"August arrived. I was shocked. It's still in me to this day. It was an unimaginable shock to me that Moscow, or the Moscow hegemony, did us wrong, when we were going along so nicely, and prevented us from developing as a state. I spoke out against it. I was a party member at that time. My friends said, 'Don't be silly, you'll get punished.' But I couldn't get over my critical assessment of all the injustices and inequities in life. There were too many of them. But even the injustices that didn't affect me directly, I had to point out. It's a consequence of my childhood and youth. I spoke out my opinions in public, in meetings, I rebelled against it. Everybody was looking at me thinking I was going crazy."
"In the spring of 1944, my mother sent me, a six-year-old boy, to pick some mushrooms so she could make me roasted or fried mushrooms for breakfast. I was used to go alone. In the woods I ran into two strangers. Of course, I was frightened and ran home. I told my mother that there were two men hiding there. I didn't notice if they followed me or not. My mother roasted the mushrooms and sat with me outside in the grassy yard between the barn, shed and other wooden houses. And then we saw these two men coming out of the woods. They asked my mother for some food. They were in civilian clothes, they didn't have any uniform. Of course they ate my roasted mushrooms. I was angry with them for that. Then they asked my mother for more food. She gave them some and they left. It was clear to my mother who they were. That was my first encounter with the partisans."
"I was in first grade, it was September, and the cesspool needed to be cleaned. I didn't know what a cesspool was. I didn't even know what a senkgrube was, that's a cesspool in German or in the local dialect. Because we didn't have a cesspool at home, we only had a latrine in Filůvka. I was a seven-year-old kid. The faecal container was taken out by horse cart, leita it's called, it was pumped in by hand. The teacher forbade us to go into that yard. We saw the horse or the horses and the cart going there. He forbade us to go there, but I didn't understand a word he said. I didn't understand a word of Czech. But I was curious, I wondered where the horses were going, what a cesspool was, so I went there to see. I understood what it was about. But somebody told on me. And the teacher, he was a Czech from Prague, called me to come to the first desk, he bent me over the desk and two pupils - Goril and Byrtus - I remember their names to this day, held me by the wrists whilst he was beating me. He had a pointer, it was a long stick, and he used it to beat my butt until it was black. He broke the pointer on me. He was yelling at me: 'You don't understand Czech? You don't understand Czech?' I complained at home, my parents comforted me, but they didn't go to complain about him because they were afraid of him. In those days, a teacher was a top representative of the Czechoslovak state power."
He hated injustice from early age, so he had to rebel against the Soviet occupation
Ladislav Gavlas was born on 23 June 1938 in the mountain village of Filůvka in Mosty u Jablunkova in the Těšín region. He was born as the fifth son of Pavel and Johana Gavlas, who came from Polish families. They had a small farm, his father also worked as a railway worker. After the area was annexed to the German Reich in September 1939, they faced pressure to Germanise. They took Silesian nationality and were registered in the German list called Deutsche Volksliste. His father then had to work as a shunter in occupied Poland. His brother František enlisted in the Wehrmacht. Ladislav remembers the end of the war. He met partisans who sometimes sought refuge at their place. His mother and eldest brother died after the war of tuberculosis, which the whole family suffered from. After he finished the Higher School of Economics in Český Těšín, he joined Třinecké železárny as an accountant. Later he graduated from the metallurgical faculty of the Báňská University in Ostrava. Until his retirement he worked in various positions in Třinecké železárny. In 1966 he joined the Communist Party. However, he was expelled from the party for his public opposition to the occupation by Warsaw Pact troops in 1968 and was reassigned to a menial job. In November 1989 he became a member of the Civic Forum in Dobrá near Frýdek-Místek, where he and his family had lived since the 1970s. After the Velvet revolution, he worked at Třinecké železárny as an economist and trade unionist. In 2021 he lived in Dobrá.