Lieutenant General (ret.) Radovan Procházka

* 1927  †︎ 2020

  • "They knew all about it. They didn't even present me with anything relevant and obviously, they proposed that I get the capital punishment. Eventually, they cut it down to fifteen years in prison. They must have had some intentions that I blew for them. I then got another twelve years - twenty-seven in total. I didn't make it out on amnesty."

  • "I was arrested by Mr. Pergl, which is peculiar. He came on Sunday - I came to Prague on Saturday and he came to get me a day after. These are the moments when one doesn't have time to decide, to consider his options for a minute. When I walked with them down from the fifht floor, I had some time to reflect. I had an escape route ready via terraces, which connected the neighbouring houses' roofs. My plan was to run across one house next to ours, exit it in the street and flee. I had this in mind. Mr. Pergl didn't even search me and he didn't know whether I had a pistol on myself. I was pretty much able to liquidate him on the stairway, run up, run across. Down there, there was Tatra 603 and only a driver inside, which I had not known by then. It would have been lost for them if I had knocked Pergl down on the stairs and fled. However, I stood convinced it was not in consequence of those actions. I knew nobody ratted on me - and why would they take a year and a half to see what I had or hadn't been doing... I thought it was related to another matter."

  • "During my active service I concluded my speeches with a single sentence, repeated a hundred of times: our allies may fail, deny us or leave us. But they cannot betray us - it is only us who can betray ourselves. I still consider this sentence a soldier's message to the nation. Time to time, it comes back to me intensely when citizens decide on the future of their nation. Those not taking part in the election and also those who take part light-heartedly and vote irresponsibly without seeing the consequences of their action, fulfill the betrayal part of my message. Neither our friends nor our enemies may betray us - it is but us Czechs who may betray ourselves, our freedom, our honesty and democratic tradition."

  • Look, a message for the young generation… Some time ago, when I used to do military lectures, because I explicitly started to deal with issues of state defense. I just went through it; I went through the year 1938 and the war and everything related to it. Then they started telling us that the allies had left us in 1938. Which, in a way, is true. And that we actually were the victims of betrayal from our allies. There is one lesson to be learned, which means that one must always rely on one's strength. However, I would never talk about betrayal. I ended all my lectures for the soldiers with the sentence: “The Allies can, but also do not have to help us. However, it is only us who can betray ourselves." This means that we must always be prepared to end up alone. And that there are those moments in the life of the nation as well as in the life of the individual, when it doesn't matter at all - when the criterion for that decision is not based on whether to win or lose. When one has to go to that war, otherwise there is a risk of national marasmus and the nation's ability to survive. Because physically, someone always survives. But if that nation loses that moral value, what we can actually rely on, then it is simply a nationwide loss. So, maybe this is what I should tell the young generation.”

  • “The main part of our group lead by Colonel Korda, including lieutenant Kácha, today's general, then also a lieutenant, was arrested in 1949. So, I dropped out of it and three of us stayed out, the group later, when we were arrested, was called Capt. Bartl and his companions. Captain Bartl was an officer who had us on lessons on militant skills in a military academy. So, my friend František Kurka, who already died, belonged to him. We then stopped our activities for a while because of the arrest of the first group. And then we started it again, because it seemed to us that we had already dropped out of this matter and that we could continue. However, it turned out that we were still being watched and that they were just waiting to see if they could get to someone else through us. I was arrested, I was serving in Hodonín at that time. I served there for practically a few weeks and I then went to Prague from Hodonín. And during that visit to Prague, they came for me when I was with the family, which was very clever, because it was quite difficult to do something when you were arrested in the middle of a family meeting, right. This means that you are greatly limited by the ability to somehow violently confront that. Because it was obvious that in that case, the others would end up in the prison instead of me." "So, they came for lunch or…?" "They came in the morning, early in the morning." "And they were acting as they knew you from somewhere or…?” "Of course, they said they needed some testimony, but it was clear to me from the beginning. I was still thinking, while walking down the stairs, if I should try to do something to escape. Well, then it seemed to me that it would be risky for the rest of the family. Well, they took me to Domeček here. Even one of those people who came for me was Pergl himself, which is quite extraordinary, because Pergl never went to arrest anyone."

