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Another Fate of Fugitives from Norway: from Swedish Asylum to the Czechoslovak Army

29/03/2021

Forced Czech workers who managed to escape to Sweden found help in the country, both from the Swedish authorities and from diplomats and officials of the Czechoslovak government-in-exile who worked in Sweden semi-legally. The Swedish authorities cooperated with them unofficially and, for example, tolerated Czechoslovak passports and certificates issued on behalf of exiled Czechoslovak authorities.

Refugees from forced deployment had to submit to military conscription if they were interested in the help of Czechoslovak officials. It was not just an administrative formality, as over time a way was found to transport the recruited volunteers to Great Britain, where Czechoslovak military units operated.

Sweden, as a neutral country, maintained sporadic air links with the free world throughout the war. Of course, only to the extent that both warring parties were willing to tolerate. Thus, soldiers, members of the secret services, couriers and merchants competed for rare tickets. Nevertheless, this way managed to get to Britain about a hundred volunteers for service in the Czechoslovak army.

Among all 95 Czechoslovak volunteers documented so far, transported by air from Sweden to Britain during the war, 25 persons registered in the Organisation Todt file in Norway were documented.

The first five arrived in Britain in October and November 1944. After the necessary administrative actions, they were all enlisted in the Czechoslovak army. They underwent basic training, followed by assignment to specific units. Two of them, Jan Jansa and Mojmír Genzer, were selected for service with ground personnel of the Air Force at the very beginning of January 1945, the other three reached the Czechoslovak Republic in the spring of 1945. a separate armored brigade (ČSOB), which besieged the besieged German garrison of the port of Dunkirk on the shores of the English Channel. The remaining 19 "Norwegians" arrived from Sweden to Britain at the end of April and during May 1945 - too late to catch up with the combat deployment.

After the war, the "Norwegians" in the ranks of their troops gradually returned to their homeland, where most of them were released into civilian life by the end of 1945.

 

List of Czechoslovaks from forced labor in Norway who was deployed to Czechoslovak army in Britain.

Příjmení Jméno Rok Místo narození odlet ze Švédska do Británie prezentace u čs. armády zařazení k operační jednotce
Bastl Rudolf 1922 Řevnice, okres Praha 28.4.1945 7.5.1945
Bayer Václav 1922 Bernartice nad Odrou, okres Nový Jičín 8.5.1945 16.5.1945
Berný Josef 1922 Vysoké Veselí, okres Nový Bydžov 29.11.1944 14.12.1944 ČSOB, III. artillery troop; 5.3.1945
Čejka Miloslav 1910 Kolín, okres Kolín 10.5.1945 19.5.1945
Genzer Mojmír 1923 Tichá, okres Místek 26.10.1944 13.11.1944 Air Force group; 311. peruť, 7.3.1945
Houska Václav 1921 Žehušice, okres Čáslav 28.4.1945 7.5.1945
Houska Vojtěch 1919 Tučapy, okres Tábor 12.5.1945 28.5.1945
Jansa Jan 1923 Cizkrajov, okres Slavonice 24.10.1944 8.11.1944 Air Force group; 311. peruť, 7.3.1945
Jirásko Ladislav 1922 Nová Paka 8.5.1945 15.5.1945
Klč František 1921 Břeclav, okres Hodonín 1945 19.5.1945
Kolář Karel 1922 Michálkovice, okres Frýdek 9.5.1945 24.5.1945
Kozler Václav 1920 Zderaz, okres Podbořany 12.5.1945 28.5.1945
Kučera Josef 1922 Brno-Židenice 5.5.1945 15.5.1945
Matuška Josef 1920 Rodov, okres Dvůr Králové nad Labem ? 1944 13.11.1944 ČSOB, Engineer company; 18.4.1945
Orság Rostislav 1922 Žádovice, okres Kyjov 5.5.1945 15.5.1945
Ožana Miroslav 1923 Michálkovice, okres Frýdek 5.5.1945 15.5.1945
Pačes Vilém 1911 Vyžlovka, okres Český Brod 9.5.1945 24.5.1945
Plavec Jaroslav 1914 Kněžice, okres Jihlava 8.5.1945 17.5.1945
Polák Lev 1923 Opava, okres Opava 10.5.1945 24.5.1945
Sluka Antonín 1906 Syrovín, okres Kyjov 8.5.1945 19.5.1945
Šustr Karel 1921 Křetín, okres Boskovice 5.5.1945 15.5.1945
Václavínek Ludvík 1926 Ostravice, okres Místek 5.5.1945 15.5.1945
Vaněk Antonín 1922 Bělice, okres Benešov 29.11.1944 14.12.1944 ČSOB, III. artillery troup; 5.3.1945
Voler Josef 1921 Líně, okres Stříbro 4.5.1945 24.5.1945

 

Photo: Václav Bayer with other volunteers during training in England at the Replacement Body in Southend-on-Sea (archive Chronicle of the City of Bernartice nad Odrou)

Other materials and resources:

A record of the service of Genzer Mojmír at Czechoslovakia. Air Force (so-called Air Card). Military Central Archive.

Noraci.cz website: “Jan Jansa from his deployment in Norway to Czechoslovakia. Army in Britain ”July 26, 2020

Biographical data Václav Bayer. Website Noraci.cz, Database of persons, 2021.

 

Edited by: dr. Zdenko Maršálek

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