Miluška Havlůjová

* 1929  

  • “I was permitted a visit. Seeing as there was a small child in the picture, there was a certain level of tolerance. There was a wide table there, no bars or mesh. There were several of us there. I was sitting on the edge, my husband holding Tomáš and my mum were sitting on the other side. I’d forsaken him as a sixteen-month-old baby and Tomáš could already speak at that moment. He was ill at ease, he was holding his dad around the neck and said: ‘Daddy, I want Mum already.’ And my husband said: ‘But that’s Mum, look, Tomáš, that’s Mum.’ And he looked over his shoulder and said. ‘No she’s not, at home, in the picture.’”

  • “I didn’t leave my cell from May to September, they blindfolded me and my slippers were too large for me when they led us by the sleeve across the corridor in Bartolomějská [Street]. I didn’t know anything about the situation at home, I couldn’t write about myself until before being handed over to court custody. Before that they interrogated me long into the night, and after returning to my cell I fainted when I wanted to drink. I was lying there with my head in the toilet, the female commander and a man were standing over me, but I wasn’t able to get up on my feet. The woman allowed me to lie down, she blindfolded me, and two blokes took me to the hospital in Pankrác. I saw that cabbage was being sold, so I reckoned it was probably September.”

  • “Dad put an envelope into my bag, I left Rožmitál to school in the morning. The cars from our sawmill delivered wood to the Schwarzenberg family warehouse in [Prague-]Smíchov. Dad told me: ‘At three o’clock there’ll be a man waiting for you outside the school, he’ll approach you, and you’ll give him the envelope. But you mustn’t give it to anyone else.’ That was my first act of resistance. The driver Hovorka was part of the illegal group and the Gestapo tortured him to death. Assistant driver Arnošt Flemer was executed. I handed [the envelope] over to Mr Lipovec, who was a member of the Prague group. When I told my mum about it, she was really angry about it and Dad had to promise it would never happen again. Afterwards, Dad and I quietly told each other what an act of bravery I’d done.”

  • “I had already retired, but of course we were all glad that it happened. We were visiting some friends when we found out about what was happening in Národní třída, and I can tell you that my heart jumped with joy. I immediately joined a preparations committee of the Civic Forum in Rudná. Some quite young and active people joined at the time and they approached me to join them because my stance and my experience with the regime was well known here. They knew my family was persecuted by the communists and so they asked me if I would join them. We organised a meeting in the local cinema some days after November 17, it was around 5 December and we declared there that we had formed Civic Forum and that we were trying to achieve free elections. We wanted the Velvet Revolution (we did not call it like that yet back then) – the events that were occurring all over the Republic - to happen here in Rudná as well. That is why we founded this Civic Forum and we wanted to ask the citizens whether they agree with it or not. So there was a big round of applause, there were lots of people there, the cinema was full and we saw that they supported us."

  • „We were among the first group of people who were persecuted by confiscation of their private property. Local communists in Voltuše were behind it. All of a sudden some men appeared in our office in March. They stood in front of the safe and proclaimed national administration. They asked my father and grandfather not to enter the sawmill anymore. My grandfather collapsed, had a heart attack and died at the beginning of September. Of course, all our savings and family property were locked in the safe. The only cash left to my parents was the cash they had in their pockets. My father kept possession of a few land estates and two horses only. He then worked as a carter delivering wood to his ‘own’ sawmill.”

  • „I must say it took a very long time before my developed relationship with me. He always preferred my mother. Until she died, I was the other person in his life. But it was not his fault. My friend, who is a psychiatrist, told me that you cannot undo it. It happened before he was two years old during the emotional shaping period. It looked like I had abandoned him He missed me. Even now when something important happens, I feel a wall emerging between us.”

  • “The President of Czechoslovakia, Antonín Zápotocký, granted a pardon to mothers of small children and to ill prisoners with the so called action ‘M’ in 1955. Both applied to me. I had been imprisoned for two years, so one third of my punishment had elapsed already. I returned home on Wednesday, 1 March. Wednesday. It was a big problem to re-establish the relationship with my son Tomáš. I appeared at home out of nowhere, he didn’t know me. He saw me just twice while I was in prison. We would not stop looking at me. When I entered the living room everyone was sitting around the table. My husband´s first question when he saw me was: ‘Have you escaped?’ Then I, grandma, mum and the little one greeted each other. I approached Tomáš but he pulled away from me, he didn’t take to me.”

