* 1925 †︎ unknown
Czech minority in the former USSR
, Forced labour during the WW2
, National minorities
, Prisoner of War/ P.O.W
, Re-emigration of Czechs after 1945
, Red Army soldier
, Soldier of the Soviet Army
, Veteran of WW2, eastern front
, Victim of Stalinist persecution in Ukraine
, Volhynian Czechs
, Western Ukrainian lands within Poland 1919–1939
, Witnesses of local events connected to WWII
"And he [brother Vladimir] was there until... 1945, at the end, they liberated them. He was already at home so he went through all that horror in some way. Because Stalin... when the soldiers surrendered to the Germans, they were punished. He was scared that they would go after him. So he packed his stuff and went to Ussuri, beyond the Baikal Lake. So there, if he's still alive... After the Velvet Revolution, not at all, before that, we'd write to each other from time to time."
"It was in the autumn, I was almost frozen to the ground. I couldn't even move so I played dead. And only when it got dark, I could get out of there. It had to be a sniper, not a regular soldier. I had a radio station on my back and it was full of holes, it got hit three or four times."
"We changed one division, the other was in the rear. In that zemlyanka, there were eleven of us, the entire squad. It was cold and I was just going outside. I wasn't entirely out and the Germans launched a grenade which hit the shelter. It was made of a handful of logs. I don't remember how the grenade flew through the air. It pushed me outside and then everyone was done with."
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Aimed at by German sniper for seven hours
František Matějovský was born on the 20th of April of 1925 in Česká Krošna near Zhytomyr in Volhynia, in an area which was a part of Soviet Ukraine between the wars. In 1933, his father died, his mother followed suit three years later. The witness and his two siblings, Vladimir and Marie, were raised by their grandmother. František attended the local Czech language school and later, he apprenticed as a cooper in the Zhytomyr brewery. When the Nazis occupied Ukraine, his brother Vladimir was sent to Germany as forced labourer. Meantime in Zhytomyr, František witnessed deportations and mass executions of Jews. In 1943, he ran away to the Northeast of the country to Khark’iv where he was enlisted to the Red Army. He participated in the fights around Narva where he was hit by a grenade which left him with permanently damaged hearing. After he recovered, he returned to the front and the end of war caught him in vicinity of Berlin. After the war, he was repatriated to Czechoslovakia and from 1947 on, he lived in the North Bohemian Čížkovice where he soon after married. His brother Vladimír returned to Ukraine for a short time after liberation. At the time of recording (2005), the witness lived in Čížkovice.