“I wanted to get abroad because I was supposed to shoot two movies in the United States as a pilot. But my passport wasn’t valid anymore and I couldn’t get to the airport because they were all guarded. I didn’t have any other chance than to cross the border on foot. I set out on a march through the Sudetenland direction Mariánské Lázně and then West Germany. But about a kilometer before the border, it was in Drmoul, Tři sekery, Hamrníky, I was shot in the belly and I stayed lying there. Some students, when they saw that I was still breathing, took me to a farm nearby. I woke up in a barn, in the cellar where they kept old hay, about two days later. I woke up and I saw a doctor and the farmer with his wife. And I saw the fear in their eyes, it was illegal to harbor anyone. And it was a border area, you couldn’t enter the area without a proper permission. What could I have done, when I saw the fear in their eyes? I asked the doctor: ‘How bad is it? Will I be able to continue?’ And he said: ‘I can’t guarantee anything. The bullet went through and if no complications occur, it could be good.’ So I decided to leave the house. I didn’t want them to hold any responsibility for harboring me. But it was a storm, snow with rain and when I was some two hundred meters from the border I couldn’t go any further and I couldn’t stand the pain. I got into a house, I thought: ‘whatever comes, I need to find a warm place.’ I was crawling for four or five hours a distance that a healthy man would make in thirty minutes. Then I was arrested. A mixed patrol came, a financial officer and a state policeman. I was arrested, taken to a station and there, in the office, I was hardly beaten.”
“It began with Petelík. Their cell was called the ‘Kremlin’ because it was full of army officers and generals… So It began when Petelík, because he was a nice man even though he worked as a guard… he brought them cigarettes and other stuff. And the others were complaining, you know, informers, they said: ‘They got something there.’ Just out of envy, these people turned into informers. ‘Petelík is bringing them cigarettes.’ And out of these bloody cigarettes and because Petelík was often seen at the door of the cell, they made up the so called riot.”
“So I waited at the squaure and then I saw two familiar faces, one of them was my employee the other one was an army officer I used to meet. We got into a car and they told me: ‘They will search for you in the evening, the state police with transmitters, there are two options: Either you try to escape abroad, which could work out but not necessarily, or you hide in the woods, because you know the woods well.” And so I decided to hide in the woods. I didn’t even go home, I was at my grandma’s, my mother’s mother.”
“I got to know Mr. Broj quite well as a prisoner, but I remember him from the election meetings and he was a good man, a real native from Chodsko. We used to call him Kozina, this Broj. And such a worthy man had to end up at the scaffold.”
“I believed that the regime would fall but it didn’t happen. There was betrayal everywhere. It was on 6th August 1948, there was a traitor in my group, there were six people in my group, when they attacked us we were six. Then the attack started, the state police came, one of them with a dog… The thing was… I had a map in the camp, a special map with scale 1:50 000, I didn’t know that there will be a traitor in my group, so I had the position of our camp marked in the map. And the traitor took the map a brought it to the police. They had the map and a dog that sniffed us out, and they came to your camp and shooting began. I was hit in the leg and lost consciousness. That was on August 6th, on September 6th I had a trial and I was sentenced to twenty years of prison and that was the end of my adventures. I was accused from leading an armed group supported by the enemy, which plotted against the communist government. Such was the charge. I was very lucky that my trial took place in October and that I was caught in August, because there was a new law, which came to force in November, the so called law 231 and according to this law you got death penalty for almost anything. I was lucky only to get the twenty years and to stay alive.”
“There was a riot in Leopoldov, it was called a hunger strike. I also got involved in that. It was organized through the state institutions. Or the state organized it through the prisoners who cooperated with them. It was happening in the whole country, but we didn’t know it, we thought that it takes place only in our prison. And they said that the prison food was insufficient. It was true, so we didn’t go to work the next day. That was an opportunity for them to dispose of the inconvenient ones, they beat the prisoners, one after another, a very hard and violent beating. And it was the same in jails all over the country as we found out later. Some two weeks, a month later, when some of the people had trials for these alleged riots. It always had a different name, somewhere they called it a Nudeltag in fake German, because they had noodles that day, that was I think in Příbram. It was all prepared. And, you know, the others, impulsive, they also joined in because they didn’t realize that everything is just a trick, they joined in because the prisoners keep together, the political prisoners keep together and they don’t realize that it is just a well prepared trap.
“I was sentenced in Ostrava on 6th October and on 11th I was taken to Bory in Pilsen. There I saw, and I was really shocked, men tied down in chains… There weren’t many thieves, it was full of political prisoners, this is how the prisons were filled, in a small cell, a cell for a single person, a solitary cell, there were three, four and even five of us. I was lucky to get a cell with general Pešek, general Nosál and the archdeacon from Domažlice, all high ranks. Army officers who trained paratroops in London. And major Černý who was later executed. There was the so called riot at Bory, which wasn’t a riot at all, it was all just a prepared provocation. And during that riot they executed major Černý, Mr. Broj, a member of the parliament from Pilsen, and than there was Petelík, a guard and a policeman. They started calling it a riot and Mr. Broj was an alleged leader. He had been a member of the People’s Party I suppose and they wanted to get rid of these people, they needed to get rid of Černý too, because he was in the general staff and because they were all very important people. So they made up the riot and also executed Petelík as a warning to the guards. They did things like discovering evidence they had planted before, same as they did it in churches and monasteries.”
“Can we ever forget what happened, and can we ever forgive?”
Miloslav ‘Milo’ Komínek was born on 20th July 1926 to Josef Komínek a worker at the iron-works in Frýdek-Místek and his wife Marie. He finished his apprenticeship as a locksmith and a cine-operator. During the Protectorate period, he participated in the underground resistance as most of the members of his family. He helped mainly with the manufacture of explosives and bombs. He was interested in politics, after the war he began to cooperate with the Czechoslovak People’s Party. He also passed a flying and parachute training. In 1945 to 1948 he represented Czechoslovakia in aerobatics at air shows all around the world. In 1948 he tried to escape abroad but he was caught and imprisoned for a short time. After the release in summer 1948 he became a part of a resistance group Portáš-Jánošík operating in the North Moravian Beskydy mountains. The group was soon revealed and its members received severe sentences. Milo Komínek and his five friends, all between 17 and 21 years old, were sentenced to a sum of 53 years in prison... Milo Komínek passed through prisons and camps at Bory, in the Jáchymov area (the Rovnost mine), at Leopoldov and Valdice. He was released in 1965. In 1968 he left the country through Austria and Switzerland to Canada where he runs small publishing company. After the Revolution he expanded his publishing activities back to the Czech Republic.