Miroslav Hampl

* 1932  

  • “The trial was public, so public, in fact, that no family members were allowed in. The Party had its people there--some locals-- don’t really know who else. But, none of the family members – either mine or Jirka Pražák’s. What I said can be found in the court file. I said everything according to the truth. They asked me whether I regretted it. I replied: 'I don’t because I helped a man who was imprisoned unjustly'.“

  • "I found it very hard to be locked up in jail, but what really hurt and worried me were those fifty or sixty years old inmates who were really dead-beat. So was I, but a dead-beat fifty- or sixty-years-old looks really different from a twenty-year one. I felt like crying, just seeing them. Back at the secret police, there weren’t many of those people, but when I then served time in a jail at a mine in Slavkov, I would often go sleep in the evening, almost weeping over those people. I felt sorry for them.“

  • "Two or three times a year, they would move people from the camps. They would send in two buses and drive us to Jáchymov, and then again take people from Jáchymov back to Slavkov. This way they would swap people so that the inmates wouldn’t become too used to each other and organize some rebellion. I was lucky that during one of those exchanges a bus arrived from Jáchymov’s Svornost mine. Those were guys who worked at large mines, who would always do their shift and then have 24 hours off. They realized that I was there, we met, and I got transferred from my shaft work. They admitted me in their task force, and my life got better – mentally, food-wise and in general.“

  • "I got to know two men form Prague: one medic and one doctor. I was also at their family's homes‘. About twice or three times, I brought them some letters or warm clothes. So, I used to visit those families and brought news and packages back to the prisoners. As a civil worker, I had access to them and I would talk to them. I listened to their life stories and their troubles. It was uncomfortable. I was thinking about it so much that I felt sorry for them.“

  • "The bullying was inconceivable: it was 'do this' and 'do that' and 'do it there' all the time. After work, I had to shovel snow in winter, move dirt in the summer, make a big pile of it, and in fourteen days, when I finished moving it, they told me to move it fifty meters back again.“

  • "I got to know Bohouš Pánek and Jirka Pražák, and we organized an escape plan for Pánek, in which it was successful. We had special cards. We borrowed one from Jirka Pražák, and we with one other civil worker from the quarry lead Pánek out through the lodge. We came to a bus, and the two of them took it to Ostrov. There, Pánek changed his clothes and took the very next bus. At least thay say that--I wasn’t with them at the time. I was on a different bus because I didn’t want to cross the border; I had another escape plan prepared, so I took a bus to Boží Dar to a dormitory.“

  • "They investigated. I denied it; I said I didn’t know anything. I denied everything, and it took until Christmas. By Christmas, they locked me up in solitary confinement because I kept denying everything. They told me that I would be there until moss grows on me. In there, the space was big enough for my gum-shoes. Five meters by four meters. Such a cellar: five times four gum shoes large. There, by the door, there was a small bucket for the toilet. Without a window, nothing, and there I spent Christmas and New Year of 1952."

  • "Because I was not talking, and was completely exhausted, they brought me back to a normal cell where there were about ten or eleven of us. It was a room about 20 square meters. There was a sort of wooden bunk-bed, above it some straw mattress, and there we laid next to each other, as in a harem. And in the corner, there was naturally a bucket for our needs and a can with water. Nothing else. There was just about enough food. One didn’t need to go to the toilet before the sight of others. So, in the beginning I didn’t even eat much food so as not to need to go on toilet, because I was shy and it felt somewhat uneasy. So, I wouldn't eat even that little food. Thus, I lost my strength and lost weight.“

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    Šumperk, 30.11.2009

    duration: 02:26:19
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
  • 2

    Šumperk, 14.07.2015

    duration: 02:12:09
Full recordings are available only for logged users.

I thought I did a good deed

Miroslav Hampl 1950
Miroslav Hampl 1950
photo: archiv pamětníka

Miroslav Hampl was born on September 16th, 1932 in Křelov near Olomouc. He always wanted to travel, so in 1947, he went to study shoe-making at Baťa’s school, as it gave a prospect of working abroad there. The communist coup in 1948 thwarted all his plans for traveling, however After finishing his studies, he was chosen for an one-year brigade in heavy industry. From the offers he received on locations to work, Miroslav decided to work in a mine in Jáchymov, where he worked as a collector. While there, he met political prisoners and attempted to help them by all means possible. He managaged to help the prisoner, Bohuslav Pánek, to escape. Finally, on November 27th, 1952, Miroslav Hampl was arrested. On September 22nd, 1953, he was sentenced to three years of prison for an association against the Republic. The original charge was for treason and espionage, but the sentence reflected his workers‘ origin. He was sent to Ležnice camp in Horní Slavkov. His friends in prison, whom he helped as a civil servant, helped him survive the unbearable working conditions. Thanks to their solidarity he began to fulfill the standards and his food rations increased. On September 28th, 1954, Miroslav Hampl was put on probation as a result of amnesty. But as a political prisoner, he had serious trouble finding a job. In the end, he went to work for a district construction company where he stayed until his retirement. In 1987, his daughter Vladimíra, her child, and her boyfriend emigrated to West Germany. Currently, Miroslav Hampl lives in Šumperk.