going to work when one friend fainted. We put him on a stretcher and carried him to a first-aid station. When we had been returning from work I have heard a loudspeaker announcement: convict 07844 Marek Eduard immediately report himself to chief of the camp! It was not allowed to go inside his barrack. Everybody had to wait outside until Vasicek called you in. Vasicek let you to stand there in front of the doors two or three hours: ‘What are you doing here?’ – ‘I was ordered to wait here.’ – ‘What work shift are you assigned to?’ – ‘Night one.’ – ‘So come back after your work shift,’ he ordered me to maltreat me more. Then he called me again: ‘So you are a merciful Samaritan!? You have carried your friend to the first-aid station.’ – ‘It is quite normal to help a friend.’ – ‘He went on hunger strike, you should let him go.’ – ‘I didn’t know that, I did nothing wrong.’ But Vasicek continued that someone was criticizing him at first-aid station, which was forbidden. I defended myself I had said nothing, but he answered: ‘The others did and you should report them. I am punishing you with correction.’ So I got 14 days.”

  • „During the mobilization in 1938 I dwelt in Hradec Kralove. I served as a military messenger there. Overall mood was perfect. When you are 20 years old you are enthusiastic. We couldn’t imagine what machinery Germans had at their disposal. We thought everything would take just few months. We were making jokes: See you soon on Hitlerplatz in Berlin. What was you reaction to the demobilization order? That was bad. We got control of a local armory and we wanted weapons. But our regiment commander told us: ‘Friends soldiers, you have to trust your commanders. We know what is right.’ He calmed the situation down. It was wild. In those days we had a slogan: Give us weapons, we are going after Germans! Now I know of course, it would mean destruction of our nation. Germans would exterminate us. I think the decision not to fight was right. We can compare it with Poland. War swept across their country several times. In our case it would be the same. When we saw our fighters in comparison with German bombers, the bombers proved to be faster. As pilots we knew we had no chance at all.”

  • “Even in the camp Marianska we illegally continued with scouting. We were able to organize an oath as well. Three underpants were swallowed by it. One white, one red and one blue underpants we used to sew a national flag. When we were marching from the camp Marianska to a pit Eve we hat to pass trough a woodlet. There we lit a small fire for oath ceremonial. As Scouts we met regularly in one barrack until my friend warned me that one of its residents is an informer. I decided to talk to him openly: ‘if you want to denounce us let’s do it now.’ But he replied he was a Scout and he would not turn us in. He admitted, he was informer, but he told me it was his private business. If he wanted to turn us in he would had done it already, he added. He told me, we could continue with meetings in his barrack. Therefore we were covered by the informer.”

  • „I was waiting for my trial in Pankrac jail. Every day we had a short walk in a yard of the jail. Ill prisoners were walking in an inner small circle, healthy prisoners in a big one around. Once I saw there Zavis Kalandra, communist already sentenced to death. I wanted to talk to him, because I wanted to know, how it was possible he was communist and he would be executed by communists. I was walking in another line, so I had tied my laces until he drew level with me. I asked him: ‘Are you a communist still, even if they have sentenced you to death?’ He replied: ‘I am a communist and I will be executed as communist. But I disagree with their behavior.’ Communism was like a religion for them.”

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    Praha, 12.06.2007

    (audio)
    duration: 01:50:10
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
  • 2

    Praha, 15.06.2010

    ()
    duration: 
    media recorded in project A Century of Boy Scouts
  • 3

    Praha, 14.06.2016

    (audio)
    duration: 01:54:54
Full recordings are available only for logged users.

“Even in the camp Marianska we illegally continued with scouting. We were able to organize an oath as well. Three underpants were swallowed by it. One white, one red and one blue underpants we used to sew a national flag.”

During military service
During military service
photo: archiv pametnika

Eduard Marek was born on 17th March in 1917 in Prague. From his very youth he became a member of The Scout movement. In 1936 he voluntarily enlisted military service. He joined the first air force regiment of TGM. After he left the army in 1939 Marek took over a family real estate agency. During the war Marek was supporting his Jewish friend F. Reimann. For this he was detained on 8th May in 1942 and sentenced for several months in prison. After his release Marek found a job at a BANANS Company in Prague and pursued illegal Scout movement. During Prague uprising in May 1945 he served as a military messenger. After the war Marek reopened his real estate agency, he led a Scout group as well. When communists seized power in January 1948, Marek with his friends established a resistance group called ‘Dr. E. Benes’. The Group was connected to French espionage. Unfortunately early in 1949 the group was betrayed. Marek was convicted to ten years imprisonment for anti-state activities in group of Richard Lederer. Marek’s wife was given an eleven-year sentence, their six years old son Eduard was put in a young home in Pocernice. At first Marek was placed to labor camp Svatopluk in Horni Slavkov. After two years he was moved to Bory and then to labor camp Marianska in Jachymov area, where he had been sorting uranium ore. Eduard Marek was released on parole in 1956 after seven years in prison. He again started to pursue an illegal Scout group. Eduard Marek died on January 23, 2022.