Jiří Bauer

* 1929

  • “There was no way of discussing with the state secretary for churches. But you could feel that you could dare a bit more that before. She had an atheist lecture at an economic school in Kraslice and I found out about it. So when she came, I was already sitting among the students. I wanted to hear what she was going to tell them. And when she saw me, she stood up and said I can’t be there as a priest. And the students went absolutely crazy. But I didn’t want to do her any wrong, I didn’t come to discuss with her, I just wanted to hear the speech. And in the 60s, I had conflicts with this secretary all the time. I had a lot of lectures at the faculty and in various congregations and she found out about it and said to me: ‘I want to know about every step you take, where you were, what you did and so on.’ And I told her: ‘We are not living in the times of Maria Theresa. You have to understand that the times have changed.’”

  • “I told my wife that we were going to attend congregation meetings. At that time it wasn’t very common to hold Bible seminars. Once we came to Bráník where we first saw father Václav Mikulecký and he made a profound impression on us. He was like a prophet when he preached and read from the Bible. I can still recall how he read from Jeremiah: ‘Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord’ (Jeremiah 9:23-24). As we were leaving, he shook our hands and we talked a bit. He also announced a biblical seminar and my wife agreed to come. He was lecturing about minor prophets and their lives and my wife was really charmed by his lectures. That was in fact the beginning of our friendship. We started visiting the Mikulecký family. Václav was active in the religious community and he also lectured at the university under prof. Rutrle so we had a lot in common. And when me and my wife were getting married, the ceremony took place in Braník, where I had been ordained a priest by bishop Arnošt Šimšík from Pilsen. So our relationship got even tighter.”

  • “When the Holy Spirit leads a man, unexpected things can happen. I never thought that I would be a member of the Seventh Day Adventist Church. If somebody told me that before I got christened, I wouldn’t believe him. It took seven years of studies and spiritual combat. Adventists were canonical at that time. The spirit of those congregations was canonical. Now it’s biblical. I knew it. There were a lot of brothers who would ask me: ‘You go among the canonists?’ But I fought for change and the church is completely different these days.”

  • “My name is Jiří Bauer and I was born in Prague. Because I was an ailing child, my father who worked as a dentist and had his surgery in Podolí, decided that we would move to the countryside near Mladá Boleslav. So I spent my childhood and my youth in Bezno near Mladá Boleslav where I attended basic school and also was introduced to the teachings of The Czechoslovak Hussite Church.”

  • “Those were really hard times. Once I came back home from the mine. I had lunch and somebody rang the doorbell. I opened the door and there was a man and he started explaining with bad Czech: ‘Please trust me, this used to be my house. We had to leave in a hurry and I left a treasure up in the attic. I know exactly where it is. Could help me to take the planks off, I want to take it with me.’ So I told him to come inside and we came up to the attic. He said: ‘It’s here. It’s here. Could you bring an axe or something else?’ So I went downstairs and my wife was suspicious as if she knew. She told me: ‘He’s a snooper.’ So I called the police and told them we had a spy in the house. A car full of officers came within three minutes. My wife was coming down the stairs with him. I opened the door and heard the policemen say to him: ‘Damn, you’ll get us into trouble.’ So this happened during the normalization period.”

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    Loket nad Ohří, 18.02.2011

    duration: 03:17:23
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
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There is one thing for which I thank to God: Even though I had hard times, my conscience is still clear and that is very important

Young Bauer
Young Bauer
photo: Archiv sběrače

Jiří Bauer was born on the 25th of March 1929 in Prague but he grew up in Bezno near Mladá Boleslav. After the grammar school, he considered music studies but upon advice of father František Doubek, a priest of The Czechoslovak Hussite Church, he decided to enroll to the Hussite theological faculty in Prague (1948-1952). During his studies he met father Václav Mikulecký, with whom he later took part in the community of living religion within the Hussite church. In October 1952, he was ordained priest by bishop Arnošt Šimšík in the Prague-Braník parish. He served shortly in Sokolov, but was soon drafted to the army where he served in the Auxiliary Technical Battalion. In 1954, he became a priest in Žlutice. He organized discussions for believers, theological meetings and he was a member of the newly established theological advisory council in the Pilsen diocese. Because of his activities, the secret police started watching him in the 50s. In 1964, he was sent to Sokolov, where his fourth child was born. In the 60s, he gradually distanced from the Hussite church, partly under the influence of his wife. He left the clergy in 1972. In April 1977, he was baptized by immersing in the river and admitted to the Seventh Day Adventist Church. He was elected a deacon in the Sokolov congregation, he served masses and because of his theological education, he also lectured at priest seminars in Liberec in the period from 1976 to 1980. But the church never ordained him a priest and he had to work as a miner for 17 years until he got retired. In the 70s, he was under permanent pressure from the secret police because of his activities and contacts in the church but he persisted. Throughout his life, he followed the scripture: “Wait for the Lord. Be strong, and let your heart take courage. Wait for the Lord” (Psalm 27:14). The bible citation that has become essential to his life was Psalm 77:13: “Your way, O God, is holy.”