Operation Barium: the paratroopers were not talked about for a long time, 80 years after the jump, a monument to them will be unveiled


“We started remembering these historical events in Vysoké only after the revolution. Until then, it was not talked about, maybe it shouldn’t have been, because it was an English landing party. The event is commemorated by a plaque in the local cemetery, but there has not yet been a separate monument. That’s why we decided to build it for the 80th anniversary of the event,” said Mayor Jiří Horák (bezp.).

Photo: Ludmila Žlábková, Novinky

On the left, the organizer of the parade in honor of paratrooper Jaroslav Třasák, on the right the author of the monument František Vyhlídal

“Baria was not talked about much in Vysoké for a long time, perhaps because it seemed that the events connected with the fate of the brave paratroopers did not affect Vysoké much. That they only jumped off here and continued on to Holice. But it’s not true. Several locals joined in to help. For example, five years ago, Josef Hanousek came forward and published what his grandfather, a local native and also named Josef Hanousek, revealed to him on his deathbed. That he was in contact with them and helped them drown their parachutes in the Elbe,” continued the mayor.

Photo: Ludmila Žlábková, Novinky

Memorial plaque on the wall of the chapel at the cemetery in Vysoké nad Labem

The father of the regional historian Josef Krám from Rychnov nad Kněžnou was also an important person in the local resistance. He helped to clean up the traces of the landing party, he donated bicycles from his bicycle workshop to the members of the paratroopers.

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“It was a resistance run from London. My father was one of the leading figures,” recalled Josef Krám for the Memory of the Nation.

As a small boy – he was born in 1937 – he had no idea about his father’s resistance activities. “All contacts with the group were completely secret. No one in the neighborhood had any idea about it, and certainly not us children,” added Krám.

Erratic boulder

The monument to the members of one of the most successful resistance groups sent to the protectorate from England is made of Šluknov syenite, which, unlike granite, does not contain quartz and has a darker color. In ancient times, for example in Egypt, it was syenite that was used to carve monumental statues.


Photo: Ludmila Žlábková, Novinky

From the side, it can be seen that the monument is made of errant stone

“It’s actually a stray boulder that was pushed by a glacier. Thanks to this, it acquired a lenticular shape, which is visible on the back of the monument. I had the stone for about twenty years and now it has symbolically acquired a new application: a stray stone as a reminder of the paratroopers’ journey from England to their native, unfortunately still occupied country,” said the author of the monument, stonemason František Vyhlídal from Hradec Králové.

Working on the monument was also a new experience for him. “I come from Havířov, so I didn’t know about this historical event,” admitted the stonemason.

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“Unfortunately, not even many people from Hradečac know about it,” pointed out Jaroslav Třasák, who co-organized a tourist march for the number of paratroopers for the third time on Saturday last week.


Photo: Ludmila Žlábková, Novinky

The Milíř nad Vysoková observation tower was also a stop on the Barium march

“From the Biřička pond through the Hradecimal forests to the Milíř nad Vysokou lookout, which was opened for the first time in the new season on Saturday. Then to the local cemetery to light a candle at the memorial plaque, look at the new monument in the center of the village and back again. About ten kilometers in total. The fitter fighters then extended the route by another twenty kilometers,” Třasák described the route of the march.

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The ceremonial unveiling of the monument will take place on Wednesday, April 3 at 4 p.m. in the park next to the U Salavců pub, followed by a lecture by historian Vladislav Severin.

Paragroup Barium

– First Lieutenant Josef Šandera, the commander, under the code name Velký Josef, the aspirant sergeant Josef Žižka, the radiotelegrapher, with the code name Malý Josef, and the sergeant Tomáš Býček jumped down on the night of April 3 to 4, 1944 in the Příseky locality. They had a walkie-talkie with the code name Marta (Zlata). Their task was to activate resistance activity, prepare an armed uprising and carry out intelligence service.

– The group was active in Královéhradecky, Rychnovsk and Žambereck. It acquired about 380 associates.

– The paragroup was liquidated on January 16, 1945 in the Polsko settlement near Žamberk due to the betrayal of a Gestapo confidant. Both Josefs chose death by their own hands, sergeant Tomáš Býček escaped, lived to be liberated, and subsequently died in emigration.

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The article is in Czech


Tags: Operation Barium paratroopers talked long time years jump monument unveiled


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