Ing. Vlastimil Bartoš

* 1955

  • “Interrogation was unpleasant. He was asking and I played dumb. ,Did you visit Otčenášek?‘ ,Everyone did, so what is wrong with that?‘ I tried to play dumber. Of course I was scared. But I was foxy and I got advised by (Fridolín) Zahradník. Right at the first year of studies I volunteered to an atheistic seminar. A secret policeman Zajíček, who is still living now and I meet him regularly, said: ,You study an atheistic circle. What does that mean?‘ I said I was interested in everything; Marxism, Leninism, Christianity, Buddhism and Judaism. In the end it was all good and they didn’t ask me to cooperate. That was important. So I said I get interested in atheism and I like my country.”

  • “Getting involved with non-official underground church structure. There I first experienced such things as a holy mass at the table; a civil one in a circle of just a couple of people, where a man was free from any usual form of liturgy and had to focus on the essentials, what was really going on. I am very grateful for it. Zahradník became like my second father. He was rather self-confident, strict and brave, firm and reliable. He never let me down. But he also require things. He was a kind of authority. So the fact he was a priest I leant quite soon, and about the bishopric also quite soon, as in some mysterious way he trusted me and took me to his journeys, even the pretty risky ones. And he was not so careless to get me involved in risky matters.”

  • “There were several objects, which were kind of masked in a rural alone standing place, which was difficult to access. Certain synods took place, organised meetings and so on. We got together in an coordinated way and non-coordinated too, from various placed from all over the republic. That means we changed cars on our way, changed licence plates, took a discourse and field roads, as the rest was controlled. After the revolution we of course found out that the secret police know about some of them; for example in Veselka near Letovice. Frída wanted me to secure it. But back then it was a problem. I tried to find a solution, how to establish ultra sound rays in trees and surrounding objects, sound generators, so that any breaking would be signalled. A simple wife would not do the job. Nowadays it is no issue, but back then we had little resources.”

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    Ústí nad Orlicí, 13.10.2016

    duration: 04:21:11
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
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Everyone said they never wanted to join the secret police, that they had back pains and the uniform was uncomfortable and the doctor advised them to get a civil posting

Vlastimil Bartoš -1975
Vlastimil Bartoš -1975
photo: archiv pamětníka

Vlastimil Bartoš was born on 24 November, 1955 in Ústí nad Orlicí. During his high school studies he became a personal driver of the bishop Fridolín Zahradník, who was a part of so called underground church. Under cover of the communal services they visited tens of priests together of an official and hidden church. Vlastimil Bartoš also cooperated at distribution of samizdat and witnessed several clandestine consecrations. Later he also printed samizdat himself; first using a primitive duplicator and then a mimeograph. In his house also came priests such as Josef Zvěřina and Václav Vacek, who organised secret theological seminars there. Based on his activities he was called in for secret police interrogation several times. During the velvet revolution he was one of the few, who distributed information on Prague demonstrations in Ústí nad Orlicí and became one of the founding members of the local cell of the Civic Forum. In 1991 Vlastimil Bartoš started his own printing house and publishing in Ústí nad Orlicí, which he has been running until today.