Czech Republic to return items lost by American soldier 76 years after WWII

Items lost by a U.S. soldier during the liberation of Czechoslovakia in 1945 were recently discovered by a Czech history buff near Mariánské Lázně.

Jason Pirodsky

Written by Jason Pirodsky Published on 30.10.2021 09:30:00 (updated on 30.10.2021) Reading time: 2 minutes

An American soldier who was involved in the liberation of Czechoslovakia at the end of WWII will receive items he lost in the country more than 75 years ago, reports the United States Embassy in Prague.

Described by the Embassy as an American war hero, Joe Esquibel took part in the liberation of western Bohemia in the spring of 1945 during the end of the Second World War.

In the autumn of 2021, 76 years later, several items belonging to Mr. Esquibel were discovered near Mariánské Lázně by Petr Švihovec. The items included a silver bracelet, a service ribbon with a bronze star, a U.S. army lapel pin, and a Swiss coin.

"The bracelet and other personal belongings found in western Bohemia will return to an American soldier after 76 years!" the U.S. Embassy writes on Facebook.

"A few weeks ago, Petr Švihovec, a history buff, found several personal items lost by an American soldier during the Second World War near Mariánské Lázně." 

"Careful research with the help of historian Daniel Malý revealed the owner of a silver bracelet, a collar badge, a metal strip with a bronze star, and a Swiss Rappen coin. [Their owner] was Mr. Joe Esquibel, who took part in the liberation struggles in western Bohemia."

Švihovec and local historians were able to track down the owner because the bracelet was engraved with his name, along with the name of his future wife. Mr. Esquibel is reportedly living in Colorado.

"The name of Mr. Esquibel was engraved on the bracelet, and on the other side was the name of his then-girlfriend Lydia, whom he married after the war in the States," the Embassy writes.

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"Mr. Švihovec and historian Daniel Malý later discovered a document in the archives that led them to war hero Joe Ernesto Esquibel. Petr Švihovec has managed to track down Mr. Esquibel in Colorado, United States, and is now returning the lost personal belongings to their owner in collaboration with the US Embassy and Military Attaché, Lt. Col. James Hackbarth."

In follow-up communication, U.S. Embassy Press Attaché Griffin Rozell thanked Esquibel for his service and Švihovec for the care he took with the items.

"We are very pleased to be able to help deliver these items to their rightful owner, an American war hero," Rozell wrote to local media.

"We are also grateful to Mr. Švihovec for his respect for these items. We must honor and commemorate those who defended our freedom and democratic values, ​​and what they sacrificed so that we could live in peace, security, and prosperity."

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