I worked for two years in the laundry. There were about two thousand prisoners and just three washing machines. The guard there wasn’t that bad. They were acting on Russian instructions there. Once a Russian clerk came and wanted me to do her laundry. She called me František. Everybody there had his number. ‘Fanouši, you won’t wash the staircase anymore. I managed to transfer you to our office. You’ll keep our office neat and tidy’. The next day the warden came and said that this was an order and that the Russians wanted this. She later offered me a conditional release. My left leg was supposed to be amputated. They wanted to send me to the Pankrác hospital. But she told me she’d take care of me and that I’d stay in Ruzyně. So they put me in an extra cell with the guard. She got me a couple of blankets to keep me warm. She also brought me oranges, lemons and apples and she gave me a shot. It was in 1953. She told me about a revolt that was happening. She said there had been a currency reform and showed me the new currency. She showed me the newspapers and there were some articles about people being arrested. She asked me all kinds of things: if I was well, if I had slept well, if I needed anything. She said she knew that life behind bars was a difficult one. I didn’t know what this all meant. I didn’t know what to do. We hadn’t kissed, yet, but I think she was in love with me. She kept calling me sweetheart and that she wanted to help me. You know, until then, all I ever heard was shouting and insults. Hers was a sweet voice, a woman’s voice. I’d say a compassionate voice.”
“I regained my conscience after three days. The doctor came and said: ‘capable of custody’. They led me under the gallows and threatened me. They said they’d hang me. That they’d help me get into heaven. Then they put me in solitary confinement and asked me all kinds of questions. For instance, they asked me how I would recognize Adam and Eve in heaven. So I spent half a year in solitary confinement. There was a cross carved into the wall. I took a closer look and I read: ‘Jesus, make me stronger’. There must have been someone before me who believed in God. The warden was watching me closely through the spy hole. He said: ‘what are you looking at’? I said that I was just looking at the wall. It seemed suspicious to him that I was looking at one spot for so long. He noticed the cross and had someone come to paint it over.”
“Once we’d open a new mine. They took us there on a truck. We were sitting back-to-back and a warden was sitting in the back to watch us. He had an automatic gun with him. The car hit a bump and the gun fired a shot which killed a priest from Olomouc who was sitting next to me. He was buried and the protocol said that he was shot while he attempted to escape. But that wasn’t true.”
“We were having a mass when the warden looked inside and said that: ‘I’ve just caught a couple of priests who are serving a mass’. We all had to step out and the others as well. He called in the other wardens and told them: ‘I’ll be promoted for this. Finally, I’ve caught the priests during their service’. He passed around the bottle. ‘It’s water, water, damn it, are you drunk? Don’t you recognize water from wine? Back to the cell’. Bishop Davídek said: ‘Boys, you’ve just seen a miracle. Jesus turned water into wine and I’ve just turned wine into water’. He threw away the bottles and the warden didn’t notice it. So the wine was saved.”
“I was more or less alone in Zdice. Those who were there to seek retribution didn’t speak Czech very well. In the morning, the heat was almost unbearable. We would make fodder for the livestock. There was no toilet so we had to do our bodily needs outdoors. In the morning, the workers from the collectives would come and use our excrement as fertilizer on the field. One of the wardens was picking on me. I had to squeeze the crap with my own hands. ‘You used to eat chicken and drink wine! Squeeze or you’ll have a bullet in your head’! He had a revolver with him. His name was Vágner. He laughed and laughed. It was hard for me to hold back. I really wanted to punch him hard. But I managed to control myself. It was Good Friday and I recalled the suffering Jesus Christ had to endure. This remembrance really saved me.”
“In 1948, I was still teaching at the Archbishop grammar school. I went to Jindřichův Hradec for Christmas to see my uncle Karel Trnavský. I went to Sezimovo Ústí to the grave of Edvard Beneš. I didn’t know that his grave was under surveillance. I somehow sneaked in and went to take a look at it. There was a beautiful writing: ‘Dear Mr. President, you are more than a king to us. T. G. Masaryk and Jan are waiting for you at heaven’s door’. Hana Benešová came out and invited me to come inside. I spent two hours with her. She showed me all the beautiful Christmas post cards she had received. She asked me about monsignor Šrámek, where he was and the like. This was on Christmas and in February the next year I was already arrested. They used this visit against me. They wanted to know what I did at Hana Benešová’s place, what I did at Edvard Beneš’s grave and who had instructed me to go there. On what purpose. ‘Were you looking for contacts as a Vatican spy’? They were making up crazy things.”
“I could hear the screaming and moaning coming out from the interrogation room in Ruzyně. I was doing the laundry there. We would collect the dirty laundry from the room where they interrogated people. The investigator often had his questions scribbled on one corner of his table to make sure he wouldn’t forget any of them: where, why, with whom. It was a sort of a help for him. The prisoner had his legs and arms tied to the chair. This was to prevent him from assaulting the interrogator. In that room, I often saw clothes that were bloody or shitty… I heard these cries that were all too familiar to me. These people were suffering badly. They were bloody martyrs.”
František Adamec was born in 1922 in Dědice. In June 1946, he was ordained as a priest by Bishop Stanislav Zela. He served as a Parish Vicar in Drahotušice near Přerov and later as the Dean at Archbishop’s High School in Kroměříž. In this position, he looked after the Catholic youth. According to the communist regime, he was accused of having a bad influence on the youth and was arrested on February 19, 1949. He was subjected to brutal torture during his interrogations. He was accused, as the spiritual leader of the group ‘Orel’ (The Eagle) of Drahotuš of encouraging the young people to emigrate. Ultimately, everyone in the group was tried together as members of a court-invented, subversive group called ‘Bečváři z Rokle’ (Bečvářs of the Valley). Adamec was sentenced to 10 years in prison for his beliefs. He was forced to work in uranium mines in Jáchymov and Slavkovsko and was also held in prisons in Bory, Valdice and Ruzyně. Eventually he was given presidential amnesty and conditionally released in 1956 to work in a brick factory. After many years he was given permission by the state to return to his profession as a priest, which he pursued until 2009. He spent the last two years of his life in retirement with the Congregation Sisters of Providence of St. Vincent de Paul, in Kroměříž. He died on November 15, 2011.