Břetislav Sládek

* 1931

  • "That day in 1968 we were in Prague. We drove there from Lipník. We were staying at the hotel U Beránka, they had 'whisperers', these radios over the wire. We slept in neighbouring rooms, and he didn't turn off the radio. Suddenly, at about two o'clock in the morning, he started banging on the wall. I came out and I said, 'What's happening?' And he said that we'd been attacked by the Russians. We went to the gas station to get gas and we drove around Prague, we didn't go home right away. We went to the radio station. I remember there were Russians there, looking for the radio station. They were shooting in the air. And people, who were there, were saying, 'Don't worry, they're shooting blanks.' But as we saw the plastering coming off the buildings, we knew that it was sharp bullets. At two o'clock we were driving home, we were going to Hradec and Mohelnice. We met columns of tanks, so we drove partly across the fields, sometimes they let us pass, and that's how we got home."

  • "School or workshops were over, we went to the dormitory, and there were twelve of us in the room. There were groups of machine fitters, shoemakers, etc. Each group consisted of 30 people. It had its leader - an upper grade apprentice, and its tutor who looked after us. We came back from the workshops, we went to the canteen, we ate, and there was already a programme of what was going to happen next. We didn't have any free time. There was always something going on. Then there was a curfew. At school, when there were exams, there were available classrooms. At ten o'clock the lights went out everywhere in the dormitory and we had to go to those classrooms where we would study until maybe two or three in the morning. We made products too and we were paid for it. But the money was transferred directly to our accounts. Only the tutor had access to the account. If we needed a shirt, for example, he would say, 'Show me your locker, what kind of shirts you have - you don't need one yet, that's sufficient.' Or he would write a note, we would go to the shop, they would give us a shirt and it would be deducted from the account. We took care of ourselves."

  • "The food rations were very poor as there were seven of us, including five children. We were all young and always hungry. The ration was poor, it wasn't much. They had bigger rations in the Sudetenland. There were two big farmers in our village so we went to help in the fields as children. We didn't take money, but grain and things like that. We got grain, but it had to be milled somewhere. But everything was guarded, even the mills. There were German inspections everywhere. So we had to go and exchange grain for flour. We used to go to Doubravice, on foot at night. There was a mill there. I was a kid, I used to go with my mother. She used to carry five to eight kilos of grain, I was given two kilos in a bag. We used to exchange it for flour there. Sometimes the miller in Doubravice, which was six or eight kilometres away, said he couldn't give us any flour, because he had an inspection there. So we would walk all the way to Nové Zámky, to the mill, and back again at night. Sometimes we didn't succeed."

  • Celé nahrávky
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    Rožnov pod Radhoštěm, 05.03.2022

    délka: 01:28:36
    nahrávka pořízena v rámci projektu Stories of the region - Central Moravia
Celé nahrávky jsou k dispozici pouze pro přihlášené uživatele.

The village, where we lived, was divided by the war

Břetislav Sládek in 2022
Břetislav Sládek in 2022
zdroj: Paměť národa

Břetislav Sládek was born on 11 October 1931 as the third of five children to his parents Josef Sládek and Františka Sládková, née Hartlová, in Dubicko. Later they moved to Žádlovice, part of which fell to the Sudetenland during the war. His father worked as a road paver, his mother helped with the gardening at the castle. During the Second World War, Břetislav‘s older brother Miroslav had to enlist. His maternal uncle, Jaroslav Hartl, was imprisoned during the war for stealing grain. After finishing school, Břetislav worked in the paper mills in the village of Vlčice. He later graduated from the Baťa School of Labour in Zlín, where he trained as a machine fitter and he went to the army. In the meantime, his parents bought a house with a farm in nearby Líšnice, where Břetislav met his future wife Ilke, née Pechová. The farm was later confiscated from the family as part of collectivisation. After completing his military service, Břetislav worked in the state tractor station. Later he was sent to Uničov, to a branch plant of Škoda factory. After some time he went to Lipník nad Bečvou, where he worked as a technician in the Polygrafia Company. In August 1968 he witnessed the arrival of tanks in Prague and dramatic events in the streets. He remained in the printing works until his retirement. In 2022, at the time of filming, he lived in Rožnov pod Radhoštěm.