Ing. František Wretzl

* 1919  †︎ 2013

  • "So they dragged me away from the wall and two guys stepped behind my back. One of them held a rubber truncheon in his hand, a sort-of a stick for beating people. The other one had a piece of rope. They ordered me to bend over and then the beating started. Blows rained down on me from all sides. I have no idea how many times they struck me before I began to acoustically express myself. But then I thought to myself I would not let them derive any pleasure from the beating so I tried to keep it down as much as possible. Then they hogtied me which means that you had to bend over, put your arms behind your knees and they would handcuff you in this position. At first I thought: 'that's not too bad'. But after a while, the blood from your legs drains away and you start losing your balance. You're barely able to continue standing on your feet and you are in risk of falling down. You also sweat and the sweat drops down on the floor. The Gestapo man would come and tell me: 'that's nothing, it has to become a sea of sweat'. I began to sway like in a pendulum. I figured whether my head would hit the sink or the closet when I fall down. Finally, the Gestapo man came and unlocked the handcuffs. Then the real pain began. It hurts like hell when your heart pumps the blood back into your legs. It's as if a thousand tiny needles dipped into your flesh. So that really was a very special experience."

  • "They were using a lot of concrete there, a lot of construction was going on. They herded us on that site but didn't tell us what to do. I just stood and stared there which is always dangerous for an inmate. So I asked the elders what to do. They told me to get a plank and to run from point A to point B with that plank as quickly as I could. It had to look like someone is in great need of that plank right at that moment. Then, when nobody was looking, I was supposed to take a rest and then to repeat this over and over again. So for the next few days, I'd run around like a madman with a plank."

  • "I told these Scouts to give the Germans some tea if it got cold. One of the SS man finished his tea and asked whose mess tin it was. The boy who owned the mess tin was 15 years old and later on in the war, he became a pilot. He was a great guy. He said: 'mine'. The SS man looked inside the mess tin and complained that the mess tin was dirty. 'So go and wash it!', said the boy. I froze and waited for things to happen. The boy took the mess tin from the German and while he was firmly looking into his eyes, he threw it into the pond in a scorning manner. I had no idea what the German would do. He could have beaten him up or even shoot him. But he was apparently so perplexed that he didn't do anything."

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    Praha, Školská. U pamětníka doma, 16.12.2011

    duration: 03:28:27
    media recorded in project A Century of Boy Scouts
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Life is a game and Scouting gives rules to that game

Wretzl orez.jpg (historic)
Ing. František Wretzl
photo: dobové:archiv pamětníka, současné: Jan Havelka

  František Wretzl, called Baron by his Scout nick name, was born at the dawn of the First Czechoslovak Republic in 1919. In the 1930s, he joined the Catholic Scout troop “Legio Angelica” of Pater Metod Klement”. In the autumn of 1938, he actively supported and aided Bohemian refugees fleeing from the Sudetenland. During the war, he got involved in the resistance movement being a member of the revolutionary Scout troops. For his resistance activities in the Scout, he was arrested by the Gestapo and interrogated for a month in the infamous so-called „pečkárna” (the Petschek Palace, which became the headquarters of the Prague Gestapo – note by the translator). Since August 1944 till April 1945, he was held imprisoned in Theresienstadt, later in Flossenbürg and Lengenfeld. He managed to escape from a death march and took part in the Prague uprising. After the war, he worked in foreign trade and packaging technologies. Currently, he’s a member of the Svojsík troop of honor.