“War is a dirty business but unfortunately, it’s necessary sometimes.”
Jan Šanovec was born in Prague. Even before the outbreak of the war, he studied at the War College. During the mobilization of the Czechoslovak army he commanded a battery of the 30th reserve regiment. After the occupation of Czechoslovakia by the German army, he crossed the border to Poland. However, after the German attack on Poland he fled to Romania. He was caught by the Soviets on the run. Afterwards, he was supposed to continue to France but instead he headed to the Middle East where he fought in Syria, Lebanon and Tobruk. Later, he sailed on a ship around Africa to England where he became a cryptographer in the intelligence group of František Moravec. He re-entered Czechoslovakia on May 5, 1945, as a soldier of the 2nd infantry division of the U.S. army. He saw the end of the war in Pilsen. After the war, he went to the Military Academy and became an army intelligence officer. Later he served with the Battalion command in Pilsen. In 1948, he was dismissed from army service for alleged “anti-Soviet activities” during the war and shortly afterwards arrested and imprisoned. He was kept in solitary confinement in a prison in Mladá Boleslav for half a year. From Mladá Boleslav, he was transferred to Mírov. Due to a lack of evidence, he was only sentenced to two years of forced-labor camp in 1950. After his release from the camp he worked in a paper mill. He was rehabilitated in 1968 and promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.