Vladimír Nekvasil

* 1944

  • “He was acting as a de-facto liaison between the occupied and the so-called ‘liberated’ France which wasn’t an easy thing to do if you consider that his personal documents were forged. He never spoke flawless French and therefore he had allied, Slovak papers. When Czechoslovakia broke up, the Slovaks gave the resistance movement their blank papers. So my dad was officially Ján Gaspar.”

  • “The Czechoslovak soldiers who fought in the Spanish civil war had always been for no use to anybody, they started to marginalize them right after the war, when they needed to highlight the role and the merits of Svoboda’s eastern army and to suppress anything else. They actually put them into jail after 1948 – you got very bad marks for being in Spain. It was nothing to boast with at the time. 1968 was a short interplay, but too short really to achieve or change anything of substance. Then came the seventies, the so-called ‘Normalization’ and things were moving in the same direction again as they were after 1948. The Communists had the police and the armed forces in their hands and marginalized those who served in Spain. So the ‘Spaniards’ got used to it – although it sounds a bit cynical – and didn’t expect anything from the Communists anymore. The same is true for the former fighter pilots that served in the British army. But their attitude was one of not regretting anything. They went to the war in Spain voluntarily and derived no benefit from it. They didn’t get a penny for it. No, they did it out of their free will.”

  • “The French permitted them to come to France which the Czechoslovaks did. My dad was always enthusiastically telling me his stories about the sea. How they played volleyball, founded a singing choir and organized Boy Scout rallies.”

  • “I think my dad embodies his era – he’s a classical example of his time. He originated in a family that was anticlerical and that was tuned to socialism and history. They left the church and joined the social democrats. My dad was the youngest in the family and studied a secondary school in Prague. I’m pretty sure he strongly promoted Communism wherever he went. He got arrested a couple of times.”

  • “He always regretted the battles they had lost due to mismanagement or poor organization. It must have been an incredible chaos. However, I think that the Czechoslovak unit, that was operating as a part of the whole but at the same time also independently, was one of the better organized units.”

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    Praha, 29.03.2006

    duration: 01:16:56
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
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“I’m not the only one who didn’t talk about it with his parents. I think they felt ashamed that their ideals turned against them after they had won. They didn’t have the motivation to talk about it spontaneously.”

Vladimír Nekvasil was born on 20 April, 1944, in Paris. In his stories he remembers his father Miloš Nekvasil, who was born on 2 January, 1910, in the family of a carpenter in Tábor. The whole family was leaning to the left. Miloš Nekvasil studied at a secondary school in Prague and then joined the Communist party of Czechoslovakia. During his military service, he was arrested several times for his Communist agitation. In the 1930s, as a young cadre, he got to the Soviet Union and when the war broke out, he started his studies at the renowned Frunze Military Academy. In Spain, he was the commander of a motorized battalion TGM. After the international brigades in Spain were dissolved, he went to France where he was placed in an internment camp. He tried to join the Czechoslovak army there but was refused on the grounds of his membership in the Communist party. He then fought in the ranks of the French partisans and he met his future wife in France. After he returned home Miloš Nekvasil wanted to become a journalist and he was the spokesperson of J. Smrkovský. He was, however, arrested in 1949 and released in 1953 (he was never tried). He was rehabilitated in the sixties. Towards the end of his life, he worked in the Tyrš museum of physical training and sports. He was decorated with a French Cross of Battle. When he was leaving Spain, he had the rank of a staff captain. After the war, he was promoted to a major.