“There wasn’t a soul on the whole floor. He sent the other guard to the theatre on purpose. In other words, he had prepared for it, it was qualified murder. I don’t know if it was his own thinking or if there was someone pulling the strings from behind. Defend yourself, when he’s pointing a pistol at you. You can’t. I was young, I wanted to live, I guess I wouldn’t have... They way they did it was they massacred you, and then they claimed you had attacked them. Yeah, right.”
“I studied here all the way until my final exams. I was supposed to take the last, I think, two exams around Christmas, except State Security came and arrested me on 17 November. This one irate State Security midget yelled at me: ‘I was your secret admirer.’ I said: ‘Not much of an admirer, but the secret part fits.’ ‘You’ll lose that smile.’ I said: ‘I heard you treat people worse than the Gestapo.’ ‘Has someone done something to you here yet?’ ‘That’s my business.’ They were rabid primitives.”
“There were plans for who was to be guided across, politicians who had to disappear or else... Say, Professor Bušek taught canon law at our school, the Communists hated him, if he hadn’t escaped, they’d have executed him for sure. But he managed to get out, and we were the ones who organised that. Apart from that we published a magazine, which contained kind of anti-Communist things, though not all that much, it wasn’t... For instance, that we mustn’t all leave, that there has to be some kind of bastion here, a few people who’ll watch over things. I had one of those Rotaprints, that’s what we printed it on. There were nigh on fifty people in total in the group.”
There’s no point in wallowing in a sense of injustice
Karla Charvátová, née Grollová, was born on 26 March 1925 in Josefov as the elder of two daughters. Her parents owned a cloth shop and a textile mill, their business was confiscated following February 1948. Karla began studying at the Faculty of Law in Prague in 1945. While studying she joined the illegal resistance group Czechoslovak Freedom Movement, which organised border-crossing groups and published an anti-Communist magazine. On 17 November 1948, shortly before her final exams, Karla was arrested; after three days in Prague she was taken to the prison in Pilsen. There she was raped by a prison guard and conceived a child. She then waited seven months on remand for the trial, which took place in June 1949 and which acquitted her taking note of her unwanted state of pregnancy. She stayed at the house of friends’ of hers for the two months before birth - she gave her newborn baby girl up for adoption. She had difficulties finding a job after her release, after her (their?) divorce she looked after her parents and her sick sister, with whom she lived in one flat. Karla Charvátová was rehabilitated in 1990, and she is a laureate of the Stories of Injustice Awards. In 2011 a documentary film about her life, called K. Ch., was made by documentarists of the Political Prisoners project. Karla Charvátová passed away on March, the 20th, 2017.