* 1927 †︎ 2017
“The bunker was completely empty, much to the surprise of us and the civilian [who accompanied us]. It was an old bunker, but there was a couch there for someone to sleep on. And beyond the bunker there was a meadow stretching out down the hill, closed off on each side by the forest with a cabin at its foot. And so our commander and the boys set up the machine gun, got it running, and then he said we’d outflank them - we’d surround them to close them off. The company commander, some other boys and I stayed at the top, and we noticed there was a mortar there, set up to be used, whereas the Germans were having a snack, smoking, or something. It was March, you could see far and wide, there was a beautiful view of Vrútky, Váh, the German cars zooming along below - like on a postcard. And as they closed in on the cabin, something cracked, one German ran out, got all the rest of them on their feet, they didn’t even have time to take their things when they saw our scouts with their SMGs on the edge of the forest. They legged it quick, haversacks flying around their heads.”
“The Jew was called Vlk, he had a daughter, a wife, and they owned a general store. And seeing that he knew that the Germans were eliminating the Jews, he dug a hole for himself in the National House - I don’t know if someone helped him - right under the stage. In the peace years we’d used it to rehearse theatre plays, both us children and adults, or for sports. There was a door on the side of the stage, and that’s where they had their dugout. He only came out at night, for food and the such. There was a Czech house next to them, but no one told on them, because everyone felt sorry for them.”
“So this Hrouda was issued grenades and ammunition, he swore like a pagan, he was spitting with rage, nervous, and injured to boot, he’d had his shoulder shot. You could tell he wanted to have his revenge on the Fritz when he alone went back for the bullets - he had no other way how to decide, seeing that we didn’t have a single commander there. Well, so this Hrouda from the second battalion crawled all the way up to the Germans and threw the grenade straight into the bunker [where the machine gunner was]. But the first grenade didn’t do anything, it didn’t kill him, because he kept on firing. So [Hrouda] stood up right in front of him, lobbed a grenade in, and let himself get shot.”
Není z nahrávky patrné, 28.10.2006
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Heroism is when someone does something useful for other people while protecting himself
Vladimír Šrajter was born on 22 June 1927 in the village of Mirohošť in Volhynia, under Polish rule. He experienced both the Soviet and the German occupation, and at the age of sixteen he joined the Czechoslovak army, where he served as a radio operator. Towards the end of the war he also functioned as a scout. He took part in the Carpatho-Dukla Operation. After the war he remigrated to Czechoslovakia and worked as a farmer. Vladimír Šrajter passed away on July, the 30th, 2017.