Bedřich Zavadil

* 1922

  • “I was walking through the park and all of a sudden I heard a Russian passing me by. He had a sub-machine gun. As he spotted me he started shouting in German: 'Hände hoch.' ('Hands up.') I said to myself that he was a German. But he thought that I was a German because of my blue uniform. And when I heard him clicking with his sub-machine gun, I ran away into an alleyway. Just in time – the Russian stated shooting at me.”

  • “What we couldn't get used to was tea served with milk. Tea or coffee with milk is a run-off-the-mill. We got used to it so much that when we came to Prague, we asked cooks for milk both in Karlín and in Ruzyně. They used to exaggerate: ´Well, so buy it then or go back to England.´”

  • “They were threatening me that if I didn't come for a medical check-up and for recruitment, then I'd have to pay 100,000 Czech Crowns fine and that the police will take me to the Employment Office. I was checked up by a doctor there, without any stripping up to the waist – in my coat. Simply I had all my papers ready beforehand and I went off.”

  • “We took no interest in what we were building. Only later we got to know that it should have been Hitles's tent. Bunkers were also being built there. We were there for a long time. It was a great valley, we used to go about 14 kilometers to Margivall every day. We worked 12 hours a day: from seven in the morning till seven in the evening. Night shifts lasted also 12 hours. There were no weekends at all.”

  • “It was after the German capitulation. We were still in England. Local officers were persuading us that if we liked it there we could stay and we would get the citizenship. Guys asked what our jobs would be. Supposedly some manual work until there were available jobs corresponding to our qualifications.”

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    Byt Bedřicha Zavadila, Olomouc - Černovír, 28.05.2003

    duration: 25:38
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
Full recordings are available only for logged users.

We took no interest in what we were building Only later we got to know it should have been Hitler’s tent

photo: Soukromý archiv Bedřicha Zavadila

Bedřich Zavadil was born on February 9th, 1922 in Olomouc - Černovír. He worked in Letňany till 1942. Thanks to the intercession of his superior (and a local confidant at the same time) he managed to avoid forced labor twice. For the third time, he was forced to leave for France where he participated in pitching up Hitler’s tent and building his bunker. He was forced to do labor in Belgium as well. He and some of his co-workers attempted to escape from there. However, after a short imprisonment he got to the Czechoslovak troops due to which he managed to sail away to Britain. He was accepted to training there and consequently to the service with RAF as a wireless operator. Nevertheless, he took no action in combat any more. He returned to Czechoslovakia to his birthplace in Olomouc - Černovír after the war. In spite of the chance to serve in the Army he decided for a civilian job. He wasn’t persecuted by the Communist regime anyhow.