Jan Fischer's repatriation card

Jan Fischer's repatriation card
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  • Photo taken in:
    Kosice
    Year when photo was taken:
    1945
    Country name at time of photo:
    Czechoslovakia, 1945-1989
    Country name today:
    Slovakia
This is my post war identity card that I got from the Czechoslovak repatriation office in Kosice. [These cards were distributed to all those who had no documents after the war, a lot of Jews have kept them until now.] When we heard [being in Poland liberated from concentration camp] that Kosice and eastern Slovakia was ours, we decided to go there on our own. The journey was not without difficulty, though. The Russians stopped us a few times as they wanted us to join their army, which we obviously had no interest at all in doing. We said that we intended to join our army under General Svoboda. In Kosice I got a job at the Ministry of Information. And one day, as they knew I had been involved in theater in Terezin, somebody invited me to work for the radio, as they were going to start broadcasting again. So there were three Czech radio presenters there, sometime in April 1945. The Kosice-based government program was published at that time and our main task was to broadcast this document in the occupied territories. One thing remains puzzling to me, though. I have never met anyone who heard our broadcasts from Kosice. And I was so proud that I had contributed to the establishment of the new republic. Then mobilization came. I had to leave the radio and join the army. I was conscripted in Kosice and then got to an officers' school in Poprad. We went on foot to Levoca; I think, the trains weren't running. I was there about two and a half months in Svoboda's army but wasn't at the front. At the school we were issued with German summer uniforms, like the ones worn by the Germans in Africa, as well as thin covers. It was early April and pretty cold. It was very difficult to spark any patriotic enthusiasm in me. At last 9th May! The end of the war, time to go home! Next day I asked how much longer we were supposed to stay at the school. In September I would be going home as a lieutenant! Nobody was interested in whether any of my family or friends were alive. But I was interested. Desperate, I turned to the regiment's physician and told him the whole truth. He looked at me for a while and then said: 'You are short-sighted, aren't you? And you have chronic bronchitis.' Dear old doctor. I had to go to another regiment where I was supposed to be demobilized. That was in Kromeriz. We boarded the train for Prague. I managed to find several friends and even a few people who had returned from the concentration camps or from Terezin, but none of my family had come back yet. I returned to Kromeriz where I had to sign a statement saying that I hadn't graduated from high school, so that I could be demobilized. There was complete chaos at the other regiment. Finally, on 11th June 1945, I was standing on Wenceslas Square. I had nothing and nobody.

Interview details

Interviewee: Jan Fischer
Interviewer:
Silvia Singerová
Month of interview:
November
Year of interview:
2003
Prague, Czech Republic

KEY PERSON

Jan Fischer
Year of birth:
1921
City of birth:
Prague
Occupation
before WW II:
Employed by craftsman
after WW II:
Theater director

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