Mons. Dr. Karel Janoušek

* 1947  

  • “Above all, such a major intervention in that emigration life was the canonization of St. Anežka. It was the great pilgrimage in Rome. We were also there from Munich, we were doing a train journey there. That was such a tension when you saw people from the Czech Republic, there were ten thousand of them and they were in folk costumes. The enthusiasm was almost tangible, as we had expected, when it… In Hungary, it has gone wrong, and in Poland too, we are actually the only ones expecting the regime to collapse. There were also employees of Free Europe there. They kept phoning home asking how the things there were, what was there. Because there was no news in Italy, they were not interested into it that much. Here, the Free Europe collaborators kept calling home and wanting to know what it looked like. "It´s supposed the government has resigned." Then they came, "No, it's not true." The tension was really huge. So, we lived through it really intensively.”

  • “Now there was a Hungarian who came to me, and now he started, how could I give all the toys to Czech children and how come we did not give any toys to Hungarian children and so on. I was pretty surprised. How is he supposed to explain to the children that some have toys and others don't. I said, 'Listen, but I won't explain it to the children. You have to explain it to them. If you think that we will have everything here just as it was in the previous regime, so please pack up and return home. You will not be satisfied and happy here.' Fortunately, I had to explain it to him in German, we both spoke German badly, but he understood me. Well, he was still angry. Here you saw that the mentality of our regime, that everything was equal, everyone was equal, and so on, that people were taking it even into emigration. And it was a pity, because it was one of those moments when people were poisoning their lives. They had to learn in the emigration that not everyone would have the same pay, that some would have a higher salary and some would have a lower salary.”

  • "Sometimes there was such an unhealthy atmosphere in the dormitory because they were suspicious of each other, 'He's a spy.' Or: 'He's collaborating,' and so on. It certainly created such a bad atmosphere. But it was immediately recognized who could possibly be seeded. But if someone who came there and wanted to study, enjoyed theology, went with a clear goal to become a priest, it could not absolutely upset him. It did not upset me personally. When I learned that there were my confreres, whom I honoured as colleagues, who had those contacts and even cooperated with the StB, it surprised me, but it did not make any difference. Because that was simply the time. After all, it happened in those emigrant associations. Look, in Free Europe, they were controlled, and they still had people there. In every organization, the Communist regime tried to put someone there to annoy the environment. Why? It was enough when they said, 'Isn't he seeded? It can be a spy too, and so on. It was impossible to work in such a situation.”

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    Brno, 04.09.2019

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Emigration was hard, not everyone could do it

Karel Janoušek in the 1980s
Karel Janoušek in the 1980s
photo: archiv pamětníka

Karel Janoušek was born on October 27, 1947 in the traditionally Christian village Moutnice near Brno. He was trained as an electrician of distribution equipment and started to work in Industrial Constructions Brno. During the basic military service in Tábor he experienced an invasion of Warsaw Pact troops. Regarding his work, he moved to the electrical supply department and remotely studied high school and later a university. Otmar Kaplan, the new priest in Moutnice, addressed him with a lively pastoral care, and Charles himself sensed that he wants to be a priest. But he had only one option: to emigrate and study theology abroad. With great difficulties, he managed to get permission and travel abroad, so he got through Vienna to Rome. There he lived in Nepomucen, a college for theologians from Czechoslovakia, and studied theology at the Pontifical Lateran University. In 1986 he received priesthood ordination from the hands of Bishop Jaroslav Škarvada. He went to Munich, where he worked in the parish of Maria Ramersdorf, and since 1987 he led the Czech Spiritual Service, which was a Catholic missionary work among emigrants from Czechoslovakia. At that time, he also worked with Radio Free Europe, where he preached Sunday sermon. In November 1989, he felt the foreshadow of an impending change as he rode a pilgrimage to Rome for the canonization of Anežka Česká. After the fall of the totalitarian regime in Czechoslovakia, he went to Nepomucen, where he served as a vice-rector and later as a rector, until 1998. From Rome he returned to the Czech Republic, where he worked in the parish Mikulov since 2001, and in 2011 he became pastor in Valtice.