Karel Kahoun

* 1935  †︎ 2012

  • “After the trial finished I had my last word. I was sentenced for alleged subversion of the Republic and so I told them: ‘Do you know what bothers me most? Scouts vow to love their country, the Republic of Czechoslovakia, and protect it faithfully at all times. I am a scout and yet you accuse me of subverting the Republic as if I were some kind of monarchist or anarchist.’”

  • “I remember another particularly horrible thing. Some older, visibly tormented woman would inspect us for crab lice. As I was told she used to be a nun and in the prison they forced her to inspect naked men between their legs. I will never forget the tormented look on her face.”

  • “I experienced a lot there. Almost five months of interrogation were very challenging for my mental health - I was emotionally completely exhausted. There were a few brighter moments during all the screaming and stuff. One of the interrogators once screamed at me: ‘If you knew what Marxism is, you wouldn’t be doing such stupid things!’ And I replied to him: ‘Sir Commandant, I have passed a state exam in Marxism, I could teach it. If you knew as much about theology as I do about Marxism, you would never become a communist.’ His face turned red and he just started furiously banging the table with his hands.”

  • Full recordings
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    Mníšek pod Brdy, 27.11.2002

    duration: 02:03:41
    media recorded in project A Century of Boy Scouts
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The termination of an organization doesn’t mean the termination of a friendship

Karel Kahoun
Karel Kahoun
photo: http://www.nase-rodina.cz/article.php?clanek=478

Karel Kahoun was born in 1935. He grew up in Horažďovice where he also joined a scout troop after the war. After 1948, he was prevented from studying at a grammar school since his family was very religious and he graduated from the Higher School of Economics in Pilsen instead. Then he attended the Pedagogical Faculty in Pilsen, studying natural sciences. At the time he also led an illegal scout troop. After a short time he was teaching in Březnov near Chomutov, he was conscripted to military service. After a short while, he was arrested and interrogated for four months in Pilsen. He was convicted of scouting and sentenced to forced labor in the uranium mines in Jáchymov. After his release, he worked as a roadman and later as a vet in the Prague Zoo. He later graduated from the High School of Arts and then studied speech therapy and special education at the Pedagogical Faculty in Prague. He also picked up again the study of natural sciences but never finished it. He was married and had nine children (three of his own and six in foster care). For twelve years he was a member of the city council in Mníšek pod Brdy.