Antonín Souček

* 1927  †︎ 2010

  • "In Chrudim we lived right in the centre of the town, and there was a ban on leaving the army premises, and what not, and me and Jirka Rolec - there was a nationalist socialist convention then, in 1948 - ran away and stayed there for two days. They locked me up for that and then I was dismissed from school and transferred to the reserve regiment in České Budějovice. That was my punishment. I did not even complete my studies. We anticipated the coup in February and even looked forward to it, to put it down by force, but instead I was disarmed and transferred to the reserve regiment, where I served only as a sentry."

  • "Back then, I used to believe that we should have defended our country in 1938, but today I think it would have been useless nonetheless, for it would be pure massacre, a massacre of our people. I considered it as treason, by France and England...if they had entered the war immediately, I mean France, England, Poland, all these countries of the Little Entente, together with Russia...the Germans would have never been able to do what they have done. We discussed this in prison, too, and we agreed it was a treason."

  • "There was snow, drifts of snow, and we passed through Lenora, since I stayed at my brother´s place in Záťoň at that time...we crossed the border close to some German settlement, and then the Americans came for us. There were four of us, two of them still live there today and they have a wonderful time there, both high-ranking military officials, retired...These two are Pepík Vítovec from Čkyně and Franta Maršák from Dolany. We all wanted either to Amerika or Australia, but after the February 1948 no one could get anywhere, so I ran away from Germany from the camp to France, where I then worked in steelworks."

  • My case was then transferred to the military court in Pankrác, there were two military courts, and before the sentence was read, the ex offo lawyer came to me and asked me what sentence I was expecting to get. I told him: “Well, for illegal leaving the country, they used to lock people up for a night and then let them go the day after, so for myself, I don’t know, what I will get…” He was listening to me, there was some thief and his lawyer was sitting next to him. He would have rather got the thief than me. I told him that I didn’t care, that I didn’t give a damn whether they assigned a lawyer to me or not. He looked at me and exclaimed: “What are you talking about? You got two death penalties by hanging, one for section 2, the other for section 6, and you are saying you don’t give a damn about it! What if they give you the death sentence?” I replied, “Ok, then they will give it to me, I don’t care.” But I really did not care at all, I did not care about it, and I wasn’t worried by it at all at that moment. And then came the trial and the judge whom I got – there were two judges, one, giving death sentences and life imprisonment almost to everyone, and the other who was more lenient. This second judge sentenced me to eight years of heavy jail, plus every second and sixth month of the year on a hard bed in a dark solitary cell.

  • "I served as a partisan intermediary to general Sucharda, between Vodňany and Strakonice, that´s what I did. I think Sucharda was the commander of the Vimperk garrison, and he lived in the Panuška villa...Yes, I was proud of it, I was in the Sokol movement and I felt honoured that they assigned me with such a task, to go to Vodňany or Strakonice and deliver the message at the proper place and then come back with the reply...I was never afraid...The end of the war found me in Husinec - we, so-called partisans, had assigned positions to guard, especially on the entry roads to the town, and I remember I seized the greatest convoy, which was passing through Husinec to Vimperk, and the general was there, and he let me hold on to his personal car all the way through Husinec and drove me towards Vimperk. I still remember it very vividly today."

  • “It was difficult to get accepted to Zlín, you had to take exams. I passed, but I did not get in due to a high number of applicants, so I began apprenticeship in the Husinec town hall to become a waiter. In 1941 I got a letter from Zlín asking me whether I was still interested, that one position became opened. So I enrolled immediately. The situation in Zlín was a bit worse than in the military service, they had teams, and each team had its leader, every room had its room-leader…just like in the army. Then in 1945 I joined the army, and it seemed easy compared to Zlín. It all depended on the person, what he wanted and how he wanted – you could even achieve a doctorate or a professorship there, anything, but you needed the will to do it. I attended a technical school, and in the evenings I went to an evening export business school, but I did not finish it, because, as I said, after the bombardment I went to Husinec and then came back only for a short time. During the day I was working, I did everything, and in the afternoon I would go to school. As for the salary, we all had such a notebook, each of us would get his salary, then note all the expenses – for washing, for everything – into the book, and save the rest in a bank. I think something like that would be useful even today; such a system would serve well every young man. It was a very good system, it taught us to save money, to live well, to behave, and to enjoy ourselves, in sports and in any other way.”

  • "At that time I believed that they would call me and send me do some intelligence work there again... I would not say I was too mature in political opinions then, but for the republic I was willing to do anything... One day they came, telling me they would send me to Czechoslovakia, to give me an amnesty in a way. So I travelled here, with another guy, I forgot his name, but he came from Děčín...Everything went fine at the border in Cheb, I arrived to Zátoň, visited my brother and sister there, and the next morning the police came for me, they put me to jail at the airport in Budějovice, and from there I was transferred to Prague, to the "Domeček" to Loreta, and that was the end of it."

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    Vimperk, 15.10.2007

    duration: 01:48:08
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
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Vaš, the interrogator, told me: Look, I´ve already hung two people, and you will be the third one, you will either hang or we will shoot you

photo: archiv pamětníka

Antonín Souček was born March 22nd, 1927 in Husinec (Prachatice district). He had five brothers and one sister. At the age of nine, his father died; Souček lost his mother two years later and was sent for education to the convent of the school sisters in Vodňany. He finished local elementary school and then applied for the Baťa factory in Zlín, but due to a high number of applicants he was accepted no earlier than in 1941. During the bombardment of Zlín, Souček returned to Husinec, where he was helping a local partisan unit as an intermediary. After the war he went back to Zlín, but joined the army shortly afterwards. He studied a two-year flying academy in Chrudim where the students were being prepared for service in air force regiments. The coup d´état of February 1948 found him as a cadet at this school, and Souček then decided to leave the country. He crossed the border in the Šumava mountains together with two friends. He was taken to a refugee camp near Dortmund, from where he fled to France. There he struggled along, worked on a farm for some time, but eventually decided to return home. Immediately after his return he was arrested, and since he had still been an army cadet at the time of his escape, he was escorted to the military detention facility, the infamous “domeček” (little house) in Praha-Hradčany. He was sentenced to eight years of imprisonment, which he spent in the Bory prison, the camps in Jáchymov and in various other locations. Souček was released in 1954.