Ing. Jiří Boháč

* 1932  

  • “Because there was an engineer regiment, a normal combat one in Liptovský Mikuláš and they had their material stored there, I mean the army engineers specialized in railway operation. So they had a railway storehouse there and it was not big enough and we were enlarging it and building a big storehouse for the engineer regiment. They accommodated us there in wooden ‘tesko‘ buildings [Tesko is the name of the company]. Because it was located near the Tatra Mountains and [Liptovský] Mikuláš is on the Váh river and it was freezing cold in winter there and the water would freeze. There was a washroom where we washed, shaved and so on. All of it froze so some men had frostbitten feet and so... Me and my friend used to put newspapers to our military clodhoppers because we knew that newspapers protected in some cases better than fabric. So we used to (do) it in various ways... “The Red Right” served us well.”

  • “Two men in leather coats came directly to the gym. Two state security officers really came there. They took us from the PE lesson to school, to teachers´ lounge, to headmaster´s office and they interrogated us there. And after the interrogation, they of course took us to a prison which was not far away. The court is very close to the grammar school, it is practically next to it. It is about a hundred or a hundred and fifty metres. So they imprisoned us there.”

  • “We were called for military service by District Military Headquarters in Chotěboř. We met there in the courtyard, suddenly we were not the only ones who had bad cadre references, there were also other ones like us there. We were transported by buses from there to Pardubice. So people from all districts met in (the region of) Pardubice. We stayed in the barracks one night and the following day in the afternoon they took us against our will to an exhibition that was taking place in Pardubice at that time. There were various products there with a sign saying that this and that businessman whose business was nationalised had kept it a secret. And those were the pests of the nation who instead of handing in everything during nationalisation hid something and therefore harmed the nation. I cannot say if it was true or if they stage-managed it. But I think that it was not clear.”

  • “As I said the senate which sentenced us, so Dr. Felix took the burden of judging us very leniently and convinced the two people's judges to go along with it as well. He was then persecuted because of it. Disciplinary proceeding was lead against him and he was transferred to Ústí nad Orlicí to a less important court and he was persecuted again until he was deprived of the title of judge and he had to leave the judiciary. Then he of course made his living as an employee of one of the construction companies when apartment buildings and buildings in Prague and surroundings were being built and he worked as a worker until his death or until his retirement.”

  • “They had us lined up in the yard. So we lined up and there was a major, he was short and rotund, I remember that. He had a little whip and was whipping it against his high boots as Germans, Gestapo officers used to do. During the welcome speech, when he was welcoming a thousand of us, you could also hear him saying: ‘We do not care about your lives at all. You need to realize that!‘ And so on and on. So of course we were also quite vigilant. When we joined (the military service), it is a paradox nowadays, but they cut us bald, completely bald and it was a shame at that time. Back then nobody was bald as nowadays when it is fashionable to shave your hair, it was an unimaginable shame at that time. It was the first thing that they did to us at the very beginning.”

  • “One day we arranged that we would spread the produced leaflets in the villages in area of later districts of Chotěboř, Hlinsko and Havlíčků Brod. I was assigned the villages of Víska and Nová Ves, so on Sunday, it may have been on 6 November in the evening, I was riding a bike through Nová Ves and Víska and throwing the leaflets around. I threw a few dozen of them around. I do not know the exact number. I did not spread them in Malče because I lived in Malče so I did not want to draw someone´s attention. It was on Saturday in the evening and State Security came to investigate us on Monday. We were arrested on Tuesday. Some of us were arrested on Monday, some on Tuesday.”

  • “We were divided in four cells, we were thirteen of us. We were three, four and sometimes two there, it depended. We were sometimes moved. There were also prisoners, for example collaborators and they went to work to Libice nad Doubravou or to Chotěboř to a large farm and they left every day wearing gowns and they took them outside. However we had common line ups in the mornings and in the evenings. Back then we were sixty prisoners there. A lot of us. And of course we spent the days speaking and debating in the cells and some people were very affected by the arrest, and some dealt quite good with it. I was in the second group. But I know that my friend, I will not mention his name, suffered a major fit there. We had to talk him out of it, because if he had had the chance, he would have committed a suicide. However, he did not have a chance there, we others were there but I know that he really... It was a horrible experience for me when he was tugging the bars and was in a shock. So the effect on young people was not always the same. As I say, everyone put up with it in a different way, but we were definitely thinking of what would happen next. I did not mind the custody as much as the fact that I could not attend school.”

  • “As I have already mentioned, the main punishment was that we were not allowed to continue studying. Our exclusion from the grammar school was complete. It means that we were not allowed to study for several years. In the letter of exclusion the then minister of Education Zdeněk Nejedlý excluded us from and now I quote “all schools of all levels throughout the Czechoslovak Republic” That is the end of the quote. It was the biggest punishment for all of us.”

  • “Josef Dvořák, Pepík, was the main initiator. He sat in the school desk behind me. We were really good friends and he offered to some people, who were up to making the leaflets, to take part in it. It means to write the text, to write it on membranes and to copy it. He and his friend from Sobiňov called Křivský who did not attend the grammar school arranged it. So that is how it happened. So we shared information during the breaks or after school and we passed the copied membranes. I also copied them. My dad owned a typewriter and so I copied the text on membranes.”

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    Praha, 27.08.2020

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Fourteen imprisoned comprehensive students

The black baron Jiří Boháč in the Technical auxiliary battalion in 1953
The black baron Jiří Boháč in the Technical auxiliary battalion in 1953
photo: witness´s archive

Jiří Boháč was born on 8 January 1932 in the village of Klokočov in the Iron Mountains. His parents moved to Malče after three and a half years and he studied for four years at elementary school there and he was then admitted to study at eight-year real grammar school in Chotěboř. Jiří and his schoolmates did not agree with established regime of the Communist party after the February putsch in 1948. They wrote an anti-regime text which they copied and at the beginning of November 1948 took also to neighbouring districts. The students were apprehended for the activity several days later and they were taken to the District Court building in Chotěboř. They were imprisoned there until a court proceeding on 17 February 1949. At last the students got away with suspended sentences also considering their young age. However, all of them were expelled from the grammar school and were prohibited to study at all schools in Czechoslovakia. Jiří Boháč and other convicts had hard times looking for work. Since March 1949, the witness worked in a machine tractor station in Malče first as an auxiliary worker and later as a tractor driver. He became an operational accountant in November 1951. He joined the Auxiliary technical battalions. He returned from military service in December 1954 and he arranged extramural studies at the grammar school in Chotěboř (at an eleven-year secondary school). He was allowed to study after the Ministry of Education invalidated a court order to expel students from their studies. He passed the secondary-school leaving exams in Spring 1955 and he was admitted to study at Czech Technical University in Poděbrady. He met his future wife there and he switched to extramural studies. He was employed in Kolín TESLA company since 1958 where he worked in production and then in construction (department). In 1969 he won an open competition for the position of head of the electrical centre of Civil Engineering company in Prague. He got retired in 1990 and shortly after that he was rehabilitated by court. He was a member of the Czech Numismatic Society from 1985 to 1993. He has worked as an expert witness in the field of numismatics since 1987. He wrote several specialized publications about numismatics. He is the author of the book “Verše z Podoubraví” (“Poems from the area of Podoubraví”) and besides he has painted more than 170 paintings. He was living in Prague at the time of filming (2021).