In Remembrance of Charles Kutlvasr

9-10 2007 Dějiny English
obálka čísla

(January 17, 1895 - October 2, 1961)

On Friday, October 2006, members of the Sokol Athletic Community in Chomutov (located about 40 miles north-west of Prgue, Czech Republic, along with the Czech Combattants´ Organization and the lady Mayor of the town Chomutov, remenbered the 45th death anniversary of the General Charles Kutlvasr. Five years ago, a memorial tablet was placed and unveiled at the entrance of the Sokol´s building.

The name of Charles Kutlvasr, who was born in January 27, 1895, was narrowely connected with the town of Chomutov. In the course of the years 1923–1931, he was acting there as a commander of the 2nd Infantry Brigade. During the First World War, wich he was passing in Russia as a legionary, a Czech/Slovak soldiers´ unit was subordinated to him. The task of this unit was securing of the magistral railroad line throughout Siberia. This line was currenty used y all legionaries, who were returning from Russia to their native countr. Charles was then completely absorbed in the legionary service work. Moreover, this kind of activity prepared him to know what it was to be responsible and loyal to the Czechoslovak state, which he himself was helping to create.

In October 1920, Charles became a commander if the Infantery Unit, bearing the name of Master John Hus, which was stationed in Ceske Budejovice (located about 80 miles south of Prague) in the liberated fatherland. As soon as three years of his stay has elapsed, he was commanded to relocate to Chomutov. It was the latter place, where he attained his degree of brigade general in 1928.

As for his stay in Chomutov, he participated there prominently in the local Sokol Association. Permanent remembrances of his activities in that town had been kept up in the entries of the Comutov´s Sokol Association. >From those records we can also learn that on April 14, 1926, Charleswas elected a II. vice-chief magistrate of the Sokol Association in Chomutov. In such capacity Charles made it possible for the soldiers to participate in Sokol´s gymnastics, which was greatly welcomed particularly by the Sokol´s youth members. In 1925, the Committee of the Sokol Association accepted Charles´ proposal that members of the Sokol were simultaneously won over to become members of the Masaryk Airforce Legion. The outcome of such an action was laberrgasting indeed, because already during the same year, 54 Sokol members were listed in that new unit. In so doing the conditions for a creation of the Erzgebirge (Krusne Hory) District of the Masaryk Airforce Legion were created. Charles was elected as its chairman.

In those das the Sokolś district´s field extended from Louny up to several of the mountain villages. As regards its membership, there were then registered 560 members and 72 youngsters. On Kutlvasr´s initiative, the Chomutov Sokol Unit dedicated its ribbon on the flag of the 46th Infantery Regiment. This happened at that time, when the German management of the town rejected such an action. The Regiment´s flag was presented to the town of Louny.

On the instigation of the Chomutov Sokol Association, Charles Kutlvasr became a chairman of the Preparatory Committee for building up of the monument of T. G. Masaryk. In 1928, collections to this purpose were started to enable the construction of such memorial. Regrettably, in 1938 the unveiling of this memorial did not take place, as it had originally been planned. This was due to the 1938 Munich Events. Even the memorial´s pedestal was scrawled all over by swastikas. In spite of it, the bust of T. G. Masaryk was available in Chomutov. In 1928, based on the initiative of Charles Kutlvasr, that bust was unveiled at the court yard of the Masaryk barracks. This happened on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of Czechoslovakia´s creation. Moreover, it is also worth mentioning that the movie watching by the Czech population was then facilitated at neighboring Stefanik´s barracks movie theater, while at all the remaining movie theaters, movies, only in German language were projected.

In 1938, which was a critical year for Czechoslovakia, Charles faultleesly carried out boht mobilizations. After the occupation of the Czech Landsk by the German units, before long, he got connected with the military resistance organizaction, called “The Defense of the Nation”. In May 1945, he became Prague´s military commander. After the February Events in 1948, he was indicted at the Court, charged with high treason and sentenced for life imprisonment. As soon as the verdict was announced to all the 12 generals, the well known Charles´ resounding command was heard: “For the ls time, on my command, take up a double row!” Thereafter, Charles was relocted to various penitentiaries.

On May 10, 1968, after having spent 11 years, 4 mongths and 120 days in such penitentiaries, he returned to his wife. On 15th and 16th May, 1968, a renewed session of the Court of law took place. The latter sentenced Charles originally to life imprisonment, but now, the verdit of non-qilty was passed. However, this was already taking place after his demise. Upon Charles´ arrival from jail he met his wife, Notwithstanding, she had not had an easy life during that time, considering all those long years of hardship and sufferings. When Charles was released from the prison, he was 65 years old. Accordingly, he was conceded an old-age rent, amounting to Kcs 230.00. The same commission recommended that he was allowed to get some additional income by working as night guard. But he had to face his death on October 2, 1961 at 8:00 AM while we had an appointment with a doctor. In the course of his imprisonment, his health had graudally deterioted, as it was apparent from the prison records. When Carhles was released from jail, his health complications were continuously worsening.

As regards an announcement about his passing away, it was not allowed by the Authorities to be published. In spite of it on October 6, 1961 the ceremonial hall of the Prague Strasnice crematorium could not contain all the mourning survivors. Into the bargain, his former prison comrades asserted their right to stand at his coffin and honorable guard. Charles´ ashes were deposited at the Prague Olsany graveyard. Nonetheless, he has constantly remained in the memory of his contemporaries as well as friends. His name was entered into the Memorial Book of the town of Chomutov. It was worthy of deep appreciation to witness that among the many adults, there was also a group of Chomutov´s Sokol Youth Association.

Jaroslav Hamouz
Cedar Rapids, March 20, 2007
Translated by Charles Opatrny

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