František Wiendl

* 1923  

  • “Prague was calling out for help. That was the signal for the uprising. Therefore, the resistance group ‘Lidice’ gathered at our place. However, nobody knew what to do since my dad was only returning to Klatovy on May 5 and then he headed directly to the town hall where the headquarters of the uprising had been set up. I was put in charge of the uprising because I knew what had to be done. I knew that we had to take the stadium so we went there. The Germans could have shot us but they didn’t. We came up to them and I had a plan. I told them that the Americans were already close, that I knew it because we had been in touch with them over the radio. I said that it would be wise for them to put down their weapons and in exchange for that we’d grant them free passage to the garrisons. The German unit filed up on the stadium, they laid down their weapons, we collected them and accompanied them to the garrisons. We acquired a lot of weapons from them. Then we went to disarm the machine-gun outposts. From there, we returned with some panzerfausts and heavy machine guns. I send someone to the town hall and they came with truck which we loaded up with the gathered weapons. Then we situation calmed down. Hůrka had been cleared and we waited for the Americans to come.”

  • "We stood at the Boy Scout clubhouse and all of a sudden, the Americans arrived. The tanks were followed by units of infantry. The streets were full of people. It was on May the 5th and lilac was just in blossom, so people threw lilac on the tanks and the soldiers. It was a wonderful, wonderful moment that one can never forget. They reached the square and they began to occupy it, a tank in every street with the gun barrel pointed into the street. But the town had already been cleared, the Americans had no more fighting to do. Of course, a few people had paid with their lives for it."

  • “Among my fellow prisoners was a guy named Procházka who headed towards the East to fight Nazism before the war with Soviet Union broke out. However, as soon as he crossed the border, the Soviets locked him up, labeled him as a spy and sent him to a gulag in Siberia. This guy told us: ‘Boys, you have no idea how horrible that was. This is fun in comparison.’ Back then there were severe frosts, I was writing a construction diary and measuring the temperature. He used to tell us: ‘If the temperature hadn’t dropped to minus fifty we had to work. You won’t believe me but there were cases of cannibalism taking place. Had it not been for general Svoboda, we wouldn’t have survived. Thanks to him we had a hope to sign up, hold out at the front and survive.’”

  • „So I was responsible for Schneider. Therefore I took a map and found a route on it that was suitable for taking across the border. That’s how my border crossings began. I’d always pick a route that I could manage because I didn’t know that region – I’ve never been there. From the map, I took all the information about the terrain. I didn’t walk on the street but through the woods. The crossing was successful – I led him safely into the German village of Jägershof.”

  • "As Prague was permanently calling for help via the broadcast, us – the members of resistance groups – agreed that we'd come to the help of Prague. We were already standing at the square – we had trucks and we climbed up on their platforms. There was plenty of us on each truck. We had weapons - rifles and panzerfausts. We had everything – we got it from the Germans. They practically gave it to us. They could have defended themselves but the army in Klatovy didn't fight anymore, just the NSDAP, who shot five or six people in Klatovy on May the 5th. We stood on the platforms of the trucks and said: 'why aren't we leaving?' They didn't let us go. We were enraged because we found out that the Americans won't let us go to Prague. We were angry at them, we said: 'why won't you let us go?' But they said that they were the army and that they were responsible for the fighting. They said that they had everything under control. Later we learned that there was a demarcation line and that it was their duty to make sure the units wouldn't mix, so thy left the liberation of Prague to the Russians who arrived there on May the 9th."

  • “On November 20, 1949, they were taking a group of seven people across the border. Among them were General Podlezl and the traitor Basák. Wiendl and Prantl had borrowed a larger car and were coming alone from Klatovy. The plan was to pick up the group on the way to Beňovy. Already on the way from Klatovy, Mr. Wiendl noticed a suspicious black BMW. He knew for sure that it belonged to the StB. They had a cover story ready for this mission – they would claim that they were out to get some apples. They picked up the group and handed them over to agent Alois Suttý, who led them across the border. Everything went according to plan. However, on the way back, they were stopped on the red traffic lights in Klatovy and the car was surrounded by secret police agents. The agents knew about them and after they asked for their names, they arrested them and took them to the police station.”

  • “I remember the case of Mr. Sekyra. His brother used to visit us every day. Mr. Sekyra was also a member of the Úvod resistance organization. He got arrested and in three weeks his family was notified that he died and that they should go get his clothing. Mr. Sekyra’s brother who was along with my father a member of a singing and theatre club, was rather weak and probably feared he wouldn’t be able to carry all the stuff. So he asked my dad to allow me to accompany him and help him out. We arrived to the Gestapo entrance hall in Klatovy. There was a long table there with an SS-officer sitting at one side and just having lunch. We told him we were there to get Mr. Sekyra’s stuff. On the other side of the table there was a small bundle. He just nodded his head that way, I took the bundle and we left. It was all that was left after Mr. Sekyra.”

