Prague - In the barracks of Ruzyně, there is a wall where 247 Czechs have been executed during the Nazi rule. Today, the place serves as a warehouse.
For a long time, the public didn’t hear about the place of execution where many Czechs – student leaders, soldiers, journalists or workers – have been shot by a firing squad. The wall in the former riding-school of the guard battalion SS Prague has been found by the researchers of the Czech Military Historical Institute (VHÚ) by chance. There are still traces of the bullets on the walls, fired by the Nazi squads.
„The walls we have found some time ago had been preserved in its original form only because the Czech army had no money to start a reconstruction of the former riding-school,“ the Military Historical Institute’s director Aleš Knížek said.„The army has gained the money shortly before the discovery of the wall, so we were able to stop the reconstruction and prevent the plastering of the walls at the very last moment.“
Knížák admitted that nobody was interested in the secret of the old riding-school for decades and it is a miracle that the walls have not been plastered in the 1980’s or 1990’s.
The building serves today as a warehouse of a signalman military unit and its walls are provided by inscriptions made by the ordinary soldiers on duty. Near the holes in the wall caused by the bullets‘ impacts, there are words written by the military personal saying, for example, how long will it last before the soldiers are gone home.
„At these walls, the intellectual elite of the Czech nation has been killed and it was rather hard for me to see the inscriptions,“ the archivist Vojtěch Šustek said.
There are nevertheless some good news: the Czech army will meet the demands of the Military Historical Institute.
„The warehouse will remain in the hands of the signalmen,“ explains the VHÚ’s researcher Michal Burian. „But the three walls, the people have been killed at, will be restored and covered with glass. And there will be a bronze plaque installed on it remembering the heroism of our ancestry.“
Šustek proposes that the plaque should contain all the names of the victims executed in Ruzyně. A similar plaque with the names of 274 executed helpmates of the Czech paratroopers who have killed Reinhard Heidrich is hanging in the courtyard of the Prague Sts Cyril and Methodius Church.
„In the riding-school, there could be built an original place, remembering the Czech history, we could be proud of,“ another VHÚ’s researcher Jan Kolář said.