Arnošt Runčík

* 1943

  • “I actually got to know about it between four and five o´clock in the morning. Our neighbour came running to us and she told us that the Russians had occupied us. We were surprised and she (told us) that they called her from work not to come there; she worked in Preciosa and there was a prison there. We looked out of the window, we had a view of Zeyerova and Zhořelecká Streets and I saw that tanks were passing through Zhořelecká Street. So I thought to myself: ‘Oh, my God! Something must be happening.‘ The first thing that came to my mind was that I took my military identity card and stuffed it into my pocket because I thought we would have to enlist, and I went to LIAZ. I had a motor scooter back then, so I went to Rýnovice to work, I came there and there was a buzz about it there. My brother Zdeněk was still at home. We were listening to the radio and (heard) that there were shootings in Liberec. So, I packed up at work and went to Liberec. Somehow, I arrived at everything... Because it happened to Zdeněk around quarter past eight and I arrived there after nine o´clock or at around half-past nine. I was walking up Pražská Street and I met a friend of mine and he said: ‘Zdeněk was buried under the arcade.‘ I was frightened, so I went running up (the town hall) and then to the hospital. Well, and it was not like it, but he had been shot there, there was chaos there and I came into that chaos.”

  • “They did not give us the urn for a year, we could not bury him until a year later. They ruined our monument, the State Security officers came to see me in LIAZ so that I would give them permission to alter the monument because my mother had driven them away, because the monument read: ‘21 August 1968, Do not let us forget’ and there was a flag. So the State Security officers wanted us to give them permission and (said that) they had the prosecutor´s decision. I told them: 'If you have the prosecutor´s decision, why do you come to see me? Do as you like, I will not give you my permission.’ So they destroyed everything on the monument before 21 August 1969, they stripped everything of it. They invited us to the town hall, (they invited) my mum (to tell us) that we could not lay flowers in front of the town hall. Then they threw them like manure on carts with pitchforks and took them away. (They told us) we were not allowed to provoke. And it happened year after year that a few of their people were patrolling in front of the cemetery. Then they wanted me to return the death certificate because it read: 'Shot by an unknown soldier of the occupational army.' They did not like it, so I told them that I did not have it.”

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    Liberec, 04.02.2022

    duration: 45:29
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We were not able to bury Zdeněk until a year later. They did not want to give us his urn

Arnošt Runčík in graduation photo in 1962
Arnošt Runčík in graduation photo in 1962
photo: Arnošt Runčík´s archive

He was born on 13 November 1943 in Vsetín where his father worked in an arms factory. In 1944, the Germans arrested his father and imprisoned him in Brno, he returned home after liberation with severe pneumonia and he died in October 1945. His mother left to work in Jablonec nad Nisou in 1946, the witness was raised in Pardubice by his aunt and uncle. His brother Zdeněk was born in 1949 to his mother and her second husband František Dragoun. The family then lived together in Liberec where the witness graduated from a twelve-year secondary school. After it, he was admitted to the Higher Aviation School in Košice which he had to leave three years later after a collision on landing. Since 1965, he worked in the LIAZ company in Jablonec nad Nisou - Rýnovice. On 21 August 1968 in the morning, an unknown Soviet soldier shot his brother Zdeněk Dragoun, who was taking photos of the passage of the occupational army from the scaffolding of the Liberec town hall. In 1975, he started to work as a technician in the Park of culture and relaxation, he later became a chief there and at the same time, he worked as an expert witness in the field of engineering, economics, and technical condition of amusement parks. He still works as an expert witness and is in estimation today. He lived in Liberec in 2022.