Colonel (ret.) Emil Šneberg

* 1931

  • “We cleared it all and when the Germans were no longer there, we were able to build the barricade. The first barricade that was built was made from trams. The second barricade was close to our house, another was near Cihelna, another next to the hotel Czech Crown, another next to Vlasta. They even pulled out train cars from the railway station and moved them to that factory there. The commander of the barricade which was made from trams was František Mareš. My father was in charge of the barricade near house n. 425, where we were. The daughter of the house owner, who took part in it with us, still lives there. His name, Melichar, is included in the list, and all his family took part as well. Then Mr. Kšír was in charge of the barricade near Cihelna. Pujman was at the barricade by the hotel Czech Crown, and Švarc was at the barricade near Vlasta.”

  • [Interviewer: “Which air raid did you experience? The one on Prague in February?”] “What they say about this February air raid is all crap. About it being done by mistake – no way, it was at twelve o’clock, at noon, and the sky was clear, there was not a single cloud. They carried out the bombing, all the crews, counting six hundred people, and they are saying there were not able to see it on the radar? What was the radar for, then? They could see clearly from nine thousand metres, they could see everything spread nicely below them. Nobody could convince me that… The sky was clear, there was just a light snow cover. Before, on the thirteenth, from ten o’clock – we lived on the outskirts of Prague, and we could thus see that the northern part… an air raid warning was declared at fifty minutes, and sirens sounded. We were outside; we didn’t use any shelter, we would always go out to the fields. And in the north we saw a blaze, it looked the same as when they opened the ironworks in Kladno; you could always see some blaze over the city of Kladno.” [Interviewer: “So you were able to see it from Vokovice?”] “You could see the blaze over Dresden from there, as if the sky was on fire, it was ten o’clock and they were dropping lighting parachutes, and the blaze was very well visible. There were three air raids in a row, they woke us several times at night, and sirens sounded at ten or eleven, and we rushed outside. Out to the fields, as father told us: ´Get out of the house, do not go inside. The house will get hit.´”

  • “We also found cables there, which ran to the cloakroom of the French restaurant, and a timer which was set to three o’clock. It was a black device, with preset time. I called my father who went to look at it and told me: ´Don’t touch anything, because this is ready to blow up.´ He removed the cables from it and disconnected the device. We went to see where the cables led, and we discovered that they were placed in green boxes, with cables attached, and we therefore disconnected them. We carried some of it outside to the observation area; there was a red garage. It was open and inside we found cartridges for machine guns and air cannons and bombs. We carried all of it to another place. Then we went up to the control tower, I looked into the log book with flight records and we found out that they had taken off from there half an hour ago.”

  • “Kimi Walló lived in the same house. The name doesn’t ring a bell to you, but he was a film translator, and his daughter, Olga Walló carried on with this, she was translating foreign films. He came for us around ten o’clock in the morning, we were at home and he said: ´Guys, take a stepladder and let’s go repainting.´ I asked: ´What are we going to repaint?´ - ´Just get some paint and let’s go.´ So we went out with a can of paint and we were covering the German signs in the streets. We were walking there almost until twelve or quarter past twelve and we were covering the signs, and nobody noticed us. The trams were running, and they already had Czechoslovak flags displayed on the front, as you can see here. They already had flags at that time.”

  • “Meanwhile, my brother and I went to the dog kennel. There were no dogs there anymore, but we found two rifles and about 60 cartridges for them there. Two mausers, ’98s. They stored masks and helmets there, two pieces each, there was nothing else. They left it there and they were now hiding in those buildings. The dog kennel was located further away from the living quarters. There were narrow grey cabinets, and they kept all of it in there: helmets, cartridges, and workers’ overalls. We wrapped the rifles in these overalls and we walked back around the grove, brought it home and we were thus armed.”

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    Praha, 26.04.2013

    duration: 01:54:33
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
  • 2

    Praha, 12.02.2014

    duration: 01:23:04
    media recorded in project The Stories of Our Neigbours
Full recordings are available only for logged users.

That the young people learn how it was and do not get lured by deceitful talk

Emil Šneberg (c) Lukáš Žentel 2013
Emil Šneberg (c) Lukáš Žentel 2013
photo: Lukáš Žentel

  Emil Šneberg was born September 8, 1931 in Prague. His father, who had been a pilot in the Austria-Hungarian army and a WWI veteran, was raising his children in a military fashion. Until the Second World War, the family lived next to the barracks in Prague-Ruzyně and the father ran a shop in the nearby airport. During the war, the Šneberg family lived in the Vokovice neighbourhood, where they had to move after the Ruzyně barracks had been taken by the German army. Emil took active part in numerous actions during the Prague Uprising alongside his father. They were repainting German signs in the streets, monitoring the Germans who were leaving the airport, confiscating weapons and demining the airport. They even deactivated a time-bomb at the airport. They were involved in the last skirmish with Germans who were hiding in the Šárka Valley. They helped to build the barricades and his father was a commander on one of them. When the war was over, Emil and his father were decorated by President Edvard Beneš with the Czechoslovak War Cross for their bravery. Emil joined the army after the war and graduated from the military air force academy. He spent his active duty years in the fighter corps, in Prague as well as in other locations. After withdrawing from active duty, he completed his military career as the head of staff of the air force in Prague, where he served until his retirement. He is now an active member of the Czechoslovak Union of Freedom Fighters.