Help with Either Dual Nationality or Citizenship

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous (Czech-Related)' started by joe2000, Aug 7, 2008.

  1. joe2000

    joe2000 Member

    My parents were both Czechs and indeed married in dec 1945 in Prague.
    My Father fought for the RAF in the 311 Squadron and was decorated, (ended the war as praporčík and was posthumously promoted to plukovník in the late 1970s).
    After the war he flew for CSA and unfortunately was one of the Pilots who was involved in the Worlds First Triple Hijack of 3 Dakota Planes from CZ to ERDING in Germany. He was the Pilot from Brno :- ... 79,00.html
    Unfortunately in Jan 1951 after the various purges he was taken away from his family and was not heard of for several months and in April of 1951 when he arrived at my mums house and told her to pack and they were going, they walked from CZ to Germany where my dad re-enlisted in the RAF and they came to England in Aug 1951 , I was born a month later.
    Technically at the time of my birth both my parents still held czech nationality and citizenship and they did not get British citizenship till some years later.
    I am coming up to retirement age myself and have always been brought up Czech and have been so proud of my heritage that I always vowed one day that I would live there. Unfortunately both my parents have now died and I would like to know whether I would be able to apply for dual nationality or even citizenship on the grounds of my parents and their heredity. I hold an English passport and whilst I dont wish to give that up I would dearly love to hold a Czech one also.
    I have been to the Czech Republic more times than I can count, always for wither a few weeks or a few days.
    Now divorced and with my kids scattered round europe I would dearly love to retire there and with the Czech Republic now part of the EU I can still get my pension paid to me there and as I am also disabled I can get most of my money paid to me there.
    Can anyone let me know if this is possible or not ? Or would I have to go the long route by living there for several years ?
    My spoken Czech is good although like many there is a bit of Czenglish mixed in.
    I can get away with it in Czechoslovakia as people assume I am from a different region, but they understand me.
    My written is not that good as I was never taught the accents etc but i could pick that up.
    As the Czech republic is now separate from Slovakia, I will point out that although my dad always was Czech , he was born just inside Slovakia, whilst my mother was born in Bohemia.
  2. eso

    eso Well-Known Member

    Stunning life story, Joe. Welcome on forum.
    Unfortunately conditions of dual citizenship are pretty complicated and I suggest to ask your nearest Czech embassy.
  3. Polednikova

    Polednikova Well-Known Member

    Yes, wonderful story, Joe. Similar to mine, in fact I wonder if our fathers knew each other - he was in 311 as well. But Mum was English - he met her near Manchester and that's where they settled after the war and so consequently, I wasn't brought up speaking Czech and I'm having to learn it now (very slowly!)

    But like Eso, you'll find that you'll get several different answers even from people who all reckon they know about nationality issues - it's so complicated and the rules have changed several times, by all accounts. Have you contacted the Czech Embassy in London? It might be worth making an appointment to go down and discuss it with them.

    But my advice, for what it's worth is to move here and try to get it sorted out when you're then. I moved to Prague in November 07 and will never go back - just imagine how much more you'll feel at home?
  4. joe2000

    joe2000 Member

    The Name Rings a bell, But if you settled in Manchester then I doubt you got down to Farm Street Church in London ? I was Father Langs altar boy.
    I also danced the beseda all round the UK and in the end I taught it to the next generation. I doubt it is still going unfortunately.
    My Godfather was Eduard Prchal also Czech RaF I am also in touch with an old Friend who lives in Prague , the Daughter of Ilja Hrusak who was my brothers Godfather , He also crewed with my father in the 311.
    The funny thing is that I am learning more about my father now when he is no more as he never talked about the war or how they got out of CZ or even when he was interned by the Communists in 1950.
    But I have visited the Czech Republic on and off since 1969 and have always considered it in my heart to be my home , even when it was still part of the Iron Curtain countries. I have always loved it. My Mother came from the Sumava region and was born in Horazdovice My father in Handlova which is now part of Slovakia. Funnily enough I used to be a DJ when I was younger and was the first Western DJ to tour Czechoslovakia in the early 70s under the watchful eye of the secret Police as I had a censored playlist. It was great fun and I have always loved every bit about the country. The only thing now is that with westernisation comes the the bad parts also with crime being on the up in Prague, but that was part of the western culture they didnt think about.
    But it is lovely to see the faces on the people of a free nation. It is something My father did not live to see and he would have been so proud.
    My mother saw the freedom but only lived another 5 years and was never able to get back under the New Czech republic.
  5. Polednikova

    Polednikova Well-Known Member

    Father Lang's altar boy! I don't believe it. He was my hero. I remember watching him address the crowd at Hyde Park, protesting against the Soviet invasion. I went to see him at Velehrad just before we came over but unfortunately, although his very caring staff said he was just very deaf, I think his memory had faded as well. His funeral must have been a very moving occasion.

