Milan Štryncl

* 1938

  • “It woke me up at about four o'clock, boom, boom, boom. We lived in Pavlovice na Borovém vrchu, we turned on the radio and they said that there was an invasion of Soviet troops. So I said that I was going to see work, assembly plants, that was in Rybníček. So I walked all the way along what was then General Svoboda avenue past Zhořelecká street and tanks were driving there. That was a column of tanks that was going. When I got down to Frýdlantská street, it was already jammed there, because as they turned past the town hall in 5. května street, there was something there. I slowly passed them, I had already heard some shooting. I came to the square, it was buzzing, there was scaffolding at the town hall, so the guys were throwing something there. Sometimes they shot something into the air. So I came down there, some were already there before six o'clock and Jindra Kuliš came there, he lived opposite the assembly plants. He was not in the military and he was an excellent designer. He came and asked, so we told him that the tanks were driving along General Svoboda Avenue and continuing on to Prague. He had never seen them and said he would go and have a look. I said that there was a roar and there were occasional shots, and they were already starting to report that someone had been injured. He left, we were complaining in the projection center, what kind of crap is this and if someone is going to protect us or if we should defend ourselves. We listened to the radio where they said to keep calm. And suddenly we heard that Jindra had been shot. So, he went there, poor boy, to die. Then we went to look there, he was there on the right side of the town hall, where you go to the cellar to the pub. There was scaffolding, he was pressed against the door there, and the tube was shot through at an angle, it means it didn't bounce, but it really had a lot of power and he got it, just as he was sideways, so it cut his ID completely, it was shot through. He got it and practically died there.'

  • "Because we were a combat unit, we went to morning, afternoon and night shifts and then we had the whole day off. We had coffee there, some chocolate, just to keep us awake. Now some politruk (political commissar) came there, he was surprised that we had the whole day off, and immediately he was going to give us some exercises. He planned a march for us, took us somewhere and we were supposed to return. We went into the first pub, the Slovaks were friendly, they gave us buns with bacon inside. Everyone had some kind of vineyard there, so we hung around there and in short we got nowhere. Then they drove cars and looked for us. So we decided, I, as a Lance Corporal, led the whole group. They quickly loaded us up and drove us back. We immediately went to the hall, they took our headphones. They didn't do anything to us at all, but they fired the politruk because the combat regime was disturbed, no reports were made, no information was given about the planes, and he kept us busy with some kind of exercise. They even rewarded us for coming and joining the service.”

  • "We saw a lot of death marches going under the castle. It was endless, [people] walked for like an hour. Some were barefoot, some walked lightly. Sometimes we heard shooting, when they were walking between the houses and someone wanted to run away. They then left the body there. Our parents were worried about us and didn't want us to throw anything to the prisoners. Some went there, sometimes they gave them some bread or food when the guards weren't looking, because there wasn't much escort. The Germans must have had enough too.'

  • Full recordings
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    Liberec, 06.02.2022

    duration: 01:49:11
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
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Occupation, Liberec, day one. And suddenly they said on the radio that Jindra had been shot

Milan Štryncl in 1942
Milan Štryncl in 1942
photo: archive of the witness

Milan Štryncl was born on August 30, 1938 in Liberec. Since both his father and his grandfather were important Sokol officials and his grandfather was also a legionnaire, the family decided to leave the troubled borderlands after the announcement of the Munich Agreement and take refuge at their relatives in Mnichovo Hradiště. There they lived through the entire war, including its dramatic end, when Milan Štryncl witnessed the death marches. In August 1945, the Štryncls returned to Liberec and the grandfather Martin Štryncl restored the local Sokol. Little Milan, on the other hand, was more fascinated by the surrounding hills and became a passionate skier. After completing the elementary school, he went to Teplice, where he learned to be a precision gauge toolmaker. In 1957, he entered basic military service as a radio operator at the air defense in Zvolen and after its completion he worked as a developer. In addition, he was actively involved in sports, played volleyball, trained juniors and liked to ski. In August 1968, he witnessed the dramatic invasion of Warsaw Pact troops into Liberec. Occupation troops killed his friend Jindřich Kuliš near the Liberec town hall. After the fall of the communist regime in 1989, the witness decided to restore the Sokol in Liberec-Františkov and is still an active member. In 2022 he lived in Liberec.