Milan Beran

* 1950  

  • “My wife had a telephone at home, which had originally been a company phone, then was converted into a private phone and when they locked me up no one wanted to pay for it. It was clear that they used it for eavesdropping. Then my wife learned from a friend who had learned it from his friend that the phone really was wiretapped. So she and her brother agreed to verify it. She called him and told him to come on Thursday at exactly 6 p.m., to bring all that he had and to really come no sooner no later than six. In the morning there was a car full of agents in front of the house, in the afternoon there were three cars. Her brother and her father arrived, and they started bringing bags with potatoes and carrots out of the car. The agents were standing in a double row and they had to open the bags for them and show them its content. Two days later a worker from the telecommunications came and cut the phone off because they figured that she had been making fun of them.”

  • “That was one of the hardest moments. It was about three years in, when I was called in for questioning and the chief of the State Security there, captain Mezera, offered me to collaborate, saying that if I signed I would soon go home, otherwise it would be nine years at least and no chances of being released early, they would make sure of that. I knew I couldn’t do it but I was scared as hell and I knew I must not show it. I wasn’t very far from signing it and I don’t resent anyone who signed to collaborate in such a situation.”

  • “When the State Security agent told me: ‘If we don’t prove anything, give it three or four years in pre-trial detention and you’ll come around’, I laughed. He was right. It’s interesting that this agent, when it was all over, actually apologized to me. He told me he respected me as his opponent and that although he didn’t approve of religion, he appreciated that I had behaved with integrity. It was unexpected. But there were others who were very unfriendly and who confiscated letters that my wife had written me about how she had found a job. I got those after six months, they just got lost somewhere. And they tried to hurt us in other ways too. So, even among the investigators-agents there were people who had something like a conscience.”

  • “As I was arranged contacts between the groups, I had a small notebook with lots of addresses and phone numbers and I knew that it could never get in their hands. When they arrested us, we couldn't get to our things, but when they were transporting us they gave us our small briefcases. Even though we were handcuffed, I managed to get in my briefcase, take out the plastic folder with my notebook and eat that notebook. They knew about the notebook because they had looked into our stuff, and when they wanted evidence they opened the briefcase but all they saw was the plastic folder that I had not enjoyed eating.”

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    Východní Čechy, 15.10.2018

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    duration: 01:14:30
    media recorded in project Příběhy regionu - HRK REG ED
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Everyone can do something to make the world a better place and you don’t have to blabber while doing it

Archive picture
Archive picture
photo: Archiv pamětníka

Milan Beran was born December 2, 1950 in Velký Dřevíč near Hronov. He grew up with just his mother and grandmother. He graduated technical high school in 1968 and that’s when he also met his future wife, whom he married in 1974. In the early times of the Normalization period he was offered to study theology by Josef Blahník, a bishop of the underground church. Milan Beran accepted and was secretly ordained in 1978 in Vyskytná near Jihlava. He then collaborated with Fridolín Zahradník, another bishop of the underground church. Together they repaired churches, distributed spiritual and other literature across the entire country and organized summer youth camps called ‘Chaloupky’ (Little Cottages). Priests Milan Beran, Fridolín Zahradník and Václav Netuka were arrested in 1983, the pretext being their alleged larceny of socialist property. They spent four years in pre-trial detention, appealed to the court several times and eventually lived to see their release without a conviction. However, precisely the fact that they had not been finally convicted made efforts for redress and rehabilitation more difficult for them after the Velvet Revolution. Milan Beran and Fridolín Zahradník co-founded the Emauzy Association, taking care of marginalized people. Milan Beran was also in the construction business and continues working as an auxiliary priest.