Břetislav Baran

* 1928

  • "Spring came in 1968 and it seemed that conditions would be loosen up. I remember that we were in the office of Mr. Ondruška, who was a friend of my father and in the past he was perhaps the Secretary of the People's Party. We were at his place with a few more friends, standing by the window looking at the pillar of the Holy Trinity. And we were deciding whether I would start to work, I mean the politics. And then we decided to form a city people's party in Olomouc. Not many people even knew it. As soon as we got together, the normalization came. So, it was done. And now the question was whether we would stay in politics or not. We decided yes, even though it was quite a courage to profess another belief. We used it to organize various tours and discussions."

  • "We had the opportunity to correspond with girls from a girls' school in England. We were even allowed to go there back then. At the end of each letter there was written that we would certainly see each other soon. Some classmates took advantage of this and stayed there. I didn't even try; I wouldn't run away because of my parents. This correspondence had a consequence for me in the future. In one of those letters, I questioned the suicide of Jan Masaryk. That has become almost fatal for me. After about three years, in the year 1951, the State Security called me and showed me my three-year-old letter photographed. They opened and censored all mail abroad. They said they could lock me up for it. I was shocked. I was with them for about an hour, and the policeman told me that I could do something for them. That I could write them a report on the sales manager and the head of work and wages. So, I did it. I still remember what he said to me: 'But comrade, we all know he's in the party. But we need to know his core. What is he really like? Is he swearing or what is he doing?‘ They wanted to know the core of man."

  • "Daddy came home from work and said, 'Turn on the London radio station.' I turned it on and we listened to the news. I didn't even realize that I always retuned it back to the Prague station. To this day, I remember that one day at four o'clock the German soldiers surrounded the village and banged on the windows, 'Open quickly.' They looked into the chamber, where there was grain and straw, they looked among the tools, probably if we had a rifle there. One of the Germans then came to the radio, put on his glasses and looked at the scale. I froze if I had returned the wavelength from London to Prague. Fortunately, I did it. I can't imagine what would happen if I didn't. But surely my father would be arrested and there would be some repression. The German just nodded in agreement and said, 'All right.' "

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    Olomouc, 11.05.2018

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The most important thing in life is the spiritual environment

Břetislav Baran / Olomouc 2018
Břetislav Baran / Olomouc 2018
photo: Tomáš Netočný

Břetislav Baran was born on October 31, 1928 in Blatec in Olomouc region. The family had a small farm, the father worked on the railroad. He is the witness of the Nazi occupation and also the circumstances of the murder of fourteen men from Kožušany just before the liberation in May 1945. Břetislav graduated from the Business Academy in Olomouc. He attended the demonstration funeral of the Minister of Foreign Affairs Jan Masaryk in March 1948. During the military service, Břetislav was classified as politically unreliable. Around 1951, he was blackmailed by the State Security for a letter from 1948, in which he questioned the suicide of Jan Masaryk. He worked as an accountant and workman in the Olomouc Machine Tool Factory. He was employed by Sigma Olomouc since the mid-1960s. In the spring of 1968 he co-founded the municipal organization of the Czechoslovak People’s Party in Olomouc. He was its executive, chairman and in the seventies and eighties a representative in the National Front. Through the People’s Party, he organized tours of sacral monuments and places of pilgrimage in Olomouc and other cities. From December 1989 to November 1990 he was the chairman of the National Committee in Olomouc. For the next twenty years he worked in the economic department of the Olomouc diocese.