Arnošt Červinka

* 1939

  • "They nodded their heads with satisfaction and it almost looked like I would be accepted, but when it was over, they showed each other the certificate I had from Zlín. And even though I had a good class teacher and the director also stood by me and they were definitely not interested in spoiling my report, so there was that typical question that even the teachers and the director, who were cheering for me here in Zlín and would have liked me join the musicology, they couldn't avoid the question, which sounded so shrewdly. Whether the student is balanced with religious issues. That was a charming question that could be answered in any number of ways. So, they read it to me and said: "We have this here in the report. Everything is fine, as far as the music is concerned, you have fulfilled all the conditions.' They told me that openly, but then they said: 'We still need to clarify, you have such a mysterious sentence here,' and they smiled at each other. So, it can be seen that they were not some forged comrades in that commission. So, they said, 'You will surely answer us what it means in your case that you are balanced with a religious question.' So, I had not the slightest interest in denying anything, I knew that the teachers and everybody knew that I was an active minister and a Catholic, but the fact that I was a musician gave me peace during my studies in high school, because everyone was sure that I would go on to the conservatory after school. So, I answered them truthfully that the question here does not mean that I am not a believer, but that I have no reason to hide it and that there is also freedom of conscience in Czechoslovakia."

  • "Even in the first years, it was not so mysterious that some of the families of Communist Party members went to church here and there. And they had a serious impression, me even later, when after many years as a new priest, as a chaplain, as a native of Zlín, exceptionally I even had my first place of work in Zlín, few people are immediately in their birthplace. So, I asked at funerals with bereaved people, when it came to the funerals of some deserving, old party functionaries, that they always somehow came to me before the procession to the Forest Cemetery and said: "Mr. Chaplain, you know, my father was a member of the party, but he went to church." You see, he was convinced that Jesus Christ was the first communist.'"

  • "I have such pleasant memories, when it was the liberation then, the area was really liberated, like traditionally most of it, by the Red Army. To the large line of tanks in that village, which is not very big, but has a simple ground plan. One main street and then it forks at the end, ypsilon is the layout of the village. I remember the rows of those Russian tanks, how they stood in the center of the village and how the Red Army men were sitting on benches or in some alcoves somewhere and playing the accordion. That is, the end, as we learned later in school, what those ends looked like thanks to the Red Army, it wasn't all that simple, but as far as I know, there weren't any such conflicting problems in Rašovice."

  • Full recordings
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    Zlín, 26.08.2020

    duration: 02:03:27
    media recorded in project Příběhy regionu - STM REG ED
  • 2

    Zlín, 28.08.2020

    duration: 01:53:41
    media recorded in project Příběhy regionu - STM REG ED
  • 3

    Zlín, 30.09.2021

    duration: 02:47:49
    media recorded in project Příběhy regionu - STM REG ED
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Life is about nothing less than a clear conscience

Arnošt Červinka in 1967
Arnošt Červinka in 1967
photo: archive of the witness

Arnošt Červinka was born on May 24, 1939 in Zlín to Anna and Arnošt Červinka. The events of the Second World War drastically affected the family’s destiny. Arnošt’s uncle and mother’s brother, František Diviš, was arrested and imprisoned in Terezín on suspicion of aiding the resistance. From there he returned home in May 1945 - for the funeral of his father, who was fatally shot by retreating German soldiers. Arnošt himself lived the last two years of the war with his grandparents in Rašovice, separated from his mother and two siblings, whom he did not see for the first time until August 1945. The family was strongly Catholic, and the upbringing of the children was carried out in this spirit. In the 1950s, Arnošt resigned from the Pionýr youth organization by his own decision, because he wanted to devote himself fully to ministry. His father refused to join the Communist Party in 1948, and because of this Arnošt and his sister Anna had problems with admission to secondary school. After completing a one-year teaching course following elementary schooling, Arnošt managed to graduate from Gottwald’s 11-year secondary school. In order to be able to study at the Faculty of Theology, he first had to work for two years, first as a music teacher and then as a worker in Gottwald’s Svit. Thanks to this, he improved his Dossier (a file with information about one´s class background, one´s views and ideological attitudes) and in 1958 he was able to join the Roman Catholic Cyril and Methodius Faculty in Litoměřice, which he completed with priestly ordination five years later. After the start of normalization, Arnošt Červinka once again got into a dispute with the regime. In 1971, he consciously did not participate in the elections of the representative bodies of Czechoslovakia and at the same time refused to join the pro-regime Catholic organization Pacem in terris. This resulted in a transfer to a village parish and a ban on priestly activity in the Gottwaldov district. After the Velvet Revolution, Arnošt Červinka taught history at the Archbishop’s High School in Kroměříž for twenty years and at the same time continued to work as a priest. He is the author of the publication History of the Zlín parish and surrounding parishes. In 2021 he lived in Zlín.