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I have never lost trust in the character of the Czech nation. I had always admired it and I am proud to be Czech," said MUDr. Karel Macháček (1916), an exile living in England for more than 60 years. We met him in Prague at the signing of his Czech version of the book „Escape to England".(Praha, Charles University 2003), published for the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Munich Agreement (Sux.. He describes the fate of one of the Czechoslovak students persecuted in the years 1938-1939.
The author wrote originally for the English to let them know where Czechs came from. That is why he tried to write it in an English style. He sensitively tried to catch the atmosphere of the time, youth lived in the difficult times of German occupation.
In the interview, K. Macháček remembers how he lived through the fall of 1939 as a student of medicine. He mentions the attacks at the Kounice dormitories in Brno and his successful escape accross the border in December, 1939. In France, he was accepted by the Czech military as a volunteer.
After the conquest of France, he leaves for England where he continues with basic military training.
Along with the students, he was responsible for November 17th becoming the International Day of Students. He even met with president E. Beneš at Christmas 1940, when the president visited his military unit. Students who had finished nine or more semesters received from British medical faculties an offer to finish their studies on condition, they immediately return to their units whenever the army needs them.
In 1943 he became the Air Force physician for our pilots in England. After the war he and his family returned home, but unfortunately after 1948 he was again forced to flee to England. In Canvey Island, along with his Czech collegues, he built a successful medical practice. In summer of 1989 he spoke on the Czech broadcast of BBC about the 50th anniversary of the November Student Rebellion. He welcomed the fall of communism in his own land with great enthusiasm.
MUDr. Karel Macháček is the vicepresident of the Association of Pilots of Free Czechoslovakia and is a member of the commitee of the Czechoslovak Association of Legionnaires. He holds a number of British and Czechoslovak military awards and university medals.PhDr. Olga Bezděková
PhDr. Jaroslav Veteška
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