“Suddenly we heard that everything had loosed. And people were slowly lining up and I was somewhere and had to go back and they ordered me: ‘Start working, start working!‘ And I said: ‘No, I´m going to see the boys.‘ And so I went to see them to the courtyard by the first gate, everyone was already standing there, so I changed my clothes and followed them. And we were standing and waiting by the gate which they did not want to open. The gatekeepers did not want to open the first gate. Well and they also took photos of us standing and waiting there, some people hid their faces, we did not know how it would end, it was still quite unclear. And the gate finally opened and I said: ‘Here we are now!‘ It was my idea and imagine… We were shouting: ‘Here we are now!‘ Everyone in the parade was shouting! ‘Here we are now!‘ when we were coming to the square from the Škoda company.”
“The worst thing about it was that I had to learn everything by heart. They forced me and forced me. I spent about a month here in Pilsen and then they transported me to Prague. They put me in cell twenty-nine at Pankrác Prison and I spent there almost four months in solitary confinement. A month in solitary confinement in Pilsen and four months in solitary confinement in Prague. Those were ugly days, seven steps forward and seven steps back. A person left only with his own thoughts. Then they told me the date of the trial. The Supreme Military Court judged me. It was about military things that I had no clue about. I had to testify there. I came there and saw it. There was a tall thin prosecutor there and also three men who looked quite dark-skinned to me. But I am not a racist, it does not matter. And I had to testify there, I had an ex officio defence attorney who I had not even spoken to before. Youthful indiscretion etc., it was my defence and Mr Marčan was invited and testified in court (and said) that I invited him to my place... It is really hard for me to say... (he said) that I asked him if he had any military equipment. For example, some guns or missiles or something like that. (That) if he knew something about a bazooka, I would get it over the border. Well and that is when I resisted.”
“I and my wife woke up. (We heard) knocking and ringing. About six State Security officers came and searched our whole apartment. They searched it and arrested me. They threw me into a car and drove me to a waterfront, to the building where the Police headquarters is located now, it was on Denis Waterfront. Well, I was in a cell there excepting what was going to happen. They let me cool down there a little and then it started. The result was that they made me, for the sake of the cause, they made me memorize my speech which I would give in court. It repeated over and over again. The State Security officers also changed during that time. One of them was also Tichý. And he told me: ‘I am Tichý, you are Tichý and look where you are and where I am.‘“
“We dug out the dead and put them in simple wooden coffins. We then dug in Doubravka, in Spolková Street because there was also strike there. We gradually dug the dead out. They suddenly transferred us, our bereitschaft how it was called. We were transferred and arrived in American Street, at the school there and there were some machine guns dug up and we were cleaning them there because the Americans were approaching and we were quickly preparing the guns for our people. And when we were done, each of us got a gun, some cartridges and we went to the city in case anybody needed anything. They put ribbons and tricolours on our caps, tricolours on our arms, and that is how we first met the Americans.”
Seven steps forward, seven steps back, left only with my own thoughts
Václav Tichý was born on 7 September 1927 in Sokolov, however, he grew up in Pilsen where his parents moved when he was four years old. After elementary school, he started to study at boys´ real grammar school but he had to leave the studies in his last year. Due to the oncoming end of the war and the increasing number of air raids, he was sent to forced labours in German air defence organization Luftschutz. As a seventeen-year-old, he and his schoolmates operated in debris clearing operations, including the recovery of the dead from the debris. He helped as an armed student guard in Pilsen streets during May 1945 and he witnessed the arrival of units of the American army. After the war, he returned to school and passed his secondary-school leaving exam. He had a hard time with the beginning of the Communist government in 1948 and decided to leave the Republic. However, he was arrested at the boarders and spent three months in prison. As Václav was politically untrustworthy, he had to join the Technical auxiliary battalions during his military service. He there allegedly committed military espionage. Shortly after, he was arrested and investigated by State Security, with whom he signed a cooperation agreement under pressure. He repeatedly and purposely broke the oath of silence related to the signing of the cooperation. He was sentenced to serve four years by the Supreme Military Court and he spent two years in Pankrác prison. He was released after two years after the revision of the sentence. For a long time, he could not find a job appropriate to his education and he worked as an auxiliary worker in the Škoda company in Pilsen. After some time, he passed welding exams and he worked in the Škoda company until his retirement. He and other workers from the Škoda company in Pilsen took part in demonstrations in November 1989. He was a long-time member of the Confederation of Political Prisoners. Václav Tichý died on 27 September 2021.