Memory of Nation


Otto Šplíchal (1929)

 Otto Šplíchal (1929)
We thought that freedom would be for keeps

Baťa’s captains

“I have to boast that from the second year on, I was a captain, and from the third year I was the after-school [captain], who had considerable authority. We received wages from the start, there were yearbooks, where every payment was written out - for accommodation, for board, some money was set aside for clothes, to save up enough... And according to the behaviour of the individual members of the room, the captain decided whether to give each of them ten or five crowns of weekly pocket money - wages were weekly back then. And the after-school [captain] was the right hand of the carer, he directed the other captains. Every evening they’d visit each of the rooms and check under the beds if the shoes were polished.”

  • born 4 October 1929 in Pilsen
  • witnessed the arrival of Germans in Pilsen, Jewish transports, several air raids
  • aged 14, began studying at the Baťa School in Zlín, then attended a business academy
  • met his future wife when studying economics in Prague; they married in 1955
  • worked as a childcarer at the Baťa School until he was summoned to military service in the Auxiliary Engineering Corps
  • father of the translator and Hungarian scholar Dana Gálová, who died of ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) in 2015
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