  • My father received Russian generals, and because the end of the war was celebrated and the Russian generals were heavy drinkers, they assumed that the father of Rybalko's interpreter, whom Rybalko had brought to Prague, was undoubtedly a man, from a Russian point of view, whom they could trust. So, they talked to my father quite openly. As a result, in June, my father came to very classified information and learned that the Russians were expecting a putsch with the Czech Communists in Czechoslovakia. The situation was, of course, complicated, because there were a number of officers at the newly formed General Staff, who were already explicitly inclined to the Communists. There were already a number of people who came from the Soviet Union - Reicin and others. And that's exactly what it was like at the castle and it was quite difficult to get to Beneš. Thus, my father had an excellent position as he was a former commander of the castle guard, he knew President Beneš at that time as a Foreign Minister, as well as a number of people who were in diplomatic or military service. This means, if it was necessary to make this report to President Beneš, that it is probably, at least according to what the Russian generals say, that the coup was being prepared. And it actually took place in February. So, he had to choose carefully how to communicate it to President Beneš and he chose the Deputy Chief of General Staff gen. Pika, with whom he was a friend and whose opinions he knew. So, he was going to Prague to see Pika and he told Pika everything new he had learned, and Pika continued to tell President Beneš.

  • „Well, then they took us and they moved us to Leopoldov. Leopoldov, that was quite simply the middle ages. Not that they would kill you as soon as you had passed the prison gate or that if you died, they would throw you to some mass dump. No, they would dig a grave in a ground in front of the gate. However, that was the only difference regarding the middle ages. Otherwise, it was bullying, hunger, poor medical care, absolutely no contact with home. Every warder was as the „unbounded Stalin“ doing anything he wanted. Whether you would survive or die depended on his momentary mood. From time to time they shot a person, saying he tried to escape. However, the truth was that they sent him to work close to the fence. And some idiot at the watch-tower… They were real idiots, less then human. When they came to conclusion that you are close to the fence, they just began shooting at you.

  • "Well, I got involved in a thing called the 'noodle affair' in 1954. On the day of American independence on July 4, there was a so-called prisoner uprising. That is, the "noodle affair." Of course, that situation, at least in my absolute conviction, had absolutely no subtext at first. Someone just got rich there at our expense. He was stealing the food, we were supposed to get, and the food was getting worse and worse until they gave us, just boiled noodles or maybe even with no butter. Which was not suitable for the miners at all. That's why the uprising broke out, saying that the noodles would not be eaten. And then it turned out that coincidentally, it happened on July 4, so it got the political undertone. And I think that it suited to the management incredibly well, because in fact, a strike like that, would have to be investigated and they would necessarily have to investigate who was stealing food that prisoners should receive. Suddenly, there was a riot of prisoners on the occasion of the American Independence Day, which suited them perfectly. I actually knew from the beginning that it was just as I told you now. So, I wasn't in favor of a demonstration at all. We went to the Appellplatz. And there, we demonstratively rejected the food and therefore negotiations were stopped in any way. Well, it got even worse because they called some military garrison on us, which came with tanks. I was not lucky because I sensed that I was on the bridgehead and that I could not retreat. So, when I was at the very end from the beginning, first of all, people who were the most militant at the beginning, they started to drop behind, especially when the tanks came. So, in the end I stayed in the front row, which made me visible. And how I got out of there… Probably my friends dragged me away to the barracks. We went on with the hunger strike, but its development was similar. When there were about 10 of us left in the hunger strike after a week, they took the us to Ruzyně.

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    Praha, 05.03.2007

    duration: 01:47:48
    media recorded in project Portraits of Prague citizens
  • 2

    Praha, 19.10.2017

    duration: 01:19:44
    media recorded in project Portraits of Prague citizens
Full recordings are available only for logged users.

It is said that during the noodle affair we tried to disrupt the socialist economy. Probably because we didn’t eat the mess tin of noodles

He´s reading the report´s of Discussion forum in the web Memory of Nation
He´s reading the report´s of Discussion forum in the web Memory of Nation
photo: Post Bellum

Radovan Procházka was born on May 11, 1927 in the family of the commander of the Castle Guard of T. G. Masaryk, a Russian legionnaire, Lieutenant Colonel Vladimír Procházka. He loved classical music since he was a child, he wanted to become an opera singer. He joined the Resistance movement during the war. After the liberation and after his father’s tragic death, he joined the military academy out of respect for the memory of his father. In 1950, Radovan Procházka served as an operations officer with the Hodonín garrison. He collaborated with a military group that passed information to the West. In 1951 he was arrested, brutally investigated in a so-called house in Hradčany and then sentenced to 15 years in prison. Radovan Procházka went through the Jáchymov and Příbram prison camps, where in 1954 he joined the so-called noodle affair, which broke out due to poor diet - hard-working prisoners revolted when they received only noodles to eat. As an alleged organizer of the uprising, he was sentenced to another 12 years. From the court, Procházka was escorted to Leopoldov, he was not released until 1964. He found a job as a stage technician at the National Theater, after the fall of communism he worked in various positions in the intelligence services: in 1990 in the Security Information Service, then in 1993 as the head of military intelligence. He was awarded the Order of the Legion of Merit (Order of the President of the United States) for intelligence activities from February 1993 to April 1994. In 1997 he received the Order of the White Lion of the fourth class. He had the rank of the retired lieutenant general. Radovan Procházka died on June 25, 2020.