Pater Benedikt Vladimír Holota

* 1922  

  • "Hned ze začátku, když jsem pracoval ten rok ve výzkumu, žádné narážky na tu svojí víru jsem neměl, protože přeci jen tam byli lidé s vysokou inteligencí. Tak i ty lidské vztahy byly na určité úrovni. Ale když jsem přišel do toho "TRSU", tak tam samozřejmě už to bylo blíž k té výrobě, tak už to bylo trošku tvrdší. Zjednal jsem si, nevím, jestli to mám takhle říct, ale je to tak...První co bylo, se začalo mluvit, když měli mezi sebou nedostudovaného bohoslovce, o ženách. A takovým způsobem, aby co nejuváženěji do mě píchali o tom celibátu. Tak jsem si tam klidně maloval a mlčel jsem. A ono to ty konstruktéry dráždilo, že je neukázňuji, že ten celibát nehájím, mlčel jsem. Pak zaútočili přímo otevřeně. Jednoho den ten jeden zaútočil přímo a říká: 'Co ty Vladimíre? Co ty na to?' Chviličku jsem mlčel, klidně rýsoval dál, a pak jsem hlasitě, tak aby to každý slyšel, řekl: Kdo co je, tak se projevuje! A sedm let jsem měl od takových řečí pokoj."

  • "Tak jsem jednou, viděl jsem prostě, že tam chodí. Napsal jsem jednou takový lísteček: Dovoluji vám, abyste si v mé nepřítomnosti tuto faru prohlédli. A když jsem odcházel, tak jsem to tam nechal, zamknul a nahoru si dal mikropočítač a bylo tam o čtyři body více - otevřeno zavřeno, otevřeno zavřeno."

  • "Pro mě osobně ta totalita mi zachránila víru. Protože ty tři roky, co jsem byl v řádu, tak ta moje představa o životě řeholníka, tak rychle měkla, a tak rychle se začala drobit, že jsem si začal říkat, že jestli to k tomu kněžství půjde takhle snadno, tak nevím, jestli to s tou svou vírou vydržím. Člověk potřeboval ty tlaky zvenku. Protože jenom tam, kde jsou vysoké tlaky, vysoké teploty, tam vznikají nové formy. Tak já osobně jsem tohleto potřeboval. Jestli to potřebovali ti druzí? Samozřejmě, že víra vždycky rostla, a vztah k Pánu Bohu se stával vždy kvalitnější, když bylo pronásledování."

  • “It was past eleven when the doors of my cell opened, Father [Stanislav Juřík] came in, the Custos, and he was followed by a man in civvies, and through the open door I saw another man in civvies holding a pistol. Father said: ‘Get up and dress yourself.’... They left, and a uniformed policeman came along with a sub-machine gun. He stood there while I got dressed. We slept in our night habits. So I quickly slipped my bare feet into my sandals, and the policeman, when he saw that, said: ‘You dress up properly, mister, you don’t know where you’re going.’ So I put on my shoes and a sweater, and I wanted to take some books, but he said: ‘Just two!’ The Breviary comprised two volumes this thick, so I wanted to take the Breviary and the Scriptures, but he said: ‘No, just two,’ so I took one volume of the Breviary, the one we were praying at the time, and the Holy Scriptures. Then they led us down into the refectory. There were more men in civvies, who frisked us thoroughly. They gathered us up and took us out on to the courtyard in front of the church. The sky was sparkling with stars, it was amazing! One of the State Security officers yelled: ‘Keep your gobs shut, or I’ll mash them for you,’ and another cut him short: ‘Stop it, be quiet.’ They took us by bus to Hejnice... We were young, we were rascals, and we sat at the back, so we even sang [a folk song] on the way: ‘Everyone worries about my poverty, but I don’t worry, thanks be to God...’ They rolled their eyes, they knew they’d show us a thing or two. And they did.”

  • “Of course, we were guarded by a National Security Corps section armed with sub-machine guns with live rounds. They told us: ‘You are completely free, you just have a designated place of abode.’ And one of the priests said: ‘That’s all very well, but I can’t enjoy my full religious life here because I don’t have the complete Breviary.’ And the State Security culture officer said: ‘Don’t worry, as soon as the canteen is set up, you’ll have everything there, even Breviaries!’ ”

  • “Dad, a Russian legionary [i.e. serving in Russia during WW1 - trans.], found his way into one resistance group fighting the German occupation, and I served as a messenger in that group. I spoke in person with the commander Major Metlický. But the group was discovered. The major was arrested, and now: What will they get out of him? But he was a soldier, that’s how I imagine a soldier. You can imagine, they didn’t play nice with him. He didn’t let out a single name. In the meantime Dad began supporting the widows of executed soldiers. A year went by, another year, a third year, so you can imagine what those years were like... And in the end they sent Dad to a concentration camp. To Terezín. He was in this one section which had its windows facing the scaffold.”

  • “One time I woke up in the morning, thinking I’d go to the factory, and suddenly my heart was filled with this wonderful peacefulness, with complete clarity: ‘Don’t go to the factory today, you can take the second shift. Don’t go to morning shift.’ And at ten o’clock they levelled it to the ground. All that was left of the gun shop was a ten-metre-high pile of bricks.”

  • “We were placed right next to some Jesuits. They put us in their grammar school, and they left them in their monastery. We were strictly segregated and we weren’t allowed to get in touch with each other. You can imagine, our priests needed wine for Mass, hosts, so we started smuggling them. One time their superior, he was actually a state deputy, he was small and sharp, and we called him Gherkin. Our one was tall and a bit milder, and we called him Pole. So one time Pole came up all flustered, that the Franciscans had spoken with the Jesuits, that the Jesuit state deputy had been to see him and that consequences must be drawn from this, he was furious. Father Inocenc said: ‘Mr Deputy, that’s not true at all that we spoke with them. They spoke with us.’ ‘So that’s how it is!’ He set off and went to shout at Gherkin for a change.”

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    V Praze, 17.02.2015

    (audio)
    duration: 04:35:47
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
  • 2

    Praha, 30.01.2020

    (audio)
    duration: 01:50:39
    media recorded in project Stories of the 20th Century TV
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I don’t know if I would’ve kept my faith at all without the totality. Faith needs pressure and high temperatures

selfportrait from 1945
selfportrait from 1945
photo: archiv pamětníka

Vladimír Benedikt Holota was born on 5 August 1922 in the village of Nebřeziny near Pilsen. During World War II he participated in the resistance. Fear of being arrested by the Gestapo and also his father’s internment in Terezín brought him to think about Jesus Christ, whom his grandmother had told him about. So he had himself baptised. He wanted to study art, but instead he acquiesced to his father’s wishes and studied mechanics at a secondary technical school. He found employment at the Škoda Works in Pilsen. A strong inner feeling made him stay at home on the day when the factory was bombed. That convinced him to devote his life to God. He joined the novitiate of the Order of Saint Francis, and in 1948 he also began studies of theology. On 13 April 1950, during Operation K, he was arrested and interned in the monastery in Bohosudov, from which he was transferred to Králíky, Osek, and finally in 1951 to the labour camp at Klíčava River, where he was put to work on building a reservoir. In December 1951 he was secretly ordained to priesthood. After 1951 he returned to his job of building engineer. But because of his past he was constantly bullied and framed both at work and during State Security interrogations. During the relaxed period of the Prague Spring he managed to resume his official studies of theology, and he functioned as a priest in Pečky. But even there he was bugged and followed by various unlicensed cars. After 1991 he went to live in the monastery at Our Lady of the Snows in Prague.