“Some time in autumn they were digging out potatoes, there was snow on the field and it was snowing. Since it was dark, tractors with their headlights were lighting the field and people were digging out potatoes there. The children were freezing. I protested because I saw that the boys’ hands were covered with dirt and snow and that it was not possible to work like that. But we were told that the work had to be done… I was angry. What happened was that the coup d’état in Chile took place the very same night. I allegedly said: ‘So again there is one communist less.’ This has cost me my job. But they have already had more things on me. The StB Security Police arrived there in their Volha car on the following day and they arrested me. Then they invited teachers from the whole East Bohemia to a gym in Vysoké Mýto and I was made an exemplary case as a warning. They were spitting at me. Of course, I was not personally present there. (So they thus turned it into a regional scale affair…) Yes, and they said that anyone who would dare to speak or do something against the regime would end up like this. So I ended up like this and nobody wanted to hire me.”
“I was ready to emigrate with my three children, but then I realized that I was not such a coward that I would emigrate. I consider people who emigrate cowards. (And was there a chance for you to emigrate?) Yes. I was at the airport in Frankfurt am Main with three children, with suitcases, with everything. Without my wife; the authorities would then have to allow her to go. I said no, we are going back. (And what year was it, approximately?) 1984-1985.”
“It was in 1969. A kind of a little forest was built around the statue of St. Wenceslas so that people would not be able to hold patriotic and anti-occupation happenings. I and my friend were sitting for an exam in psychology at that time. Our teacher suggested to us that we do something about those trees. We thus gathered strength in a pub and at night we modified the little forest a bit… Nothing happened, and fortunately, our action had no consequences for us.”
I realized that I was not such a coward that I would emigrate
Augustin Karel Andrle von Sylor was born October 25, 1946 in Náchod as the eldest one of four children of Augustin Otta Andrle, the general secretary of the insurance company Prudential, and Božena, née Teichmannová, who was a clerk in the Prague Electric Company. Shortly after Augustin’s birth, the Andrle family moved to his father’s birthplace in Vysoké Mýto. The aristocratic origin of the family significantly determined their fate in the communist Czechoslovakia. In the 1950s and 1960s, Augustin’s father was imprisoned for seven and a half years for political reasons. Augustin was not allowed to study and he thus enrolled in a vocational school to apprentice as a locksmith. Simultaneously, he was taking evening classes and he eventually graduated from secondary school in 1964. In spite of the resistance from the political regime, he eventually managed to get admitted to the Faculty of Physical Education and Sport and to the Faculty of Science of Charles University in Prague. As a university student, in 1968 he led a strike against the Soviet occupation of Czechoslovakia. Augustin worked as a teacher in a vocational school in Vysoké Mýto, but in 1973 he was dismissed due to his political stance. Until 1981 he then worked as a welder and locksmith. From 1981 he served as a coach of young swimmers. As a coach of the national junior team he raised a number of athletes and he won over 550 medals with them. In 1992-1996 he swam with his trainees over the Straits of Gibraltar, Suez, and Bosporus. Apart from sports he is active in protection of cultural monuments and in politics. In 2013 he was elected to the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic when he ran as a non-partisan candidate for the political movement Úsvit by Tomio Okamura.