Maria Hrochová

* 1939  

  • "When it was happening on Letná, the whole family sat quietly. And when Václav Malý was praying, I was crying - that's how it was."

  • „On August 21, I personally went through a terrible time, I had children at the cottage in Suchý and I was already going to work. My mother looked after them there and we took a bus from Suchý to work in Boskovice and there was such an unnatural silence on that bus, I still recall the silence. We came to Boskovice, went to the apartment to eat something and wash, it wasn´t so easy at the cottage, and I wanted to run to work. We turned the wired radio on, and so we could already hear that the troops had almost reached Olomouc. And what now with the kids in the woods. It's still far from Olomouc, but my husband called a taxi, and we didn't go to work at all. We went by Volga car, I don't know what the taxi driver's name was, and he took us to Suchý. We loaded all the children into that big car and what we had time to pick up, I also had a washing machine [at the cottage] as I couldn´t stay there with kids without it. We picked them up all in the car to take them to Boskovice, after all, the apartment seemed safer to us than the cottage in the woods. I was terribly scared, terribly. It was an experience from the sixty-eighth year, which I won´t forget. "

  • "We were at school, and I remember my mother picking up my sister out of the class and walking down the corridor with her in the Green School and she was just saying, remember your father was arrested by communists. Always remember that your dad is in prison again and that he was arrested by communists. That's how she [my sister] still remembers it. "

  • "The first time he was arrested, it was after Christmas. It was sometime in January, I'm not sure, it might have been on Epiphany, one of the arrests, but I don't know if the first or the second, happened on Epiphany. Mom took us to the bedroom. So I wasn't right there when he was being arrested, my mom was there. Mom was there and after arresting him the police officers came and searched our apartment, and one of the officers told mom not to tidy up. They opened a cabinet, swept some things out, or maybe even on the floor, made a mess of it. And the police officer told my mom, leave it as it is, because they will come to check if we did the search thoroughly, if we found something or not. So it remained there as it was for a few days. "

  • "Some of the visits took place in a room with a fence between the prisoners and us, a wire fence. And I know that during one of those visits, dad gave mom a ring, but where he got hold of the ring in that prison I don't know, he didn't bring it with him from home. When he was arrested, everything stayed at home. He gave mom the ring to remind her that they weren´t divorced. Many of his fellow prisoners were divorcing, and some women were advised and suggested to break free from the spouses who were imprisoned and who had committed various crimes, and so on, so he gave mom the ring to let her know he cared, so that she wouldn't divorce him. But our mother would have never divorced him, even if he hadn´t pushed the ring under the bars. She would have never done that. Their marriage made a strong bond. "

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    V Boskovicích, 21.05.2020

    (audio)
    duration: 02:04:11
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
  • 2

    Brno, 30.06.2020

    (audio)
    duration: 01:35:46
    media recorded in project Příběhy regionu - JMK REG ED
Full recordings are available only for logged users.

Remember till the end of your life that your dad was arrested by communists

Maria Hrochová, 1952
Maria Hrochová, 1952
photo: Witness´s archive

Maria Hrochová was born on April 22, 1939 in Brno as the eldest daughter of Jakub and Štěpánka Drkal. Both parents got jobs in Boskovice, where the whole family lived later. In January 1949, father Jakub Drkal was arrested and as an official of the physical education organization Orel he was eventually sentenced to three years in the group trial of Koukal and fellows. Due to six months of interrogation in prison in Uherské Hradiště, father lost his hearing in one ear. His mother and daughters went to visit him in the Jáchymov region, and to this day they keep very valuable items and letters from those difficult times. As a daughter of a political prisoner and a practicing Catholic, she had very limited access to education. After graduating from secondary school in 1957, she could not be admitted to university due to the negative reference written by the town’s national committee. In 1960, she married Miroslav Hroch and later they had four children. Once again, they had to deal with the problems of admitting children to study. She experienced strong emotions during the occupation in 1968 since the first day, when she and her husband had to return to the cottage for the children, where they had been spending holiday together. Since 1969, she worked as a teacher at the Agricultural School in Boskovice, because there was no strong pressure on political reliability and the teaching staff clung together. The whole family welcomed the events of 1989. Father Jakub Drkal lived up to freedom despite his poor health, but he did not live to see his second rehabilitation. Maria Hrochová occasionally taught at various schools until 2011 and currently lives in a family house in Boskovice.