published: 04.09.2012, 11:50 | updated: 04.09.2012 11:52:37
Prague - Czech World War Two veteran General Tomas Sedlacek, who fought on both eastern and western fronts and died at the age of 94 years last week, was officially buried today.
The ceremony was attended by President Vaclav Klaus, Prime Minister Petr Necas , Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg, Chief of Staff Petr Pavel and tens of soldiers and members of the veteran Czech Legionaries' Association.
The soldiers remember Sedlacek as a brave man who fought against the Nazi rule and was imprisoned under the Communist regime. They say he was their model.
Klaus said Sedlacek had not been broken by the ordeal of World War Two and the subsequent Communist persecution.
"He used to say with laughter that he is ten months older than our republic," Klaus said.
"Though he had to overcome many obstacles and fight uneasy battles during his long life, General Sedlacek never grew bitter and was able to keep an optimistic approach to the world," he added.
Sedlacek was born on January 8, 1918, the Czechoslovak Republic was established on October 28, the same year.
"He was a real soldier, defending the honour of the officer corps and radiating the noble character of interwar Czechoslovakia's military. He was an authority," Klaus said.
"He knew that to forget one's history is the biggest danger to every nation," Klaus said, adding that Sedlacek did his most not to forget.
Sedlacek was a member of the Czechoslovak unit fighting in the Dukla Pass on the Czechoslovak border in 1944 and he took part in the 1944 Slovak National Uprising.
After the 1948 Communist coup, he was persecuted and imprisoned by the Communist regime.
Sedlacek, born on January 8, 1918, was an artillery officer in the Czechoslovak army. He left for France in 1940 and he then spent four years in Britain.
While in Britain, he served in the artillery of the Czechoslovak and British armed forces. Then he was sent to the Soviet Union. As commander of the artillery staff of the 2nd Czechoslovak independent parachute brigade, he took part in the fighting in the Dukla Pass.
On October 7, 1944, he was flown to fight in the Slovak National Uprising. He survived the last war winter under cover in the Slovak mountains.
In 1952, he was sentenced to life in a show trial. He was only released from prison in May 1960. He then worked as a manual worker and later as a designer.
Sedlacek was fully rehabilitated after the 1989 fall of the Communist regime and promoted to the rank of retired army general.
For his merits, he was awarded the Milan Rastislav Stefanik Order and Tomas Garrigue Masaryk Order.
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