Jan Píšala (Hogan)

* 1943

  • "They came to arrest my father at four in the morning. We lived in Radvanice at that time, and they took him to the Gestapo station in Ostrava from there. I know this from my mom, who was present during the interrogation. She was in the fifth month of her pregnancy. It had to be very tough for her, and it has probably had some impact on me as well. They interrogated her there. Dad was then transported to Auschwitz, where he spent half a year, and since as a Sokol member he was physically fit, he was then transported from there to Buchenwald to the Dora camp where they were working on the V1 and V2 rockets. Thanks to his beautiful calligraphic handwriting, Dad became a scribe there. He always used to say that writing has saved his life."

  • "In the 1950s children were massively joining the Pioneer organization, but I didn't become a Pioneer. Instead, we established a Club of the White Fox. I cut out a small fox-shaped badge from a sheet of aluminum with a scroll saw and wore it on my lapel. The school principal, Mrs. Jandoušová,, who was a dyed-in-the wool communist, scolded me: ´Why aren’t you in Pioneer? You think you would rather wear some cat on your lapel or what not?´ They were angry at us, because at that time the teachers competed who would have most kids signed up for the Pioneer organization. That was the worst time ever."

  • "They broke into or clubroom. It was messy and disorderly inside, because the new Pioneers forcibly entered there, broke the lock on the door and then they reported us to the district committee of the Communist Party that we had destroyed the clubroom and that we were setting other clubrooms on fire. A report was sent to Prague that local Scouts from the 9th troop were setting clubrooms on fire, and I was summoned to the district committee to give an explanation."

  • Full recordings
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    Opava, skautský dům, 06.03.2012

    duration: 02:02:32
    media recorded in project A Century of Boy Scouts
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When I was born, my father was already in the concentration camp.

Jan Píšala (Hogan)
Jan Píšala (Hogan)
photo: ORJ Opava

Mgr. Jan Píšala, aka Hogan among the Scouts, was born in 1943 in Radvanice. Five months before his birth, the Gestapo arrested his father, Prof. Jan Píšala, for his activity in an illegal resistance organization which was supporting the families of persecuted people. His father experienced the camps Auschwitz and Buchenwald - Dora, which was known for its underground factory for V1 and V2 rockets. The family returned back to Opava after the war, where Hogan attended grammar school. He eventually graduated from the Faculty of Pedagogy in Ostrava in 1967. In 1967-1968, he began leading a troop called Forest Lads (Lesní hoši). After the restoration of Scouting he became a leader of the 9th troop in Opava, and on October 28, 1968, he finally took his Scout oath. During the period of restoration in 1968-1970, he also served as a deputy to the education correspondent of the Junák District Council in Opava. During the subsequent disbandment of the Junák organization (Czech Scouts), he experienced a conflict with the Pioneer organization of the Socialist Youth Union which falsely accused them of setting clubrooms on fire. At the beginning of the normalization period he was also active as a volleyball coach. He ceased working as a teacher as a result of the pressure to join the Communist Party. Instead, he began working as a computer programmer in a company for information technology optimization under the Ministry of Agriculture in Opava. Then he worked in the Centre for Young Hikers and Naturalists, where he was active as a professional lecturer and organizer of camps. In 1989, he participated on the restoration of Junák in Opava where he also started a Water Scouts centre called Poseidon, serving as its leader in 1990-1998. After the Velvet Revolution he was the principal’s deputy in an elementary school, and later he became a school principal. In 1998-2010, he was involved in the local city administration of Opava, and in 2000-2008, he served as the chairman of the Junák Regional Council for the Moravian-Silesian region. In 2004 he was awarded the Bronze Beaver decoration for development of Water Scouting. In 2010 he was appointed to the Silesian patrol of Petr Bezruč within the Svojsík’s troop.