"Even though you had gone through all these army drills and trainings, with real shooting, real explosions all around you, we all knew that it was only ´fake´and that they were not really shooting at you. When you get into a real combat situation, however, that´s different. You can´t tell how individual people will react. I always use the case of Vašek Kindl to illustrate this." "So you knew Václav Kindl?" asks historian Petr Koura.
"I knew him, he was one of the senior officers who had gone through the French Foreign Legion at that time. He was a fine chap, he had gone through all types of paratrooper training with excellent results. But then, when things got really nasty in the combat, he was unable to bite onto a poison capsule, like Franta Závorka did, or to shoot himself, like Josef Šandera." (you can read about these soldiers in the document titled "Příběh pamětníka" or in the research room - ed.´s note)
"From my cell I was brought to interrogator Řičič, I was blindfolded. And then it began - speak about your illegal activities, he asked. I did not know what to speak about, so I said that I did not know about anything, which he regarded as dissimulation. The second or third day, Pergl was called, and they bound me with chains and manacled my feet. I always used to say that this was a huge progress compared to the Middle Ages, now they had manacles with cuffs, which they had not had back then!"
"This is a notebook issued for the army in England. Here are my notes from my wandering to the east, from Dukla and the Slovak national Uprising. This one, this is an entry from the day when we were leaving: artillery lieutenant Jindra Vaculík, he was already the first lieutenant, ane he was my friend from the military academy and was in the transport with us....so this Jindra married some Englishwoman in the morning. And I wrote down: Jindra Vaculík married this morning - idiot! (laughing) I just could not understand how he could marry when he was going to the war."
"When they became convinced that I was dissimulating, they called Pergl (the prison´s director - ed.´s note) to put me in chains. I was manacled for a day and a half. There rest of the time I was sitting in the corner, I was also hand-cuffed. Obviously, my hands were also bound all the time when Řičiča or others were beating me, with hands or with a baton. But at the time I was there, the beatings were no longer so severe. What Mirek Kácha told, for instance, about his interrogation, I did not experience it anymore. At my time, they apparently already had new Soviet methods, relying on sleep deprivation and mental exhaustion."
"For the first time, I was on the front as an ammunition truck driver. This was a huge problem. The boys obviously had only what they could carry, one gun or a machine-gun and a corresponding amount of ammunition. During the attacks up there in the mountains, they always spent all their ammo in an instant. They fired very well, as far as I know, but ran out of ammunition, so what to do now! An order was given for them to retreat, but something like this is always dangerous and this time it did not turn out quite well. When I arrived with my ammo truck to the staff, there was Standa Uchytil, whom I have already known from England and from the Sokol movement, but there was only him with his close staff and a couple of soldiers. The other soldiers, whole companies, were retreating, and retreating more than they were supposed to. Instead of stopping in one place, they continued a bit further. Now, the troops had to get at least to their starting positions. "
"I would like all the present-day and future generations to realize that freedom does not come without sacrifices, I say that every time all over again. The number of victims and the suffering was great. Freedom is not granted. No one can give you the guarantee that some dumb head would not come and brain wash the people, as it happened to us. Freedom has to be defended at all times. Even more so today, in the era of globalization: if freedom is being denied to people in some God forsaken country, it affects us as well. Something needs to be done, we all have to keep this in mind. And not to forget those, who fought for our freedom, defended it, and recovered it."
"At first I was not allowed to sit down, even at times when I was not being interrogated, I had to walk all the time.All day and all night. I tried to count it, it had to be over forty kilometres during one day and night in this small space. My motto was:´Persist!´I was walking from one wall to another and kept repeating to myself: perist, persist, persist! When they let me sit, I tried to mentally disengage from that environment. I was imagining things, making up my own stories, of course with fantasies including girls, too. At first I was afraid to think about my wife, it was too painful, but then you include her in your fantasies as well, and you live by imagining - what will happen when they let you go, what we will do together, what we will not do, how we will live... and I was able to imagine such things only because I managed to disengage from that environment I was in."
"This was my own political idiocy, I acknowledge that. From the times of the First republic, I was used to being indifferent to all political matters, not thinking about it, and this was the outcome of it. Yes, this is the cost of being apolitical. None of the friends I knew from the military academy had any political ambitions whatsoever. All we were striving for was to become experts in our profession. Of course the political issues were affecting us, but we failed to realize that. Those who did realize it left the country. And I, an idiot, stayed here."
Freedom does not come without sacrifices. No one can give you the guarantee that some dumb head would not come and brain wash the people
Tomáš Sedláček was born on January 8th in 1918 in Vienna, he spent his childhood in Spa Toušeň. Studied Military Academy in Hranice in Moravia. Already in 1938 he served as a lieutenant in the Hradec Kralove garrison. In 1940 he escaped through the so called „Balkan” road to France, later he was evacuated to England where he had gone through paratrooper training. In 1944, on the order of the Czech Ministry of National Defense, he was transferred to the eastern front - to Dukla and afterwards to the rear of the enemy to assist on the side of the Slovakian national uprising. After the war he had been active as a Professor at the Military Academy in Prague. In 1951 the late Major Sedláček was detained on account of an alleged conspiracy. He was tortured in the ill-known Little House in the Kapucínská Street in Prague. For nine days and nights Tomáš Sedláček was kept from sleeping, he was forced to walk all that time in the solitary cell. He was convicted to life imprisonment; he had been jailed in the prisons of Valdice, Mírov, Leopoldov, and Bytíz. After the amnesty of 1960 he worked as a mason, later as an assisstant draftsman. Tomáš Sedláček passed away on August, the 27th, 2012.