Czech Republic / Biography
Jiří Rádl was born on 7 January 1928 in Pilsen. During the Second World War, he and his classmates from the fourth year of a primary school were forced to work at the Škoda Works in Pilsen. They had to clear unexploded incendiary bombs.
Jiří Rádl served an apprenticeship as an electrician at the Škoda Works. Between 1944 and 1945 he was assigned to perform forced labor. He had to dig ditches for tanks in Olomouc and trenches in the Bruntál region (eastern Czechia). In the turbulent period of April and May 1945, he journeyed through all of Bohemia on his way home to Pilsen.
Jiří Rádl recalls his friendship with two Czech American soldiers stationed in Pilsen after the war: “My friend and I used to play volleyball with the Americans. We played at a nearby MP headquarters. All of a sudden, two Americans began speaking Czech to us, and we stared at them in amazement. They were Czech Americans, their grandfather had moved to America, but they spoke Czech at home. We made friends with them. I brought them home, my grandma made Czech cakes and mushroom soup for them. They suggested: ‘Let's go picking mushrooms!’ So they took a jeep, and we went to pick mushrooms. Then the lads asked us? ‘Would you like to go for a trip to Germany?’ – ‘We would love to’, we replied. So they lent us U.S. uniforms, MP helmets, MP armbands and pistols. And we drove to Nurnberg.”
After February 1948, he engaged in the anti-communist resistance together with his wife and relatives. In June 1950, the resistance group was disclosed and its members were arrested. Jiří Rádl was sentenced by the State Court to 15 years of imprisonment for high treason, espionage and defamation of the court. He was held prisoner in various prisons: the Bory prison in Pilsen, the Jáchymov region, the Mírov prison, and in the Vojna camp in Příbram. In 1956, he was conditionally released.