Drahomír Petříček

* 1931  †︎ 2019

  • "Hitler fell on the 30th of April. That came up, that Hitler had shot himself, not that he'd fallen. All of a sudden around four or five in the morning we heard gunfire. Soldiers all over the place, who had a gun, was firing it. The second front, what was happening? The wife of the head of the 'Aptěkoupravlenije' lived in our house, it was the headquarters of the Volhynian pharmacies under the Soviets, they considered it a nationalised house. Some cried, some where drunk, there were more of the drunks, some started a brawl, it was a big celebration."

  • "What could we take? Whatever we could load up. There was one wagon per family. There was a heap of wagons at the back. Some took a horse, some a pig, some a cow. Mostly they were horse-drawn. When it was loaded over into our wagons in Černá by Čop, our uncles couldn't come to an agreement. 'Don't be silly, chap, that's my wheel.' I know they stole one of our wagon's wheels... They didn't make any controls for movables... They didn't open any suitcases, nothing."

  • "Suddenly Czech soldiers appeared, Svoboda's army. Where could they find lodgings? A second lieutenant came to us, went through our apartment, the part that was on Dominican Street. 'Tell no one, we'll lodge General Svoboda with you.' That was his aide, Second Lieutenant Procházka. So we had General Svoboda lodging with us with his staff. Bohumil Lomský was also there, he was staff captain at the time, chief of the staff. There was enough room in the courtyard for military vehicles. General Svoboda even had his cook there, that was Private Seko, a Slovak."

  • "If you'd open your mouth, things would end bad. We griped, but we had to have our acquaintances verified. Then we told them the truth. [...] I didn't write in my CVs that Granddad was a kulak. They herded us into the Youth Union, I knew how things were in Russia, so I spoke as formal as a form, I knew what they wanted to hear, and that's what I told them. I got a recommendation to university."

  • "When Poland stopped existing, the chauvinism cooled down. The Poles regretted not having stood up for the Czechs when Hitler entered the country, when they were against them instead. The Poles wore sackcloth and ashes and said: 'Jak bylo Czechum zle, tož jsme jim vbili nuž v plecie.' - When the Czechs were at their weakest, we drove the knife into their back."

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    Neratovice - Lobkovice, 03.12.2010

    duration: 04:08:09
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
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Ludvík Svoboda lived in our courtyard.

Drahomír Petříček in the 50s
Drahomír Petříček in the 50s
photo: pamětník

RNDr. Drahomír Petříček was born in 1931 in Lutsk, Volhynia. He comes from an important Volhynian family - his grandfather was the chairman of Czech Foundation (Matice česká) in Volhynia. As a child, he was a witness to the war situation in Lutsk, he could also watch how the staff of Ludvík Svoboda put up lodgings in his grandfather’s house. In the winter of 1947 he and his parents were repatriated to Czechoslovakia. He lived in the Žatec region, studied at the Žatec grammar school. After graduating, he applied to university. He had excellent marks, there were no background profiles from Volhynia, and so it was somehow forgotten that his grandfather and his father had been big kulaks. For that reason he was able to apply to the Faculty of Natural Sciences of the Charles University in Prague, organic chemistry. He completed his studies as a graduated chemist, later during employment he wrote his dissertation and achieved the title of Doctor of Natural Sciences, RNDr., in the field of zymurgy (fermentation chemistry). He spent many years doing research in the field of hop cultivation, so typical for the Žatec region where he lived most of his life. He visited Volhynia several times on business trips.