Honoring Resistance Leader Josef Robotká, 1906 – 1952

Honoring Resistance Leader Josef Robotká, 1906 – 1952

Sixty years ago today at 5:40 a.m. on November 12, 1952, Josef Robotká was executed at Pankrac Prison in Prague, Czecho-Slovakia. He was 46 years old. Josef was a leader in the Czech Resistance. He had been arrested in 1949, stripped of his civil rights, made to forfeit all of his property and imprisoned for nearly three years before his execution. Josef was hanged by the Communist Party for the alleged crimes of espionage and treason through his leadership in Rada Tri and other organizations fighting for freedom from oppression.

Lovingly referred to as “Uncle”, Josef was a major figure in Charles Novacek’s young life, a hero. Throughout his life Charles kept a photograph of Uncle Josef nearby and/or on his desk. Josef is also an important part of Charles’ memoir – Border Crossings: Coming of Age in the Czech Resistance. 1021 Press, 2012.

Charles is pictured below in 2006 next to a memorial plaque on the facade of a house near the town square in Velká Bíteš, Czech Republic where Josef lived with his wife Helena.

Josef received many honors for his exemplary service to his country while he was alive and posthumously. He was rehabilitated after the fall of the communist regime, and in 1991 he was posthumously promoted to the rank of Brigadier General in memoriam.

Perhaps, of greatest note is the Order of the White Lion.  In 1994, the order was re-established as the highest decoration of the Czech Republic and awarded by the President of the Czech Republic to Czech citizens and foreigners alike for outstanding services to the Czech Republic. On 28 October 1997, President Vaclav Havel awarded Josef Robotká the Order of the White Lion, Third Class.

The badge of the White Lion Order is a garnet red enamelled star-shaped ornament with five arms. The arms are joined together by linden leaves with stems pointing towards the

The White Lion Order, Third Class, Military Division

center. A central medallion on the obverse of the badge takes the form of a crowned two-tailed silver lion extending over the arms. A medallion placed centrally on the reverse of the badge bears the Greater Coat of Arms of the Czech Republic encircled by a raised golden ring with the words “PRAVDA VITEZI” (“Truth Shall Prevail”) inscribed in blue and a blue linden leaf between the letters at the bottom. The upper arm of the badge is attached to a suspension which takes the form of an elliptical linden wreath with palm leaves lying across it on the insignia of the Civil Division and crossed swords, points up, on that of the military one.

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