    I've got to got out now for the day but will continue this another time...
  6. cestina

    cestina Active Member

    Hello joe2000 - someone has pointed me in the direction of your post as she realised that my story is similar to yours. So I've joined up today so that I can post to you :) . I currently live half of each year in the UK, half in South Bohemia.

    My parents were both czech citizens (my mother was also from the Sumava) who emigrated to the UK during the war - my father in 1938 or '39, my mother in 1940, bringing his Jewish mother with her. They married in the UK in 1941 and I was born there in 1942. They both later acquired British nationality. He died in 1952 and my mother in 1976.

    I grew up speaking English at home but, like you, have always felt very drawn to this part of the world (I am in the CR at the moment) and about ten years ago I came over for 3 weeks to do a language course in Ceske Budejovice. At that point I realised I had to spend part of the rest of my life here.

    To cut a long story short I took early retirement, retrained, and started to live over here for part of each year. Since I wanted to buy a house and at that time the CR was not yet in the EU, I decided that the easiest way would be to acquire dual nationality if I could.

    The Czech Embassy in London could not have been more helpful. They checked the regulations covering the time period involved, sorted through the assortment of documents I had, helped me fill in the forms, explained exactly what supportive documentation I would need, and who could translate it all for me, and once I had it together, sent the whole lot off to the CR for processing. As Eso says, it is complicated because depending on when you were born, nationality passes through different parents and in my case there was some doubt about my father's Czech citizenship since he was originally a Jew from Vienna.

    Anyway it all took quite a long time but eventually I became the proud owner of two passports.

    I wish you success in your endeavour to achieve the same - but even if you can't get dual nationality there is no reason why you should not retire over here under EU laws. Though wearing my other hat as a former CAB adviser I'd suggest you need to look carefully at the disablity part of your of my reasons for only being here for six months each year is that I want to stay within the British NHS. Though the way that is going, I might change my mind soon :(

    Good luck :)
  7. Polednikova

    Polednikova Well-Known Member

    Cestina: Are you who I think you are? Think what the English for Poledník is. Now you know what I look like. And if you look hard, you might even be able to work out where the photo was taken!
  8. cestina

    cestina Active Member

    Yes I think I am - and I worked you out without even knowing the English for Polednik :D

    But I can't do the photo :(
  9. Polednikova

    Polednikova Well-Known Member

    Joe, have a look at this website:

    Your father's name is listed under 311 pilots. Unfortunately, mine isn't. He was a wireles operator or air gunner (not sure which, I've seen reference to both in various papers) but his name was Rudolf Poledník, which he changed to Chapman in the late 40's/early 50's.

    It looks as though the site is very much a 'work in progress' and they only have one of each of those two categories listed. I will have to get in touch with the compiler to add to his information about the squadron. And I'm sure he'd like to put a link to the article about your father.

    Back to the early days: before he settled in Manchester, Dad was in London; in fact, he was the manager of the Czech Club on West End Lane in West Hampstead - his naturalisation certificate shows it as his address. I presume you've been in there at some stage.

    Anyway, it's late now but I'll try to think of some more snippets that might interest you...
  10. wer

    wer Well-Known Member

    Have a look at the Czech Army's list of RAF members.

    Your father is also enlisted among the servicemen who married in Britain, and who left the army during the war.

    Do you know what was your parent's last place of residence in Czechoslovakia? It is crucial for determination what citizenship you acquired during the spliting of Czechoslovakia.
  11. Polednikova

    Polednikova Well-Known Member

    Wer, that is amazing. Thank you so much. Here he is:

    POLEDNÍK Rudolf /CHAPMAN/, Sgt, 787871 , Depot, svob./R/pplk.
    * 02/02/13, Dolní Líštná /Frýdek-Místek/ , Wireless Operator
    † 06/08/81

    How on earth do they know when he died? The other entries are interesting as well. The list showing those who married in the UK gives what I presume is the date of his wedding to his first wife, which I didn't know. About 15 yrs ago, I was 'found' by his son by that marriage, another Rudi, with whom I'm still in touch and who I hope is coming out to stay with us later this year.

    And the list showing those who left the RAF, gives the reason as 'unknown', rather than in the 'for medical reasons' section, if I understand the Czech correctly, even though I have his medical discharge certificate.
  12. joe2000

    joe2000 Member

    Oh my goodness ! The Ceska Klub In West Hampstead ! The Dances, the Christmases I spent there !
    My Mother Anna Klesnilova and Pani Leuchterova used to go to Sokol there I believe and they also taught the Czech and Moravian Dancing there ( Ceska a Moravska Beseda ).
    In answer to your question I know exactly where my parents were registered as living and in fact lived and that was Mexicka in Prague between Dec 1945 (Straight after their marriage) to Dec 1947 then
    FInkovska in Prague Between Dec 1947 and April 1951 ( So my mum was 4 to 5 months pregnant when they walked to Germany, They arrived in the UK in August of that year and I was born a month later. So they lived in Prague from the end of the war till they left in April 1951.

