Petr Andrle

* 1942  

  • “Then I was looking for a job. I wanted to do at least some promotion. I came somewhere, they told me they had a job, but when I gave them certain information, they didn't have that job anymore. I was quite desperate. Finally, I applied for an organized recruitment to the Dukla Mine in Havířov. They hired everyone there back then, because there was a lack of miners. And they didn't hire me. Nobody explained it to me. I went to the personal department and I was told that they just wouldn't accept me. It made me unhappy. You know, two children.”

  • “They put me in the prison kitchen for the last month of my custody. There, I found out that there was a system how one could send a letter outside. No one knew anything about me, no one wanted to tell anything to anyone. It was horrible. They told me in the kitchen, that I could write a letter and they will deliver it to my wife, with a condition that she pays 500 CZK to a woman who would deliver it to her. It was the lady who was coming to the prison for garbage. She always put the letters in a plastic bag and put them on the bottom of the bucket under the scraps. The guards knew her. She was carrying the letters away like that, delivering them to the addressees and collecting five hundred for each. It was a pretty good deal at that time. So, my wife found out where I was. And there was a window in the kitchen from which one could see the road outside. Because I didn't know at all if everyone was alive, I wrote to her to walk on a certain day and hour down the road in front of the prison, that I would see her. Also, I mentioned that she must not look at the windows. They arrested me just at the time when my second child was born, a daughter with infant hepatitis. I didn't know how it turned out for her. At the agreed time, I saw a boy along the way scuttling, followed by my wife with a stroller. From this I understood that the three of them were all right.”

  • “One day two gentlemen visited me. They did not introduce themselves. They said they needed information about some older photographs, and that they heard that I could help them. I said I was willing to look at them. They asked me if I could go with them to the security office that they had the photos there. I was naive, I had no suspicion. I remember it was in December. At that time I wore a fur coat. So I put it on and told the secretary that I would be back soon. And I didn't come back. They put me in a cell and interrogated me there. They were asking nonsense things. They didn't say what they blamed me for. They asked questions, I said what I knew. Then I was taken to the custody prison in Karviná. I spent three months there. I didn't know why.”

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    v Ostravě, 19.02.2019

    (audio)
    duration: 03:49:56
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
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We would be better people if we knew the history and learned from it

Petr Andrle, Ostrava 2019
Petr Andrle, Ostrava 2019
photo: Petra Sasínová

Petr Andrle was born on November 21, 1942 to a teaching family in Kladno. He grew up in Klasterec nad Ohri in northwestern Bohemia in the former Sudetes. He worked as an editor of the company journal in a ball bearing factory in Klášterec nad Ohří. Then he moved to North Moravia and worked for the magazine OKD Havíř. After the invasion of the Warsaw Pact troops into Czechoslovakia, he was making and distributing leaflets denouncing the occupation. In 1971, when he was shortly managing a cultural house in Havířov, he was arrested and charged for stealing socialist property. He was released after three months and then acquitted at the court. Until the fall of the Communist regime he worked in mines in Karviná. After the Velvet Revolution he moved to Moravský Beroun in the Olomouc region. He opened an antiquarian bookshop there, founded the newspaper Čas and the Moravian Expedition publishing house, in which he publishes the local history and historical publications. He commits to improve Czech-German relations and cultivate former Sudetenland. Since 2008 he has been living and working in Čeladná in Beskydy.