History and present of the museum

Thirty years of discovering the almost forgotten stories of the Czechoslovak Legionnaires has taken Colonel MVDr. Milan Žuffa-Kunč to various parts of the world and led to countless meetings with veterans and Legionnaires. You too can meet their legacy in person at the Czechoslovak Legion Museum.  

Over time, his leisure activity grew into a passion and his passion into a commitment to preserve the legacy of the Czechoslovak legionnaires of the First World War for their descendants. 

Their legacy should not be forgotten, because it was also thanks to the sacrifices of the legionaries that we were able to establish our own state - Czechoslovakia. 

The exhibition is not only a monument to the bravery of our legionaries, but also a probe into the everyday lives, joys and sorrows of soldiers at the front.

Just as our legionnaires travelled the world to win peace and their own state, this exhibition has travelled to various countries during its existence to commemorate the contribution of Czechoslovak legionnaires to world history. 

This unique collection brings you an insight into the past through authentic testimonies of witnesses of the First World War, personified by the vivid narration of the founder of the legio-trains, Colonel Milan Žuffa-Kunč. 

History of the exhibition

KOŠICE, exhibition opening 12. May 2001


Exhibition under the auspices of the then President of the Slovak Republic Rudolf Schuster.

PARIS, 29 October 2002 - 6 January 2003

Les Légions tchécoslovaques

Exhibition in honour of the Czechoslovak legions in the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, France. 


I came to the issue of the legions in 1990 by a great accident.

As a veterinarian serving in the Czechoslovakia. I was returning from a canine competition and at a petrol station I found a photograph on a bench showing a group of soldiers with two dogs by a stone pillar.

I identified the dogs as nice crossbreeds, but the soldiers in unfamiliar uniforms were a mystery to me. There was also a sign on the column that said in Cyrillic
" EUROPE " and Czech " FOR FREE " ( see photo ).

At home, I gradually deciphered the unknown details in the photographs. I found out that the column is located on the border of Asia and Europe in Urzumka /about 18 km east of Zlatoust/ and that the soldiers sitting and standing at the column are Czechoslovak legionaries.

To get more information about the Czechoslovak Legions, I started to visit
The Historical Institute of the Czech Army in Prague and memorials. I collected more and more period photographs and classified them into individual periods and military groups.

I have thousands of them categorized by place of origin and conduct of combat.
At the exchanges, I also gradually bought uniforms of legionnaires from France, Russia and Italy, legionary field mail, stamps and currency that the legionnaires printed themselves, jewelry made of coins, diaries, regimental decorations, devalued weapons, period paintings, commemorative certificates and more ( see photo ).

MEETING with Czechoslovak Legionnaires

In 1990 I met a member of the 1st Czechoslovak Home Guard Battalion from Italy, a rifleman named Vladislav Bem.
He was pleasantly surprised how much information I had about the Czechoslovak legions and how many artifacts I had collected.

At our next meeting he introduced me to his legionary friends, among whom was Colonel Jindřich Suška.

All of them regularly took part in annual commemorative events connected with the Czechoslovak legionary tradition. "Brother" Jindřich Suška served in the Legion in Russia with the 4th Czechoslovakian Army. "Prokopa
The Great", as well as in the French Legion at 21 Wed. Regiment and also in the 23rd Czechoslovakia. Regiment.

In the course of our very interesting session, I not only got from them
a lot of information, but also many photos from the events they attended.

One of their many memories was their attendance at the funeral of 100-year-old General Antonín Mikuláš Číla (in 1983), at which Br. Bém did the honorary staffage with a display of the general's decorations and Br. Suška gave a commemorative speech.

Czech team and old friends

Even before the outbreak of World War I, many Czechs and Slovaks were already working in Russia. They had been working in Russia for several years as employees of the Mladá Boleslav branch of the Laurin and Klement car factory.  

     Among them was, for example, František Sazima (later commander of the 2nd Air Regiment in Olomouc), then e.g. František Šilhánek, Jaroslav Kučera, Josef Hájek, Václav Tichý and many others. / see photo /

     Dozens of Czechs and Slovaks were officially accepted as members of the Czech Companion on 4 September 1914. 250 Volhynian Czechs also served in the Czech Companion. On St. Wenceslas' Day, 28 September 1914, the oath ceremony of the Czech Companion took place on Sofia Square in Kiev.

     In October 1914, 749 members of the Czech Company moved to the front in Halice.

Those who had joined the Bohemian Company by the end of 1914 were called "Old-Russians". Among them was the already mentioned A. M. Chila, who after the end of the war on 1.6.1920 in Vladivostok boarded with his troops on the American ship Edellyn. As the commander of that ship transport, he was responsible for transporting 2,000 men and 40 women. Everything went well. In Trieste, they transferred from the ship to the train and arrived in their homeland in August 1920.  

     General A. M. Chila was a trained potter and porcelain painter before the war. Therefore, he was able to paint beautiful pictures, which he used as memorial cards for various anniversaries and reunions of the old family.    

     Even his brother Otakar Číla was a painter and as a Czechoslovak legionary in Russia he was the author of the proposed banknote in 1918 and the author of the legionary stamps in 1919. 

When the regiments organized an event, they printed one-day notes. On these tickets was written on the right side an interesting text: "Counterfeiting is not worth it for anyone, because you don't get anything for real money".