Ing. Vlastimír Medek

* 1926  †︎ 2020

  • “I was not able to study, because Germans closed universities during the war. I passed four grades of higher elementary school and I learnt the trade of a machine and construction fitter. I have an apprenticeship certificate for that. The labour office gave me a job placement to the Deutsche technische Hochschule into the Institute für Kohlmaschinen und Schwingungstechnik, where I measured pressures in the Remboldtmaschine in submarine engines. It was a research on how to replace oil with other types of fuel. Germans faced shortage of oil and they thus tried to develop a new fuel from black coal powder. I drilled holes into their machine and it got torn apart. The Gestapo investigated it, but the outcome was not sabotage: they only said that I was an idiot.”

  • “Since I had a driver’s licence, in September 1944 they transferred me to the military airfield Schwedenschanze in Brno as a driver. While there, I befriended German officer Rudi Pfeifer, a Vienna Czech, who was a social democrat by conviction. He was an Alarmverwalter, and he was responsible for alarms at the airport. He introduced me to another German officer, Karel Jabke from Alsace, who was in charge of an arms depot at the airport in Brno. A small armed group formed in my native village Nevojice, where nearly all the people were relatives, from members of Sokol, workers, People’s Party members and small farmers. Thanks to Karel Jabke I was able to supply them with grenades, panzerfausts and other weapons. I experienced a horrible situation while transporting weapons on one winter day. I had a wood-gas-powered car and the wheels were slipping on ice as I tried to drive uphill. I could not drive forward and so I tried to back up. Wehrmacht soldiers were digging trenches around the airport. They came to me and they helped me to push my car up. I was obviously all covered in sweat. It was a horrible moment – if they had taken a look inside... Fortunately it turned out very well. I have not come back to the airport afterwards. In March 1945 I and my friends eventually went to Nevojice as well and we went to the forests. We were cutting German telephone lines there, we attacked a train with weapons and we captured Germans. We cut down a tree in the forest and the German soldiers who were passing through had to stop. We had a machine gun and so there was shooting, and we hurt somebody. We simply did what we could.”

  • “My uncle Jakubčík worked as a forester in Tovačov. One day, American aviators whose airplane got shot down appeared in his forest territory. His son Luba found the pilot and he cut the ropes from his parachute and he thus saved him. Uncle and Luba then built a bunker under the stove in their home and the American was hiding there. Some time later, uncle’s deputy informed upon them, but they somehow learnt about it, and Luba Jakubčík and the pilot thus managed to escape. They hid in the sugar refinery in Brodek u Přerova. But uncle was arrested and taken to the Kounice student residence hall and then to the concentration camp in Mirošov.”

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    Brno, 27.05.2016

    duration: 01:06:22
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
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The Gestapo interrogated me, but the outcome was not sabotage; they only said that I was an idiot

As a young man at a conference
As a young man at a conference
photo: Rodinný archív

Vlastimír Medek was born February 23, 1926 into a patriotic Sokol family in Nevojice in South Moravia. He wished to study, but he did not have an opportunity to do so during the war. He thus apprenticed as a machinery and construction fitter. He committed an act of sabotage while working on engines for German submarines, but he was eventually released. Afterwards he was ordered to work as a driver at the army airport in Brno. In 1944 Vlastimír was helping to obtain weapons from there for an armed anti-fascist group in Nevojice. Eventually he crossed over to the partisans and followed them to the forests. After the war, Vlastimír studied metallurgic engineering and he pursued scientific research. His political views were leftist at the beginning, but he changed his stance after February 1948. He has never been a member of the Communist Party, but in spite of this fact he was even able to receive the academic degree Candidate of Sciences. He lived with his family in Brno. In 1968 Vlastimír established the Institute for Development of Innovation and Improvement, but later he was judged by the ‘street committee’ due to his disapproval of the entry of the Warsaw Pact armies to Czechoslovakia and he had troubles in his workplace. His son later emigrated. Vlastimír Medek received several decorations for his activity in the resistance movement. In November 2013 the minister of defence awarded him with the Cross of Merit. Vlastimír Medek died on 23 June 2020.