Lt.Col. Jiří Kafka in Eduard
On Wednesday, January 17, 2018,
we were visited by a veteran from
the 311th Czechoslovak Squadron
RAF, Lt. Jiří Kafka, former radar
operator and shooter at Liberators Coastal Command.
Lt. Kafka, who flew several
hundred hours of operatic anti-submarine patrols between 1943
and 1945, got to England in 1939
as one of Winton‘s children.
The visit, organized by Mr. Stanislav Cerny, took place at the time
of finalizing the Riders of the Sky
1944 project (Liberator GR Mk.III
and Mk.V Coastal Command RAF).
During the inspection of the construction and production areas of
the company, Mr. Kafka of course
was mostly interested in places
where his „Liberator“ was presented.
Lt. Kafka with his partner Doc. Machacova and Stanislav Černý were welcomed
by Eduard CEO Vladimír Šulc.
Retired Colonel Jiří Pavel Kafka
was born on May 5, 1924, in Prague in
Czechoslovakia. His family was of Jewish
extraction, his father worked as a lawyer and was also the chairman of the Jewish community in Prague, his mother was
a housewife. Jiří Pavel Kafka attended elementary school and later grammar school.
Thanks to the providence of his father,
Jiří and his siblings managed to travel to
England on the so-called Winton train
(June 28, 1939) shortly before the outbreak of the Second World War. In England,
Jiří Pavel Kafka and his brother at first
ended up in a camp for refugee -children
in Ipswich. But later, thanks to his father,
who fortuitously came to England and
then worked as head of the Nečas ministry
for economic recovery in the Beneš exile
government, the two brothers got on a summer school and subsequently on a high
school in Cheltenham. However, Jiří Pavel
Kafka grew tired of studying and thus he
went into business, taking an apprentice
at the company Sigmund Pumps. Then,
on June 13, 1942, he resolved to join the
army. For approximately three months,
he served in the Czechoslovak land army,
he completed basic training and then was
accepted to the Royal Air Force (RAF).
He attended training in Wales, Scotland
and the Bahamas and was ranked as a
gunner and radio operator in the 311th
Fighting Wing, where he served between
September 3, 1942 and September 19,
1945. His crew operated over the Bay
of Biscay, the North Sea and the Atlantic. Their task was to accompany Allied
convoys and destroy enemy ships and
submarines. In 1945, he returned to Czechoslovakia where he found his mother,
who had survived the Lodz ghetto, the
Auschwitz concentration camp and then
a camp in northern Bohemia. However,
Jiří Pavel Kafka left Czechoslovakia again
in 1947 and he went back to England.
In 1949, he visited his native country for
the funeral of his father, but didn‘t remain
in the country permanently. In England, he
lived with his brother and then they were
joined by their mom. Jiří Pavel Kafka, together with a friend, founded a company
for the import of components for the manufacture of jewelry. However, he became
influenced by Zionism, and thus in 1960,
he and his wife decided to move to Israel.
In Israel, he became active in the real estate business, renting, buying and rebuilding houses. He continued to work in this
field even after 1968, when he returned to
England. In 1986, his mother died, followed by his wife in 1988, and so he decided
to return to Czechoslovakia in 1990. Jiří
Pavel Kafka currently lives in Prague.
This curriculum vitae has been prepared within project Post Bellum, Memory of Nations.
Post Bellum / how to support: http://www.pametnaroda.cz/page/index/title/donate?locale=en_GB
More information about Lt. Col. Jiri Kafka:
INFO Eduard - February 2018