Memory of Nation


Jaroslav Hrubeš (1926)

  Jaroslav Hrubeš (1926)
I still think it was a German officer who had me released from the labour camp

Self-injury to avoid working for the Germans

“There was a lot of collaboration. We didn’t want to work for the Germans. So we injured ourselves in various ways. Do you see this mark on my arm? I took a grinder and a grinding wheel, and I held it to my arm. The pain was dreadful. I ground my own arm. To make it even worse, I clipped the tips of some matches, put them into the wound, and stroke a match. It caught immediately. So I burnt it and made it even worse. I didn’t go to the doctor’s that day, I wanted to leave until the morning of the following day. Before I went to bed, I wanted to make the wound worse, so I poured salt into it. I couldn’t endure it. I had to go wash the salt out after an hour. It stung and hurt terribly. And I went to the surgeon next morning.”

  • born 13 October 1926 in Pečky
  • from a working-class family, three sisters
  • his family was severely impacted by unemployment in the 1930s
  • suffered from hunger
  • his father and other poor people stole coal from parked cargo wagons
  • trained as a mechanic and worked in Vysočany during the war
  • was not yet of age, and so refused to work twelve hours a day
  • 1944, was to be transported to Terezín
  • deported to a labour camp in Kamenný Přívoz instead thanks to his sister bribing the officials
  • released two and a half months later, apparently on the intercession of a German officer
  • experienced the air raids on Prague-Vinohrady
  • his son emigrated in the 1970s, died prematurely in 1990
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