    Back to the Czech club I remember as a little boy turning up each year to recite poetry by Lada at around the beginning of December I was always told unless I did I would never see the golden pig !
    I was looking through some old pics I have from my mother and found one of me at West End Lane If I remember correctly there was a small hatch from what hey used as a stage to the bar ! , I think that was before they had the extension built .
  13. Polednikova

    Polednikova Well-Known Member

    Lovely stories! Imagine your mother walking all that way, carrying you!
  14. wer

    wer Well-Known Member

    DELETED: Moved here.
  15. joe2000

    joe2000 Member

    Do you know what was your parent's last place of residence in Czechoslovakia? It is crucial for determination what citizenship you acquired during the spliting of Czechoslovakia.[/quote]

    From 1945 till 1951 they Lived in Prague
  16. joe2000

    joe2000 Member

    By the way, I was invited to Prague in February and spent a lovely few days there this year , The Invitation was from a 311 Member called HOFRICHTER and his wife who stayed with us in London when my parents were alive.
    He took me round the museum which is dedicated to the brave men of all the Czech squadrons in the RAF during the war and is situated at the HOTEL DUO in Prague I believe it is situated on Teplická.
    It was fascinating to see the hundreds of Pictures and momentos which are there and have come from families of pilots and ground crew from all over the world.
    It is not well documented that it is there , In fact this is the first time I have ever seen it in all the years I have gone over.
    It is well worth a visit and I know they are keen to get copies of pictures of any of the Czech servicemen who fought in the RAF so they can add to their collection.
    It was sad to hear his recollections and especially to hear how the numbers have dwindled over the years for their reunions. Hopefully the relatives will carry on the the role eventually.
    But if you havent been there go visit , Its only in a small hall downstairs in the hotel, behind a bowling alley, but well worth a visit, I have never felt so humbled in my life.
  17. Suniskys

    Suniskys Active Member

    Hi Joe. It sounds like you have an amazing story.

    My situation is simlar to yours, although it happened a generation later. My father had to leave Czechoslovakia because he was very involved in the underground movement against the communists and he was worried for his life and his parents life. He moved to Germany than Italy, eventually coming to Canada where he met my mother.

    When I was about 19 he helped me start on the path to getting dual citizenship. it was a lot of work, a lot of red tape (many things had to be translated into Czech including my birth certificate) but in the end I ended up with dual citizenship. i believe the whole process took about a year or so. The embassy here in Canada was a great help, and I'm sure the one in London would be too. It is possible, you just need to have the patience to get it done!
  18. Polednikova

    Polednikova Well-Known Member

    What a coincidence. If I'd had time earlier, I was going to tell you about the Hotel Duo in Prosek. We stayed there a couple of times before we came to live in Prague. It's owned by Jan Horal, who was also in one of the Czech squadrons, and a lot of the stuff there, including the uniforms, is his memorabilia.

    It's not a public exhibition, more a club room for the Czech RAF veterans living in Prague. On the first Wednesday of the month, they hold their meetings there - I should imagine the Hofrichters go to them. I've been a few times and there's usually a good turn out - probably 20/25, including wives and sadly, widows - but my Czech's not good enough to follow much of what's going on, but when it is, I intend to offer my services to help with the admin.
  19. joe2000

    joe2000 Member

    I wish you well, I hope one day that it will become part of a museum or goes on public display, even though little is written on the internet about these brave men, the 311 Squadron is held in extremely high esteem in the Czech Republic, more so than the fighter squadrons.
    I have my fathers log books from the war and will probably donate them when I die, if the club is still going. His medals and badges are wantted by my children so thats sorted but I have already been contacted by the RAF about donating the log books to them , but I would rather they went home.
  20. Polednikova

    Polednikova Well-Known Member

    I've got Dad's log book as well. And his medals. But the best thing I've got is an big, old French map on which is plotted his route out of Czechoslovakia, and his bombing raids. I keep thinking I'll frame it, but then I wouldn't be able to take it to show people (very carefully!) from time to time.

    A couple of other ideas I've had are helping tend the graves at the lovely little UK/Commonwealth war cemetery in Olšanský hřbitov and, rather more of a commitment, to try to get a permanent memorial to the Czech squadrons here in Prague - as far as I have been able to find out, there isn't one - but again, this one will have to wait until my Czech is good enough, which will probably be another ten years at this rate! Joe, when you come out here, you can help me with it!

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