Eduard Marek, the oldest Czech Boy Scout, dies at 104

He was imprisoned by both the Nazis and communists for upholding the Scouting ideals.

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston Published on 24.01.2022 13:01:00 (updated on 24.01.2022) Reading time: 2 minutes

Eduard Marek, a life-long supporter of the Scouting movement who was imprisoned by both the Nazis and the Communists, has died on Jan. 22 at the age of 104. He helped renew Scouting in 1968 and after 1989. The movement had been banned by both the communists and Nazis.

“Brother Eduard Marek, known as Hroznýš (Boa), a holder of the highest scout decoration of the Order of the Silver Wolf and the oldest scout in the Czech Republic, went to the eternal campfire,” the Czech Scouting website said.

Details of his funeral will be announced in the coming days. His death was originally reported as having occurred on the morning of Jan. 23, but it was later clarified that he passed away before midnight.

Marek was born in Prague on March 17, 1917, in Prague’s Žižkov district, and first became involved in Scouts there at a troop at the Church of St. Procopius (Prokop). He enlisted as a volunteer in the First Air Force Regiment in 1936, which began a lifelong interest in aviation. He was demobilized in 1939, but he continued to love aviation. He made a tandem jump at age 102.

Marek in 1939 began to work in real estate and at the same time began helping the Jewish community. For his efforts to aid others, he spent three months in a Nazi jail.

“It was the scout's duty to help where needed – his homeland and his neighbor. And according to that law, the people who were persecuted needed the most help. And they were Jews,” Marek said.

He illegally worked with the Scouting movement throughout the war and took part in the May 1945 Prague Uprising. After the war, he returned to real estate and headed a Boy Scout troop.

After the 1948 communist coup, he founded a resistance group called DEB for “Dr. E. Beneš.” This led to his second jail sentence, 10 years for subversion. He was released in 1956 after serving seven years. Part of his sentence was spent at uranium mines at Jáchymov. His wife was also convicted and sentenced to 11 years, and their 5-year-old son was sent to a children’s home.

Slovak President Zuzana Čaputová on Facebook recalled the sacrifices he made to promote the ideals of Scouting. "Today, two months before his 105th birthday, Eduard Marek - a scout older than Czechoslovakia - left us forever. I personally met Eduard Marek several times. … The charisma and power of life that I have experienced in these encounters are difficult to describe, but they are still in my memory," she said.

Marek was involved in the renewal of Scouting in 1968 and 1989. When Scouting was banned, he maintained contacts, visited illegal camps, and maintained relations so that the Scouting movement would be ready for reintroduction when it was again legal.

He began to make a new uniform in October 1988, when the political tide in Czechoslovakia began to turn. “In January 1989 on Wenceslas Square it became clear we would have to wait a little longer,” he said, referring to protests that had been suppressed by police.

For his service to Scouting, in 2009 he received the highest Scouting award, the Order of the Silver Wolf. In 2019, Czech Scouts presented his story at the World Scout Jamboree in the United States.

Would you like us to write about your business? Find out more