Miroslav Kočica

* 1955

  • “We would get up at five o’clock and go to the dining hall with our mess-tins for food. Breakfast was the same all the time: coffee and a quarter of bread. Those who fulfilled the work norms for hundred percent received something extra. These extras were marked as number one, two and three. Number one meant that you got one extra egg, for instance. If somebody met the norms for more than hundred percent, he would get for example an egg and a little cube of cheese. Those who worked even more received food coupons number three and they would be getting an egg, cheese and a bit of lard. One had to work, otherwise he would not have enough to eat.”

  • “I watch the documentaries from the war which are broadcast on television every Monday. I liken the Minkovice prison to concentration camps in Poland and Germany, it was the same as Minkovice. The communists adopted it precisely from Germans, it is absolutely the same, as if copied over a stencil. The only difference was that they cremated the Jews in Auschwitz, and this was not happening in Minkovice, but on the other hand they were using us for work. That was because Russia was a huge country and the costume jewellery that was produced here was all exported to Russia and to those developing countries. They needed us, and that’s why there were no old people; all prisoners there were young people, otherwise they would not be able to keep up with the pace of the work.”

  • “It was a slave work, you cannot imagine that if you did not see it. We were cutting glass. It was the costume jewellery from Jablonec, the beads, and it was being sent somewhere to Russia. The prisoners there were less than thirty years old, because older people would not be able to endure the work load, the work norms. We toiled and toiled and toiled there. Nobody can imagine the work norms. This company, Preciosa, had a subsidiary in Šahy in Slovakia, and their civilian workers were coming there for some inspections, and one of them told us that with the norms you have here you would earn four thousand crowns if you worked in our factory. That was a lot of money. Workers working in that company were required to work only half of that norm, whereas here, they wanted to destroy you both physically and mentally.”

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    Hevlín, 09.09.2013

    duration: 01:50:52
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
  • 2

    Hevlín, 24.10.2013

    media recorded in project Iron Curtain Stories
Full recordings are available only for logged users.

The Minkovice prison was just like a concentration camp

Miroslav Kočica
Miroslav Kočica
photo: Archiv pamětníka

Miroslav Kočica was born in 1955 in Znojmo and he has been living in Hevlín in the southern corner of Moravia immediately close to the Austrian border for his entire life. His mother died when he was a little boy and his father remarried. Miroslav has been imbued with the environment of the border zone and the incessant danger since he was a young man. He himself was at risk of losing his life - when he was twelve years old, border guards mistook him for an intruder and they shot him in his leg. When he was twenty, Miroslav decided to emigrate. Together with his friend they planned to seize an agricultural aircraft Čmelák and use it to fly over to Austria. However, the authorities soon learnt about their intentions and Miroslav was sentenced to five years of imprisonment for preparing this criminal act. He served his sentence in Minkovice. Minkovice was an ill-reputed prison where the inmates toiled as slaves producing the renowned Czechoslovak costume jewellery for the state-owned company Preciosa. After his release Miroslav returned to Hevlín and he has been living there ever since. His son works in Austria and his daughter is a nurse.