First Lieutenant (ret.) Josef Načeradský

* 1913  

  • “I became the commander for recruiting horses. Farmers had to bring their horses and give them at the army’s disposal. I told them: ‘But I don’t understand horses.’ A warrant officer was assigned to me: ‘We’ll manage.’ Well, it was him who managed it. I was only signing documents. We thus recruited the horses and the task was done. That’s all there’s to say about it. I came back and again I had nothing to do for two days. Nothing came out of it.”

  • “Of course, I confessed the names of all the people whom they had already arrested. These people had agreed to do the same. But then the conspiracy broke out. It was not possible to endure it. It was useless to deny the allegations. But I have not told them the names of others. Like Mixa, for example. They were beating me for fifteen minutes because of Mixa. I didn’t tell them, I only said: ‘He is a traitor.’ They had suspected that, but they said: ‘And Lesák, from Divišov.’ They were beating me because of him, too. And so on. I got beaten, I had to undress completely, and they were beating me again and again. They put a bag over my head. One time I felt as if I was lying on the ground and watching them beating me, and I didn’t feel anything. But as I said, I had to be carried to the cell upstairs by the other guys.”

  • “We were sitting in the pub and having good time when the mobilisation was declared. The mood among the soldiers was that we should go for it and beat them to death with our hats, and so on. The regiment’s commander called us and told us: ‘Gentlemen, go to the soldiers and explain to them that it is not possible. An order came that we are not to do anything.’ That is the question: whether we should have started fighting or not. I could not agree on this matter with general (Vlastimil) Picek. He claimed that we should have gone into the war, and I said that we should not have. I told him: ‘General, I served in the counterespionage unit at that time. I knew how things were. The Germans knew everything about us - they knew about every depot, they knew the location of everything we had. We did have an excellent system of fortifications, but it was for nothing. They could overcome it with airplanes. And they had a free way from the south, from Austria. The Hungarians were not on friendly terms with us, either. The Slovaks didn’t know what they were doing at that time, and neither the Poles were too friendly.’”

  • “Each of us had to sleep on the side in order to fit in there. When somebody went to the toilet at night, he had to step on the bodies of others. People suffered from diarrhoea and so on. I was lucky because when I came there, my place to sleep was next to a pillar, and there was a little table next to it, and another prisoner slept under the table. People were disciplined: nobody would take a place for sleeping which belonged to somebody else. This prisoner slept under that table and then he died. Every night, four or five people from our cell would die. I thus moved to the place under the table. But there was another man who slept on top of the table, and he had many lice, and the lice were dropping down on me.”

  • “I was glad myself that I didn’t know it. Then a colleague of mine, whom they had beaten so much during the interrogation that they broke his nose and he could not endure the pain and he told them everything and he confessed that I had been there. He didn’t realize what he had told them. I really have not given them any names. They thus carried me back to the cell where I tried to recover. Then they sent us away. We were marked XYZ. That sign was used at the end of the war and it meant that we were to be executed.”

  • “It was preparation for the war. They installed a telephone line for me and gave me everything I needed. Everything was calm. The major and the colonel went to sleep at eleven o’clock and they ordered me: ‘Keep an eye on it and do not wake us up! Only if the war breaks out.’ The war didn’t break out and so I didn’t have to wake them. But one time I did something that was probably against the orders. At two o’clock at night the telephone rang and somebody – later I found out that it was a friend who had served in the officers’ school with me – called that some Germans fired at them from the forest and he asked me what they ought to do. I replied: ‘Wait, I’ll ask.’ Then I thought: ‘Is this war? No.’ I thus picked up the phone again and said: ‘Do this: The company which is in charge of it should be on stand-bye. Do not send your people to the forest under any circumstances. It’s dark there and people would get killed there.’”

  • “I remember that when I was five years old, I was sitting behind my father’s neck, it was some days after October 28th, (1918) in Štěpánov, the place where I was born, and the people were taking down the symbol of Austrian eagle from the administration building there. My father carried me and I watched it. Apart from that, I was not involved in any other activity against the Emperor.”

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    Praha, 29.10.2013

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The communists did not acknowledge my resistance activity, because allegedly it has not directly contributed to the liberation of our country

Josef Načeradský, 29.10.2013
Josef Načeradský, 29.10.2013
photo: autor Markéta Šrajbrová

  First lieutenant in retirement Josef Načeradský was born March 22, 1913 in Trhový Štěpánov in the Benešov district in the then Austria-Hungary. His father worked as a clerk and later he dealt with car sales, and Josef’s mother worked at their farm. Josef Načeradský was helping his mother with the farm work and when he was five years old he became active in the Sokol sports organization. After finishing his elementary school studies in Trhový Štěpánov and the fourth grade of the higher elementary in Vlašim, he went to study at the teachers’ institute in Prague. He completed his studies in 1932 and he began working as a teacher in Šlapánov near Votice and in Ouběnice near Bystřice u Benešova. While he worked in both these villages he helped with the restoration of the local Sokol clubs. On September 1, 1935 he began his compulsory military service and he studied a school for reserve officers, where he trained as a signalman. From September 1, 1937 until December of the same year he went through a communications course in Turnov, he was promoted to the second lieutenant’s rank and then he began serving in the technical company of the 48th regiment in Jaroměř where he remained until mid-January 1938. He was subsequently transferred to the communications department of the army corps command in Hradec Králové. When he left the army service, Josef began working as a teacher at the higher elementary school in Sedlec near Prčice. In spring 1938 the so-called peace reserves were called in and Josef became the second aide at the section command in Vysokov near Náchod. When the mobilisation of peace reserves was over, he returned to teaching at the higher elementary in Sedlec near Prčice. However, in autumn 1938 he was called in again, this time in the general mobilisation, and he was assigned to Jaroměř, where he served as a commander for the recruitment of horses. When this task was finished, Josef was re-assigned to the 98th regiment in Jindřichův Hradec and he served as the regiment’s cipher officer. After the declaration of the Protectorate he became involved in the resistance organization Defence of the Nation (Obrana národa). Thanks to his commander from the army, lieutenant colonel Český, he began to participate in the resistance activity in Sedlec as early as on September 1, 1939. He was active in the Defence of the Nation until mid-September 1940. In February 1944 Josef joined the resistance organization Rada tří (The Council of Three, written also as Rada3) in Vlašim, which was led by building contractor Raiman. When the commander of the Vlašim organization got arrested, Josef Načeradský became its leader and one of his activities included monitoring the movements of the Gestapo. However, the group’s conspiracy broke out and their meeting in Blaník near Louňovice was followed by arrests. The other resistance fighters did not betray Načeradský, and he was thus able to hide. He eventually returned to his family, but on March 27, 1945 he was arrested by Czech policemen. He was detained in Benešov in cell n. 26, and he was marked with letters XYZ (which signified that he was to be executed). After a transport to the Small Fortress in Terezín he was placed to cell n. 44. Josef Načeradský was to be shot, and allegedly they already started digging a grave for him, but on May 5, 1945 the Small Fortress in Terezín became liberated and his life was thus saved. His suffering was not over, however, since he contracted typhoid fever immediately after the end of the war and he had to receive treatment for the following two months. After the war he taught Czech language, math and physical education at the higher elementary schools in Prague in the Břevnov and Žižkov neighbourhoods. He continued working as a teacher and educator even after his retirement. Josef Načeradský now lives in Prague.