Jaroslav Šebík

* 1946  

  • “I will return one more time to the camp in Oslavany when we went there with my mum to visit my dad. My dad saw Jana for the first time when she was already two years old – younger children were not allowed to the camp. There was a great warden, he was called Jano. He was a Ukrainian from Slovakia and had a dog, a black wolfdog Ajax. I was allowed to pet it. When we arrived, Jano told me: ‘Go get your dad!’ I walked through the whole camp searching for my dad, I was even in the kitchen. They did not announce that someone has a visit. I was allowed to go and get him. I am perhaps the only man who went through the camp without being in jail.”

  • “First [the father] was kept in prison and interrogated in Zlín. They beat them there and threatened him that if he does not confess, they will arrest the whole family. My mother was already pregnant with my sister Jana. He told me that the beating was not so bad but this was too much. So, he signed all he could but luckily one of the later mafdo [an approximation of the Czech ‘mukl’, an acronym meaning ‘man designated for disposal’ - trans.] told him: ‘Sign what they want you to sing but you must not sign that you are an agent.’ They told him repeatedly: ‘You are an American agent!’ And he repeated: ‘No, I am not’, and this way he did not get a rope because they would hang him for that. They were prepared to pin it all on him. I remember I walked with my mum to… I was – I remember twice – in the Soudní street. Across the street, there is a law court and there was a jail and my dad was on its upper floor. On the other side, there is a low wall with a metal fence and my mum always put me on the wall. I remember I waved at my dad who was behind the barred window. My dad was later [transferred] to Uherské Hradiště. He said: ‘We called it a partisan gathering. There were so many people I knew… The communists were afraid of us. We were seasoned guys and they did not have what it takes.’”

  • “My dad was still in the woods. They slept by the people from glade settlements. He said: ‘They were poor, they had little food and yet they gave us something to eat.’ They always ordered them to go to Gestapo the next day and report that partisans were sleeping at their place. Then they were avoiding the farm or the cottage for a long time, but to cover the people, the ordered them to do it. Nevertheless, it did not end well for some people. My dad was in the Prlov group. The mill house… there is a photo of a burned mill house in a book Ploština v plamenech. The Germans killed them all there. Two partisans hid themself under the wheel. These survived because the dogs did not smell them there thanks to the falling water. My dad always told me when looking at this photo: ‘Well, on the bench next to the stove in the burned house, on this bench I slept the night before.’”

  • „Gestapo came in the night. They had already been searching for him [the father]. He managed to warn his friends – mainly one of them – and this one told him: ‘Man, come on, nothing is going on!’ Then they were arrested. Gestapo came in the night, they were searching for my father. He had already been gone so they were sitting there the whole night. Across the street by the church, there was a machine gun, my grandma and grandpa were lying in bed with a submachine gun pointing at them… that must have been terrific. My grandfather had to be interrogated at Gestapo later, but in fact one really good man, a German, he stayed there because of some construction, perhaps nearby Baťa’s roadway, and always did the hard work at our house – dug the garden, chopped up the wood – mister Kitl – he was a translator there. He translated so well – he helped many people – that my grandpa flew out of there with just a kick in his bottom, and it was over.”

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    Zlín, 20.11.2019

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Communists were afraid of arrested partisans. They did not have what it takes, said partisans

Jaroslav Šebík Sr. after the liberation of Vizovice in 1945
Jaroslav Šebík Sr. after the liberation of Vizovice in 1945
photo: archiv pamětníka

Jaroslav Šebík was born on October 14th 1946 in Zlín. His father, after whom he was named, joined the 1st Czechoslovak Partisan Brigade of Jan Žižka in 1944 and spent the last year of the war as an active resistance fighter. He was a witness of the burning of a glade settlement Ploština on the 19th April 1945 and took part in the liberation of Vizovice. For his resistance activities he received the Czechoslovak War Cross 1939. Shortly after February 1948, Jaroslav Šebík Sr. was asked by his former friend to help him escape to the West. Later this friend denounced him and in 1949 Jaroslav was sentenced to five years in a corrective work camp. First, he was interned in a coal mine in Oslavany, later in a uranium mine in Horní Slavkov. He was released at the end of 1953. He made his living as a professional violinist, in 1967 he signed a contract with a Swiss conductor and emigrated to the West. He died of cancer in emigration in 1988. His son had an unsuitable background profile since his childhood. He could not study and was apprenticed as a machine fitter. During the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia, his father arranged a Swiss visa for him and Jaroslav Šebík Jr. emigrated soon after. According to his own words, he never felt like home in Switzerland. After initial difficulties he gained a stable job as a mechanic and in 1972 he got married. He moved back to Czechia with his wife after he retired in 2012.