Miloš Kocman

* 1922  †︎ 2015

  • “We had an efficient method how to make people speak. For example, in cases when an agent of a western intelligence service with the aim of taking people across the border had been revealed and was under oversight, we provided him with a fake guide who took him to a place that was ostensibly U.S. territory, but in fact it was still on Czechoslovak territory. We called this kind of operation “kámen” (stone), because we’d move the frontier stone a few hundred meters to the interior of the country and build a cottage there. One of our men – he was a Jew who spoke perfect English because there weren’t too many back then who spoke English – played the role of a U.S. officer who interrogated the victim and of course, the man told us everything he knew. He told us about his helpers and their tasks. These people were then arrested. They didn’t get really long sentences because they were released in 1962. Nevertheless, it disturbed the peace and order in our Republic. It really disrupted the operation of the country since we were forced to arrest ordinary people, even though only for a short time. Because they volunteered and signed on to the cooperation. So I’m really convinced that the main aim of these agents was not to provide intelligence, but to disrupt the order of the Republic.”

  • „In 1957 I worked as a president of a court in Slaný. The Central Committee of the Communist Party sent me a letter summoning me for an interview at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. They were establishing a postgraduate program at the school of diplomacy for people who had proved useful in other areas. The Party realized that the working-class staffs are a disgrace to the foreign diplomats. They knew no foreign languages, they did not know how to dress, nothing. The Central Committee had chosen several expert and I was also selected after the interview. The school lasted one year and it was great. There were professors of another sort there.”

  • “So I was really happy when Stalin and Gottwald died. Because that’s what I blame the modern Communists for today is that they still keep alive their allegiance to Gottwald. I had access to significant information at the time and the way I see it is that Gottwald was a bastard who sold out to the Russians and danced to their music. It was also in his own interest as he could have been removed at any time. He was afraid. There were these trials going on abroad, you had Živkov… So he was drinking heavily and his alcoholism resulted in his death. So you see, it wasn’t really good times.”

  • “Their methods were the following. It was in particular carried out by some Smola, their minion. He’d tie the person’s hands to its feet. Then they’d beat us. I had my buttocks beaten all black. But I was lucky. When they asked me for the name of the person who introduced me to the illegal activities? I held out a long series of blows and then I said “Miloš Lederer”. Because I knew that he was probably already dead. They went to take a look into their list and found out that he had really been involved in illegal activities and that he was dead. In this way, we gained more time.”

  • „I would for example wet a bit of cloth from the bottom of my shirt and write on it a message that I was alive. This way I would write notes from both prisons but mainly from Pankrác. From there I used to write even long messages which are at present stored in museums. These were one-way messages because they were afraid to write me from home. This would endager the Jewish family, I did not even expect any messages. I received some clothes and food and thus knew that it was not all too bad.“

  • “The methods of the Gestapo differed from the methods of the State Security (StB) that was directed by advisers sent by Beria and Stalin, in so much as that even though the Gestapo of course was involved in these games as well, they primarily wanted to know the truth. The StB, on the other hand, that was directed by these scoundrels of Beria, wanted people to confess to what they didn’t do.”

  • “They interrogated him and he said everything. He turned in his collaborators and what were their tasks. All of them were arrested; they did not recieve long sentences and were released in 1962. Anyway, it disrupted public calm in this country because ordinary people had been arrested – even if only for a short time – just because others signed up for cooperation. That was not intelligence, their task was merely to disrupt calm in our country.“

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    Ústřední vojenská nemocnice, 11.10.2013

    duration: 04:53:54
    media recorded in project Stories of the 20th Century TV
Full recordings are available only for logged users.

The Gestapo wanted to know the truth. The StB forced people to confess to something they didn’t do

obrázek.JPG (historic)
Miloš Kocman
photo: pamětník, foto z videa ED

JUDr. Miloš Kocman was born on March 17, 1922, in Prague in a mixed Czech-Jewish family. During his studies at the prestigious grammar school Jiráskovo gymnázium, he became influenced by his philosophy professor Josef Fischer, the chairman of the Association of the Friends of Democratic Spain. He graduated in 1941. With like-minded leftist friends, he founded a Communist group involved in the distribution of the Rudé právo newspaper. He was assigned to forced labor in the Avia factory in Prague. In June 1943, he was arrested and interrogated by the Gestapo in Prague. He was later imprisoned in the Theresienstadt Small Fortress. In January 1945, he was supposed to be tried in Dresden, but the trial was adjourned and Miloš Kocman was able to escape from prison in the course of the bombing of Dresden in February 1945. He returned to Prague in May 1945. After the war, he graduated from the Faculty of Law and in 1948, he joined the Ministry of the Interior. Based on his vast experience with the interrogation methods and practices of the Gestapo, he was employed as an analyst by the StB. He studied the files of the people who were being interrogated and advised the investigators on what kind of questions they should ask them. He was - among other cases - involved in the interrogations of the detainees in the so-called “Kámen” (Stone) case. After the political trials of the 1950s, he tried to leave the ranks of the StB. For two years, he taught classes at the Central School of the Ministry of the Interior, in 1957 he began to study at the Diplomatic Academy. In the years 1962-1968, he served as deputy chief of mission at the Embassy in Beijing. After his return to Czechoslovakia in the autumn of 1968, he worked as a corporate lawyer in Rakovník and in Kolín. JUDr. Miloš Kocman is currently in the care of a war-veteran home in Prague-Střešovice.