“It was quite a strict regime. Political commissars had a great influence in the army. It didn’t concern me, though. I was a commander. When I got there from the academy I’d already been a battery commander. Then I became division commander, I commanded a non-commissioned officer school, I was always commanding. And I always had some political commissar behind my back who had no responsibility but had influence, he was supposed to provide counsel. It was annoying me. Many times I ended up in disagreement with them. I was telling myself, if the party and the government trust me, then why is there someone guarding me, right? These political commissars weren’t really helping with the training or education. He just went to present some political news or to read some scripts that no one understood, and the soldiers just slept through it. When I was arguing that I needed them for training we would get into conflicts. Yes, in sixty-eight there were talks about separation. But then August came and it got possibly even worse in some ways. I was in conflict with them till the end. In that division in Stará Boleslav I also had some conflicts with a political commissar.”
“The following day, the 26th of April, Klenčí was bombed, unfortunately. It’s a town three kilometres away. It was bombed because a small unit about the size of a company was hiding there. They were American ground attack pilots who were destroying locomotives and trains. They were returning to Germany to their own base, which is where they got attacked by the Russian Liberation Army. So they turned around and the rest of what they had, bombs, they threw all of that at Klenčí and bombed it into pieces. My older sister was coincidentally serving there and our parents were worried that she would get killed so they told me: “Hurry up, go there!” So I went to Klenčí. Everything was burning there. Over fifty buildings burned down, the old city hall burned down, and so did the clergy house and other sites. Luckily, I found my sister hiding in a cellar and she was fine.”
“My father would send me daily into the forest in Díly, saying that Americans would soon be there. And they were. On the first of May, when I arrived to Díly, the village right here above us, Americans were indeed coming. Besides me there were many curious people from Postřekov. But when the Americans were on their way to Díly from Germany, they were driving jeeps and combat vehicles… the first one passed and the second one rode onto a bridge full of mines. The bridge blew up and five American soldiers were killed. The American unit expected resistance but there were no German soldiers left, they had withdrawn the day before, and the Americans were welcome by the mayor and girls in traditional costumes, so the Americans were taken by surprise. They welcomed them with saying “You are in Czechoslovakia.” So they spoke to their superordinates and said, OK, we can’t go any further. Eventually the locals convinced them to go to Postřekov to arrest or destroy German soldiers who were there. I used to pass them and I knew where they were so we led the American soldiers to them. They arrested the German soldiers, those didn’t even pose any resistance, they had their hands up, just plain surrendering to the Americans…”
Political commissars had a great influence in the army
Václav Volfík was born in Postřekov on the 19th of September 1930. His father was a bricklayer’s labourer. Václav learned German in school during the war since his home village became a part of the Reich. After finishing school he became a coachbuilder’s apprentice in a nearby village in Bavaria. He witnessed the death marches in Postřekov in April 1945 and participated in the liberation manoeuvers with the American army. Between the years 1949 and 1952 he studied at military schools in Mladá Boleslav and Hranice na Moravě. He became a professional soldier and led an artillery regiment in Klatovy. After his promotion to a Major Václav left for a study stay in Leningrad for a year. He became an expert in missile technology and with his soldiers he helped built the first missile base in Slovakia. Between the years 1962 and 1972 he led a missile unit in Holýšov, after which he was transferred to Lysá nad Labem and became the leading officer of the local missile base. From 1982 he worked at the Ministry of Defence in Prague, retired in 1989 and returned to Postřekov, where he founded the so called Hall of Tradition.