“My father would carry this New Testament everywhere he went. For me, it's a priceless souvenir. He had it with him in the Reich and in jail. You can see that he would read in it, it’s very worn. This is evidence of his religiousness and such a sort of sincerity.”
“In general, we had a good life here and things were getting more or less better. But then came the war and everything got a lot worse. I had this feeling and I keep it ever since my childhood that people started being afraid of interacting with us. As if they were repelled by us after my father had been arrested. Nobody knew what was going to follow. He might as well have gone to a concentration camp. That was after the execution of the Orthodox representatives in Kobylisy. It was not easy. We lived in uncertainty. I felt that I was getting old. People were curious on the one hand but afraid on the other. They didn’t know whether to stay in the Orthodox Church. Some left. I had such an uncomfortable feeling from the people. But our mom, she kept her faith and she even organized services without a priest.”
“I know that my father burst into tears in front of everyone as he was entering the church. They had to fix everything. They had to sew the robes from decorative curtains, they organized a collection of jewelry for the holy utensils, for the cup. This was all arranged by my father. The robe in which my father served masses was very simple because there was not much material left. Religious life was developing.”
Mgr. Ljubica Bodláková, née Axmanová (Alšová) was born on February 3, 1934, in Prague. Her father, an Orthodox priest, Bohumír Aleš (Axman) – he only changed his surname to Aleš after the war – was born on November 7, 1909, in Řimice. From 1924 on, he studied theology at the Orthodox college of Saint Sáva in Sremské Karlovce. After passing the graduation test, he continued his studies at the Theological Faculty in Belgrade. Due to an acute lack of Orthodox clergy in Czechoslovakia, the Bishop Gorazd called on him to return to his fatherland. After graduating from a compulsory school-leaving examination taken at the state secondary school in the Prague quarter of Vinohrady (which guaranteed him state aid), he married Božena, née Lakomá, on January 7, 1933. There remained nothing that would prevent him from being ordained a priest by the Bishop Gorazd. He worked briefly at the headquarters in Prague. Since 1934, he worked as an archivist and librarian of the Eparchial Council in Řimice. After the military operation Anthropoid and the subsequent death of Reinhard Heydrich, he became one of the persecuted priests of the Czech Orthodox eparchy. In September 1942, he was arrested in Olomouc and subsequently became the first Orthodox clergyman deployed to forced labor in the Reich. He returned home for health reasons in 1943. In his house in Řimice, he would secretly hold Orthodox services until the liberation. In the years 1947-1950, he worked as a military cleric of the Orthodox Church. Until his retirement, he served in the church community in Prague and shortly also in Tábor. Bohumír Aleš (Axman) died after a long and serious illness on January 18, 1980.