Ladislav Fröde

* 1946

  • “I was the last one and those four gentlemen told me: 'Don't worry, it will be fine, you are not involved in this. We just need you to sign this.' And they put this paper in front of me, covered by another document, so the only thing I saw was the box for my signature. Looking at this, I said: 'Don't be mad at me, comrades, but I won't sign as I don't know what it is.' 'Don't worry, you have our word that this doesn't concern you.' They were pushing me like this and said 'no'. 'Will you sign it?' 'Not like this. I have to read it first.' So I would push the top paper off and it went like: a written statement. So I went on reading and I saw my name, Fröde Ladislav. So I thought this wasn't as innocent as they told me. I kept reading and it stated: I do testify that father Tyrner is a spy, has a radio in his church in Chvaleč with antennas in the tower and is also a pedophile. It went just like this. That he has been urging people not to vote while on pulpit and also has been demeaning the state in his sermons. And when I read this, I just started to laugh and told them: 'I am sorry, but is this some kind of a game?'”.

  • “After they put him in prison and then let him out, I didn't see him for years. But maybe twenty years later, we were already Adventists back then, I walked across the square in Trutnov and all of a sudden there was this man rushing towards me. He threw his arms wide open and started hugging me, saying: 'You are Fröde, right?' And I said I was indeed. 'You saved my life'. And I said: 'But when?' He replied: 'Back at the school, as you refused to sign that statement they gave you.' I told him: 'But they sentenced you to six years anyway, for something else.' And he said: 'Sure, but that was nothing, they gave me just six years and I got hepatitis, so they let me out after just three years. But if they had succeeded, they could just hang me or sentence me to life. In the fifties, they were quite harsh as espionage was concerned, so I wouldn't get out this easily.' So he would just hug me, telling me how glad he was to see me. Then he reached retirement age while serving in Svoboda, I saw him on several occasions. He serviced my mother-in-law's burial, we met there, but we didn't talk much.'

  • “Originally, he had Poříčí parish and Chvaleč was just its subsidiary where he would go to celebrate a mass. If there was black ice in winter, there were no trains or buses going. So we would wait, it was supposed to start at half past ten, and he was nowhere to be seen. Then he would show up, we would head his motorbike. He had this old Zet 125 and he came all the way from Poříčí, and the terrain was quite rough, from Petříkovice to Chvalec, quite hilly, and he would come with his feet on the road, it was like he was skiing. He came to Chvaleč, he drove up to the church, and the soles on his boots were worn through, as the road was slippery so he had to use his legs to keep balance. But he came anyway, and I always admired him, this dutifulness of his. He wasn't rich, he had a sister, she was a domestic in Poříčí. She was always knitting those cardigans which she would give us on Christmas. So I kinda like him, I respected him, as he was honest in this matter.”

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    Pardubice, 05.05.2021

    duration: 02:28:37
    media recorded in project Příběhy regionu - HRK REG ED
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Back down now and you’ll keep retreating for the rest of your life

As a twelve-year-old, 1958
As a twelve-year-old, 1958
photo: Archiv Ladislava Frödeho

Ladislav Fröde was born on 8 April 1946 in Velké Poříčí near Hronov. Shortly after that, his family moved to the village of Chvaleč. His parents had been working in a textile factory. The witness had been serving as an altar boy and attended religious education courses led by local priest, Tyrner. In the 8th grade, he refused to testify against Tyrner. He had trouble finding a school he could attend and in the end he trained as a shopfitter. After serving at the border guard, he got married and started working as a driver. In the early 1970s, he was driving for the Czechoslovak National Bank branch in Trutnov. Ten years later, he started working as a bank’s serviceman and security guard. He had to leave the bank in 1984, after both he and his wife joined the Seventh-day Adventist Church. After the revolution, he co-founded Countrylife, a health food chain and became a lay preacher. In 2021, he was living in Dvůr Králové nad Labem.