Věra Fořtová

* 1942

  • “It was crazy. There was a long wooden building right in Ostrov near Karlovy Vary. You entered the building and there was a counter as if in the post office. It was completely opaque, there was just one meter by one meter window that was barred, and you could just stick your finger through it. I went there when I was nine years old, my brother was three. I could only see into the... Dad was standing behind the window, two wardens were behind him. We could only stick our fingers through the bars. My brother could not even see him, we had to lift him so that he could see dad. My mum then told us that [dad] weighed forty kilos after the escapes and solitary confinements. It was crazy. I wanted to cry but I was trying to smile.”

  • “Do you remember the arrest of your father?” - “No, not at all. The parents even did not tell us at the beginning because they did not know what would happen. My mum told us that our father was on a business trip or something like that. But I gradually got to know about it. At first that he was sentenced to serve three years. Then, when we were going by train to visit my dad somewhere in a prison in North Moravia. My mum would always take one older child and one younger child, one of the twins. I was covered with a coat and heard my mum talking to a fellow traveller. She told her that dad had been sentenced to serve eighteen years. And he had in fact really been sentenced to serve eighteen years. Our relative, a lawyer Dr. Lindner... My mum asked all our relatives and friend to help with the trial. Lindner said that we should be glad they sentenced him to that because he was facing the death penalty. Back then, they sentenced to the death penalty even for less serious offences.”

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    Praha, 06.08.2021

    duration: 01:35:41
    media recorded in project Stories of the 20th Century TV
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My father used to say: “the Democrats are aiming for their goal slowly, the communists will get there by express train.” Then they imprisoned him

Věra with a kitten
Věra with a kitten
photo: witness´s archive

Věra Fořtová, née Hrabalová was born on 19 June 1942 in Prague. Her father Otto Hrabal worked as a bodywork engineer in the Praga car factory, her mother Věra studied actuarial mathematics and when their children were born, she became a stay-at-home spouse. Otto Hrabal participated in hiding his Jewish friend Milan Reiman during the war. He then got him a job at the Ministry of Industry. Otto Hrabal was arrested and sentenced to serve eighteen years for alleged espionage in 1951. He was granted amnesty in 1960. The family with four children stayed without money, their mother worked in an ironing shop in Pragoděv. Thanks to the intervention of her aunts - teachers, she (Věra) could still graduate from an eleven-year secondary school and then from a two-year extension course, majoring in rehabilitation nursing. She spent her whole life working as a rehabilitation nurse, first in Mariánské Lázně, and later in Prague. She got married in 1965 and had two children. After 1989, she managed to have her father rehabilitated posthumously by the court.