  • „I was arrested on 23 May 1953. Then one day they took me to interrogation. My civilian clothes were hanging on the hanger, some documents were spread there and an officer said: ‘Go to the window, you can have a look at the street.’ There was a woman with a pram and a baby of the same age as my son. It might have taken about half an hour. Then the officer said: ‘If you sign cooperation with us, we will let you go home. Here are your clothes.‘ This might have been the worst moment of my life. All kinds of different thoughts came across my mind. I believe in God and I started to pray in that moment of hopelessness: ‘My God, please help me, please help me...’ Suddenly I realized that I simply could not sign it. All of sudden I knew that there was someone standing beside me and that I was not alone. I am sure I really met God at this very moment; I clearly felt someone was on my side. I said that I could not sign it.”

  • “There was a secret police car standing in from of the draper´s in the street. Someone got out of it, took me by shoulders – I was carrying little Tomíš in my arms – showed me a badge and told me: ‘come with us!’ Then he gracefully put me into the car. They took us to Bartolomějská Street. While we were heading to the police station, I told them and it was noon and my son needed something to eat. So we made a stop at a grocery and I bought two rolls. They took us to Bartolomějská and to an elevator. I found myself in an office, Tomáš was sitting on my lap and was eating the roll. When he finished, four men came and started asking me about some people. I really did not know the names. They started to shout me and made little Tomáš cry. One of the interrogators screamed: ‘take this brat away!’ They closed him in another room. I didn’t know what was there. The interrogation started, they were talking one after another, and my child was crying beside the doors and calling me. There was nothing I could do. Then silence fell. My son fell asleep for a while, but he woke up again and started to cry anew. It was horrible...! The interrogation lasted four hours. It was already dark when they let us go. They consulted together and the chief said it was not worth it. I had to sign a document saying I would keep silent about what had happened. It is interesting that my son still remembers that day.”

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    Rudná, 15.01.2008

    (audio)
    duration: 03:01:14
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
  • 2

    Rudná u Prahy, 01.08.2009

    (audio)
    duration: 11:43
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
  • 3

    Praha, 25.05.2013

    (audio)
    duration: 02:35:59
    media recorded in project Stories of the 20th Century TV
  • 4

    Praha, 18.06.2018

    (audio)
    duration: 01:00:32
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
Full recordings are available only for logged users.

“If you sign cooperation with us, we will let you go. Here are your clothes.”

A portrait of Havlůjová
A portrait of Havlůjová
photo: web

Miluška Havlůjová was born on 13 May 1929 in Dušníky near Prague. Her parents Jaroslav and Emílie Pompl actively participated in the anti-Nazi resistant movement during World War II in the Rožmitál area. The family sawmill in Voltuše was confiscated and. after the communist putsch in February and her father was imprisoned for one year. Miluška Havlůjová tried to clear his name but in May 1953 she was arrested as well. She was ssentenced to serve 5 years in prison for attempted sedition against the Republic and spying in spite of having an 18-month-old son (at the same time, her father was sentenced for the second time to serve 10 years in prison). After two years, Miuše Havlůjová was released because of the so-called action ‘M’, when the president of Czechoslovakia, Antonín Zápotocký, granted a pardon to mothers of small children. She broke her leg shortly after her release from prison and because she was infected the tuberculosis bacillus in prison, the wound developed bone marrow inflammation. After seven months of long and complicated treatments, she had to pay a penalty of 5 000 Czech crowns. She was still walking with sticks when she started to work in Restaurants and cafeterias company as an accountant. She actively engaged in politics after the Velvet Revolution in 1989 and became a member of the Civic Forum. She became a mayor of Rudná in 1992 and she worked as it until 1998. The disturbed relationship with her son was never completely healed.