Zdeněk Klíbr

* 1929

  • “The camp was separated from the mining shaft by a wired lane which we passed through whenever we went down to the mine. There were three shifts a day, a total of 1,200 prisoners. The worst thing was that when we came up first in winter, we had to stand there, waiting before the 1,200 prisoners went up. So you stood for an hour outside, while down below, depending on the floor you worked at, was the temperature of about 35°, it was wet, water was dripping from ceilings, we were hot and wet and stood in minus 20° frost, waiting for others to go up.”

  • “We reached the conclusion that we needed to take hold of an explosive and do something of that kind. We wanted a political target. The secretariat was guarded, naturally, and it would have ended badly, so we focused on the editorial office and administration of Rudé právo in Mladá Boleslav. I obtained the explosive during my work with Rádský and Jenš, from engineer Jenš. I asked for such a volume not to do serious harm — broken windows were OK, destroyed house no. Naturally we monitored the house for several days, we watched people who went there, where they lived, we knew everything. It was in May after nine in the evening. There was an entrance, a large glass door. I fastened the explosive on the door handle, Sova watched, we had such an agreement, he was further back, on the TGM Avenue. It was just after nine. The fuse was about ten to fifteen metres long and it took us three, four, five minutes before it got to the explosive. We went away, as we were afraid someone might come near it. We were not afraid of being caught, only the three of us knew about the plan.”

  • “There were about seven wooden sheds, each had ten rooms for twenty prisoners, so in total there were about 1,400 prisoners in the Rovnost camp. Then there was a kitchen, a sickroom, various warehouses, penal cell, it was a kind of small village. There was a double fence and it was in between these fences that Paleček, the camp commander, left prisoners, mostly in winter, as a punishment. We put it down to his moods, and the sins he committed there, they were really terrible, unbelievable, inhuman. As a punishment he sometimes ordered us to stand outside, for instance sometimes in the winter he had this mood and had us standing on the roll-call place the whole morning. In winter, frost and rain. These were inventions of his.”

  • “He told me: ‘Look, you will remember even what you had for lunch the second day after you were born.’ I thought about it and I said: ‘Sir, you know that I indeed do remember what I had for lunch then?´ ‘Say it then!’ ‘The second day after my birth I had my mother’s milk for lunch, because my mom was breastfeeding me.’ He exclaimed: ‘You, you, will remember other things, too! Warden! Take him away and bring him for another interrogation in an hour.’”

  • “It was a bare room, there was only a sheet-metal plate on the wall which served as bed and which they always locked during the day. At nights I got a blanket to put over this plate and another to cover myself with. Light was on right above me throughout the whole night, and I had to lie down with my hands placed on top of the blanket. It was hard to sleep this way, but I could manage since I was tired after the interrogations. If somebody put his hands under the blanket or turned around, they would immediately bang on the door – hands on the blanket and look at the lamp on the ceiling! There was also a so-called seat made of tin. If I was eligible, they would unlock it and I was able to sit down on it. Otherwise it was kept locked and I had to keep walking in the cell back and forth until I dropped.”

  • “I worked at the construction site in Komárov near Hořovice, and that was where they arrested me. Four guys in leather coats arrived there and they claimed that they needed to confirm something. We got into a Tatra car. It was obvious to me that nothing good was happening. I got into the car, they put handcuffs on my wrists and dark glasses over my eyes so that I would not see where they were taking me. Only when we arrived I learnt that we were in Prague in Bartolomějská Street in the StB interrogation room. The conditions there were terrible – hunger and cold. In 1953 they were no longer using physical violence, because people were learning about it and reporting it to the West. They tried to exert mental pressure and it was even worse than physical violence. Thirty-hour long interrogations in one stretch, it was unbelievable. Then they would send us to our cells and another interrogation would immediately follow. The officials were taking turns with us.”

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    Praha, 14.09.2017

    duration: 01:49:54
  • 2

    Mladá Boleslav, 09.11.2017

    duration: 01:47:16
    media recorded in project The Stories of Our Neigbours
Full recordings are available only for logged users.

The most precious thing is freedom, the freedom of speech and movement

Klíbr Zdeněk
Klíbr Zdeněk
photo: archiv pamětníka

  Zdeněk Klíbr was born on January 14, 1929 in Mladá Boleslav. His father worked in the automobile company Škoda, which was called ASAP at that time, and his mother was a housewife. Zdeněk was helping at their family farm already as a young boy. He attended an elementary school, which had to change places several times because the school buildings were being used as military hospitals. He began studying the Secondary Technical School of Civil Engineering, but the school was closed down in December 1944 and the students had to go to do forced labour instead. Zdeněk Klíbr was sent to a farm in Vinec, but his father managed to secure a place in a factory for him shortly after. The working shifts often ended earlier due to air raid alarms. In 1947 Zdeněk completed his studies and he began working as a civil engineering technician in the company Hráský and Jenč. The company became nationalized after 1948 and Zdeněk and his friends were nervously observing the change of situation in the country, such as people being fired from jobs and schools, and the communists inquiring about their affinity to the West. A year after the communist coup d’état, they began printing anti-communist pamphlets, and when their friend Mirek Nevrkl became imprisoned, they decided that their resistance needed to be demonstrated more intensely. In 1950 they thus detonated an explosive device in the editorial room of the Rudé Právo (‘The Red Law’) communist newspaper in Mladá Boleslav. The police failed to find them at first, and Zdeněk became arrested only three years later, when he had meanwhile done his basic military service in Litoměřice. While in pre-trial detention in the State Security Police headquarters in Bartolomějská Street in Prague, they eventually pleaded guilty after endless interrogations. Zdeněk was sentenced to twelve years of imprisonment. He served his sentence in the Prague-Pankrác prison and in the labour camp in Jáchymov before he was released in 1958. He worked in the uranium mine Rovnost. After his release, he married and at first he worked as a mason, and later as a technician and a building site manager.