Václav Kytl

* 1928

  • My credo is that if we want to live we have to know our roots. We have to treasure our Czech nationality. Not in nationalism, but in preserving traditions. It seems to be disappearing nowadays. The nation, or people do not know where their roots are. We should look for the good, not the bad, because otherwise we will never put it together. I want to live like a Christian and we say: Love your neighbor like you love yourself.”

  • “My wife’s father had a farm and an inn near Sušice. He had a photo with a lady that I liked. … I didn’t believe him at first. Near Sušice. A blonde guy. He could come from a mixed family. Sometimes those people are not very good. But we were still friends. He told me that she worked in Karlovy Vary in the Porcela company as a typist, and that she could write in shorthand. I didn’t want to waste my time in prison. I tried to study anytime I could. A certain teacher named Trum was arrested with me. They were giving five years that day and he got five years. He taught me shorthand. And I thought that we could exchange letters in shorthand. It wouldn’t otherwise be possible, but good civil men make it possible for us. It began in Eliáš and then in Mariánské. Then they sent us to Slavkov. the lady knew that my name was Václav and that I had curly hair. And you wouldn’t believe, but they found me. They released me from correction after Stalin’s death in 1953, my future wife came to see me on 15th November 1953. Until then, she didn’t know what I look like. I knew what she looked like. We were allowed some visits, so I sent her an invitation and she came as a cousin. She had to behave like a cousin, and we kissed each other. When she came home, her mother said: ‘The first one you see and you kiss him right away. You must apologize.’”

  • “You won’t get anywhere by calling a Soviet ‘Ivan’. You have to do it another way. When you gave a Soviet soldier a disposable razorblade and you will change his view of the world more than with anything else.”

  • “I was cooking diner when the police came. ‘Pack your things, we’re leaving.’ They reminded me to take a scarf, because it was cold outside. I had a newsletter in my pocket, from Louny, form another group. What to do with it? I looked around and I had nowhere to hide it, so I put in my mouth and ate it. The policeman was curious, so I told him: ‘I’m dry. Can I take an apple?’ So I finished it with an apple. Outside I found out to what purpose the scarf served – to cover the eyes. At the police station in Postoloprty I heard that they were organizing more arrests. They knew everything about us. The worst thing, apart from some slaps, was sitting on the chair with your arms tied. You could leave only for the toilet.”

  • “We were in custody n Most. They handled us like a hot potato. Our group was full of Svoboda’s soldiers. The guards were also Svoboda’s soldiers. Custody wasn’t that bad, but they didn’t yet acquire the ‘Russian know-how’. The name of the director of the prison was Mr. Lodr, a Russian legionary. He was sacked right after February 1948, but because nobody could run the prison, so they took him back. … Some of them were stupid. … There was a Subcatpathian Rusyn named František Pickar, a guard, and an excellent man. He would pretend to shout at me and he always rook me aside and told me: ‘Watch out for this guy. He is an informer.’ Or he came and said: ‘These and those things happen in western Europe.’ Once a parcel came and they didn’t want to give it to me, so I told him and he went downstairs and brought it to me. In 1989, when he was still alive, I managed to thank him on the phone.”

  • “We tried to discus with the Soviets, we insulted them in Russian. They were passing by to Doupov Mountains and waved at me. People thought that I’m their friend. Once we met them at Krásný Dvůr and they told me: ‘Don’t offend us, it’s not our fault.’ Their car was broken, it jammed the traffic. We went to get our children. I came to them and said: ‘Vy jidriva, šuka čalku, što vy zděs probku sdělali.’ That was a slightly politer way of calling them assholes. And one of them run to the other and said: ‘Hey, did you hear what he just said?’ They were surprised. When they were here in the 70s, our farm cooperated with them. They sent soldiers to help. I was their boss because I could speak Russian… They weren’t happy about the regime, the officers were very critical of the situation in the Soviet Union. When they came, they first went to the regional committee of the Communist Party, where they welcomed them. They always said: ‘We always can’t wait to come to you, here we can complain.”

  • “The planes were coming. You could see the red stars. I don’t know how many planes. They flew by, then they turned back. The Soviets were shouting: ‘These are your Stalin’s hawks. They will teach the Germans.’ And instead of teaching the Germans they bombed down Kupičov. Stalin’s hawks showed their mastery. 170 houses and barns burned down in one big fire. My mom told me to run, that our house was already burned down. The bombing was over. The Soviets fired flares to let them know that they were bombing their own territory. In an hour we lost everything we had. The only property we saved was what we had on the wagon, hoses and two cows. People who were not at home lost their cattle. It was a horrible smell when the cattle was burning.”

  • “We came home from the church, at that time, gypsies were still there, it must have been in 1942. An old gypsy came and she wanted to tell us fortune. My mother didn’t want to, because she was a Christian, but then she gave her the hand. ‘You have a son that is far away. But don’t worry about him, he is doing fine. Your family will once again meet. But then you will separate and never to meet again. Your youngest son will have to leave home, but he will come back. You will put your arms around him and you will live together for a long time.’ And to my brother, who now lives in Canada, she told: ‘Money for you us like air, you will always have plenty. But beware of water.’ Once he fell into a well and in 1946 I had to save him at the swimming pool. He always had a lot of money. He is 86 and he bought a new car last month.”

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    Mašťov, 13.07.2007

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“When my wife first came to see me in November 1953, she didn’t know what I look like. I knew what she looked like. We were allowed some visits, so I sent her an invitation and she came as a cousin. She had to behave like a cousin, and we kissed each other. When she came home, her mother said: ‘The first one you see and you kiss him right away. You must apologize.’”

Václav Kytl's family
Václav Kytl's family
zdroj: archiv pamětníka

Václav Kytl was born in 1928 in a Czech village Kupičov at Volhynia in the former Poland. After the outbreak of WWII he participates in the activities of the Kupičov militia. A year later, after crossing the frontline, he witnessed the Soviet bombing of Kupičov. Soviet Air Forces had then mistaken the target. Until 1945 he served in the platoon of Volhynian Czechs and he was patrolling and fighting against the Bandera groups. In summer 1945 he got a leave to Rovno and from there he went to Žatec. He started studying an economical school in Postoloprty; his parents came to Czechoslovakia two years later, in 1947. After February 1948, Václav Kytl joined a group of young people, mostly Volhynian Czechs, who distributed anti-communist newsletters. He was arrested in November 1948 and sentenced to six years in prison. The only job he could get after the release was with a pick on the railroad construction. In the beginning of the sixties, he could attend an architectonic high school as a part time student and obtain the graduation exam. He worked in the state constructions. Most of his life, he lived in Maštov, Northern Bohemia.