Josef Kholl (1914-1944)

Personality in Military section

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Maj. Gen. Josef Kholl was born on 22nd July 1914 in Plavsko near Stráž nad Nežárkou. He was an important personality of anti-fascist movement during World War II. in Czechoslovakia and Czechoslovak Armed Forces on East and West. He received posthumous award Hrdina Československa (Hero of Czechoslovakia) and posthumously received his Major General rank.

He lived in Vysoká u Příbrami in Central Bohemian Region since 1919. He studied at elementary and secondary school in nearby village Bohutín. Then he studied grammar school in Příbram from 1926 to 1933. After military training, he began to study Military Academy in Hranice. He served as a lieutenant in Infantry Regiment 38 in Beroun. After Occupation on 15th March 1939, he left the army and worked as an administrative officer for the Ministry of Social Affairs. Shortly afterwards he joined in to form illegal military organisation Obrana národa (Defense of the Nation) in Beroun Region and worked as a coordinator between groups in Beroun, Rakovník and Příbram Regions. He left for exile in March 1940 after Gestapo revealed their illegal resistance organisations. He got into Palestine through Slovakia, Hungaria, Yugoslavia, Greece, Turkey and Syria and in Palestine he helped establish Czechoslovak Foreign Military Unit under the command of lieutenant colonel Karel Klapálek. He served in lead command functions and participated in all important battles in the Middle East and North Africa. Since reassigning in 1943, he also participated in battles on Eastern Front. His presence was important in battles in the Western desert of Syrian campaign near Tobruk and he participated in the liberation of Ukrainian cities Kyiv, Zhashkiv and Bila Tserkva. On 22nd September 1944, he died a heroic death as commander of the 1st Infantry Battalion of 1st Czechoslovak Army Corps at Dukla battlefield. He was honoured with many Czechoslovak and Allied awards.

His name is connected to many places of Central Bohemia Region – Příbram, Beroun, Rakovník and its surroundings. He is one of the most well-known leaders of Czechoslovak Foreign Armed Forces in World War II. and hero of the anti-fascist movement. He undoubtedly belongs to the history of the Czechoslovak military.

He was killed on 22nd September 1944 at trigonometric point 694 near Dukla battlefield in Poland. He is buried in Rakovník.

Author: PaedDr. Josef Velfl, ředitel Hornického muzea Příbram