  • “My father was in Russia at the time when the Great October Revolution broke out in 1917. He saw a great deal of atrocities that people committed during the revolution. For example, he’d always tell us the story about a factory owner who was spilled with asphalt, covered with feathers and carried around the town exposed on a cart. Or about a guy whose belly had been cut open, filled with straw and burned. So he’d always say: ‘God forbid that this Bolshevism makes it here’.”

  • “The next day, we broke through to the old complex of corridors – we used to call them ‘stařiny’. These were shafts where they used to mine for silver. I said to Franta that we’ll run away. So we began to plan our escape. Our mine was very rich in uranium and we’d have easily managed to surpass the plan by 200%. However, all we cared about was how to run away and therefore we only worked as much as was needed in order to fulfill the plan to a 100%. A friend of us who was also sentenced to compulsory work in the mines had access to material and was supplying us with planks. We built kind of ladders from the planks in the chimneys that were part of the old-corridor complex. The chimneys were about 30 meters high. The ladder was supposed to help us on the escape to be quick and to gain a head start.”

  • “We marched in a bunch, passing through the main stadium gate and then continuing towards the building which we used as a summer gym. This is where the German soldiers were. As we approached them, two or three officers got up and went to meet us. They let us get near the building and then asked us what we wanted. I told them: ‘Look, the Americans are close by, there is an uprising in Klatovy and there is no point in you resisting. If you hand over your weapons we ensure to accompany you through the town towards the barracks where you shall be accommodated. Give the weapons to us.’ The commander had the platoon lined up and put their rifles in a coach box. Our people then took the weapons, encircled the German soldiers and brought them to the barracks.”

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    Klenová, Harant, 09.12.2010

    duration: 03:35:43
    media recorded in project Iron Curtain Stories
  • 2

    Praha, 17.11.2013

    duration: 02:24:56
    media recorded in project Stories of the 20th Century TV
Full recordings are available only for logged users.

Death to Communism!

A contemporary picture - after his release from prison
A contemporary picture - after his release from prison
photo: archiv pamětníka

František Wiendl was born on December 31, 1923, in Klatovy. His father, František Wiendl senior, was a carpenter. He was imprisoned by the Russians in the time of the First World War and he witnessed the October revolution of 1917 in Russia. This first-hand experience deeply influenced the stance of the family towards Communism. During WWII, the father and the son got involved in the resistance activities against the Nazi occupants. The father of František was a member of the resistance organization ÚVOD. Unlike his friends, he was lucky and wasn’t revealed and arreseted by the Germans. After the Germans burned down the village of Lidice, he founded his own resistance organization and named it Lidice to honor the memory of the village. His son was also involved in the organization. The bulk of the activities of the organization consisted of financial contributions to the families of those who had been arrested by the Nazis. They also distributed leaflets and gathered weapons and material that they wanted to use in the event of an uprising. The group later joined the greater organization Niva that received its instructions from the oversea Council of the tree - a channel to maintain contact with the abroad. The uprising broke out by the very end of the war in May 1945. The resistance fighters disarmed the German soldiers in the city even before the advent of the American army. Mr. Wiendl became a mason and he studied the technical college of construction in the time of the Protectorate. After the war (1945-1947), he did his basic military service and he attended a school for reserve officers.  The rise of the Communists to power and the death of Jan Masaryk led the Wiendl family and their friends from the war to join the so-called “third resistance” against the Communists. At first, they focused mainly on writing anti-Communist slogans and distributing leaflets. Since April 1949, they were also guiding fugitives across the border and they were in touch with agent-walker Alois Suttý. The group was broken up in successive steps. At first, František Wiendl and a fellow associate were betrayed and arrested in November 1949. The rest of the group, including František Wiendl senior and agent Suttý, was arrested in the spring of 1950. The trial was held in December 1950. Agent Suttý was sentenced to death and executed, Mr. Wiendl senior was sentenced to 25 years in prison and Mr. Wiendl junior to 18 years in prison for treason. František Wiendl junior was imprisoned in the Jáchymov region (Eliáš, Nikolaj, „L” in Vykmanov, Rovnost, camp „C”) and since 1956 in the Pankrác prison, where he worked in the project design department, drawing up proposals of state construction projects. He continued in this profession even after he was released in 1960 and he sticked with this job till his retirement. In the present day, he is active in the Sokol and in the Confederation of political prisoners. He is the president of the Confederation in Klatovy.