“I had a conflict with a guard on the railway station. I do not know who he was, he was in plain clothes but had this khaki SA shirt. We were carrying some heavy stuff, I stopped to relax for a while and to wipe my brow. He came up to me and hit me in the back. He said: ‘You’re not working. You must work.’ I don’t know what came over me. I stood my ground and spat on the shovel he grabbed from me. And I walked away. He yelled: ‘You get arrested. You go to the Gestapo!’ I didn’t wait for more. It was two o’clock and he left. I fled to the railway station. There was this paramilitary train – civilians and soldiers – passing through, so I jumped into one of the wagons. It went to Prague. We arrived in Bubeneč, we were not in the station yet and the train had to brake in the bend. It slowed down dramatically, almost to a standstill. I did not hesitate. Jump! I rolled down the slope. I walked to catch the tram and got home from Podbaba. When I got home I said, ‘I can’t stay.’ My dad asked me, ‘What did you do?’ I told him. He said, ‘You’re an idiot, boy.’ And I went to Mrs Hrudoková’s immediately.”
„Before the flares arrived I told the sergeant, ‘Hold it here. Give me cover. I’m going to our dead boys there. They no longer need their ammo and guns. I’ll go for them, will bring their weapons, ammo and grenades.’ He says, ‘Well.’ I say, ‘Hold the guys, don’t shoot. But when I am close to you, tell them to shoot a couple of rounds, so that the Bandera guys have to take cover. I’ll use this opportunity to ran across. I’ll show you, I’ll raise my hand. I’ll just wave it, so that they don’t blow it away.’ It was like this. I arrived. My hunched body ran, I tried to hide my silhouette from shots. I came behind the logs and lay down. I couldn’t catch my breath. And it was just fifteen metres. But you can’t imagine how happy the boys were when I brought them the ammo. I distributed it across the groups. Then there was a red and a green flare. I ask myself, ‘What is this?’ As soon as those from above opened fire to Bandera men, it went quiet. I saw the group running to the east side, to the forest. And the group that was approaching me shot one more flare, the green one. It means, ‘I’m yours’”
“In Kyjevská street I encountered the former officer Vratislav Raška. He, too, served with the 18th Infantry Battalion and he was in the same barracks with my father. He explained all the stuff to me. He took me to the clerk colony, today there is a hotel there. He showed me a cluster of trees, one that comes into being in dozens of years. He said, ‘Look, we’ll go from this side, there is this tree with a fork – a tree with two branches coming apart. You could put something in between the branches. Raška tells me, ‘Look, you wrap messages in some darker paper and put it in here. I will come to collect it once a month, always at the end. You have to approach the place carefully, preferably in the evening, not to be seen. Don’t come from a single direction but from many. And take care that no one is there or watches you. And it happened that Raška stopped coming and instead of him a man appears and speaks to me, ‘Hey, Jaroslav.’ I was surprised. It was a father of my schoolmate. We were in a single class, he was in the first row, me too, just across the aisle. We were not allowed to speak about the anti-Nazi resistance, nobody. I don’t know whether the man told anything to his son. I didn’t say a word since I was told: ‘You say something, someone tells his best friend. The friend speaks and we all end up in a concentration camp or get shot.’ You understand, it was a thorough warning. You then know it’s deadly serious and you do as you are told.”
“They put on a pelerine; it was a cape which had openings for the arms at the sides. They did not salute and they carried the cartridges (hidden – ed.’s note) in their hands. One package contained fifteen cartridges, and the soldiers held the boxes with packages with their fingers and they had them stacked up along their arms up to their armpits. My dad walked out of the gate and he passed. Warrant officer Kolář was to walk out after him. He said to my dad: ‘Pepík, go ahead.’ Dad went before him. Mr. Kolář followed him ten minutes later. However, what happened was that he ran into a German officer in the gate. There was a steel cog fitted in the ground under the gate, and a claw on the gate was inserted into it when the gate was closed so that it would stay closed securely. As Kolář was passing through the gate, he was making way for the German and he accidentally grazed with his heel against this protruding cog, and the cartridges spilled out right to the feet of the guardsman. The officer was stunned, of course. Dad and Mr. Kolář had both surrendered their keys from the ammunition depots before. But they had a third key, a spare key, which the Germans did not know about. They used this key to take weapons and cartridges from the depots and everything was being smuggled out of the barracks – binoculars, and things like that, and rifles, guns, and even a light machine gun. We then had this light machine gun in our apartment.”
“For instance, they were sending me to find out the location of the barricades, what kind of weapons they had there, whether they had a telephone line there, and so on. There was one barricade up on Letenské Square. Another smaller barricade was in an advanced position down the slope towards the Výstaviště Trade Fair Grounds. And there was another smaller barricade down there in the direction of (Strossmayer?) Square. I had to get to all these places, and I had to be very careful, of course, when running across the roads, and so on. For example, I would get there by means of going to one street, and from there I would enter one of the buildings, because they had advised me: ‘If you go to that building, knock at the door, and they will let you out through the backyards every time.’”
“I yelled: ‘Enemy on the right side! Run behind me!’ I ran to a pile of timber. The guys were behind me. There were only about fourteen or fifteen of us left. We ran there and we took cover behind the timber. But two of our boys were already wriggling in pain, they were wounded. I ordered them: ‘Heads down!’ A moment later another of our guys got hit, and he was killed as well. ‘Take cover!’ The guys started shooting. I ordered: ‘Stop shooting. Shoot only when you are sure, when I tell you. Otherwise don’t shoot.’ What happened was that all of a sudden they rose against us. I could see eighty of them. (Bandera’s soldiers – ed.’s note)”
We walked out of the forest and suddenly they started shooting at us from up there
Jaroslav Piskáček was born April 5, 1926 in Pilsen. His father Josef served in the Czechoslovak legions in Italy. In September 1938 Jaroslav witnessed clashes between the members of the Sudetendeutsche Partei and Czechoslovak security forces in the Czech borderland. The family fled back to Pilsen, but as a result of the German takeover of the border region they lost their furniture and most of their property. Josef Piskáček joined the anti-Nazi resistance movement already in 1938: together with other officers they were transporting ammunition and weapons out of the army barracks to prevent the Germans from confiscating them. The Piskáček family later moved to Prague, where father and son actively participated in the resistance group Bílá Hora (‘White Mountain’). Jaroslav took part in the Prague Uprising, gathering intelligence and serving as a guard. After the war he served in the National Security Corps and in summer 1947 he was sent to Slovakia to fight the Bandera’s bands there. In 1949 he became a professional soldier in a reconnoitre unit. He graduated from the War College and he served in various posts in Karlovy Vary, Mariánské Lázně, Příbram, Pilsen and Stříbro. As a supporter of Dubček’s regime, he was dismissed from the army in 1971 and he subsequently worked for the company Roads and Railroads Construction, for the company Agricultural Construction and in 1974-1990 he worked for the electric section of the railways. He was rehabilitated in 1990 and he became a founding member of the Military Association of the Rehabilitated. In 2006 he joined the Czechoslovak Association of Legionaries.