Miroslav Kopt

* 1935  †︎ 2020

  • “I and Franta arrived at school in uniforms. And the director – Večeřa – shouted at us, saying this has no place at school etc. I defended myself sharply, saying that we had freedom. And he said: ‘What freedom?! Remember there is only the freedom of the proletariat!’ No one from the class took my side. Or Franta’s. We were there like two outcasts. We left for the scout meeting and told ourselves, ‘Well, that is nice…’”

  • “I was led to my cell and nothing happened. In the evening – it was after the lights-out and we were in our beds already – there was a young man with me, I can’t remember his name. Suddenly: ‘Get up! Pack up your things!’ They took me downstairs. I thought I was going to be transported somewhere. Suddenly – I was blindfolded, without a blindfold you were not allowed to move – they pushed me into a cell. There was nothing, just the blanket I had in my hands. Light. The light was on all the night. And you had to sleep with your hands on the blanket. Suddenly the door opened and three men I had never seen rushed in and they kicked me, slapped me. In short… I lost my consciousness in a while.”

  • “Another thing that shot me to the core – the next day I accompanied my dad to Ďáblice to see our GP and get some pills for my mum. She had some rheumatic problems and run out of pills. So we went to get them. And above the Ďáblice cemetery, in the direction of Ďáblice, there was a transport of prisoners. They were accompanied by boys who were just a few years older than myself. My dad said: ‘What these puppies…’ They were armed heavily though… When we were approaching the end of the transport, one of the prisoners stumbled and fell. His mates wanted to help him and they supported him for a while. Suddenly there was a boy and ordered them to stop… he then ordered the man to go on his own. And he couldn’t. So he grabbed him by the shoulder and led him to the ditch at the edge of the road. He took out his gun and my father tried to cover my eyes so I wouldn’t see. It was dreadful. He shot, hit the German, but the man stood still. He shot once more – another shot, more blood. Third shot and the German instead of falling down stood up and made two three steps towards the boy. The boy collapsed and threw away the gun. A Russian was passing by in a horse carriage. When he saw it, he swore, killed the German by a volley of shots from his machine gone and then kicked the boy.”

  • “[Secretary] came up to me saying: ‘Look, the boss wants to speak to you.’ I told myself, well, I will just change my clothes – I had not planned to change my clothes. I told myself, I will just don on my overalls and then will get lost. I changed. And I saw that the gatekeeper looked at me as if he wanted to make a hint… but I didn’t see. I just wished to be lost. I came to the office, opened the door and was immediately seized by four men. That was it.”

  • “I hated Bolshevism so much that there was no other way for me really. I was just sorry for my parents that I had to be silent about things. That they would never learn who I really was etc. But my resolve was so strong that nothing could be done about it. Look, during my stay there… I received twenty-nine punishments. Once even by the command of the chief Ryšavý I was sentenced for ten days into the central prison down there. But this was a new situation in my life style. Not that I was not afraid. But simply I had such a feeling that this was a part of my mission. That it is the fulfilment of the Boy Scout programme in practice.”

  • “Uncle Bohdal – he was the father of Jiřina Bohdalová, the actress – got one of our leaflets. He read it and said: ‘It is nice what you are doing but it will lead you to hell.” At the end of the war, he was entangled in some resistance activities. He was arrested by Gestapo in 1945 and escaped the gallows only because the war ended and he managed to get from the prison. And he said: ‘This is just a stupid leaflet.’ Part of the leaflet instructed people to write a letter to the American embassy to call for democratic election, something like a petition. ‘You know boys. The problem is that communists read all the mail. They had already been checking it before February 1948. You have to be cautious about that. It does not need to be a direct provocation and you can still get into a lot of trouble. You can’t do it this way. If you do things illegally, you can’t leave traces behind.’”

  • “I have to say that labor camp Nikolaj was a great life experience. There was a great group of people (at least the core of the prisoners), who were also very devoted. It was a small camp. There were personalities – like for example Ruda Pernický – who could break the communist self-rule and get a lot of informers under their control. My co-prisoners were also very good at political agenda. It was the only vamp where you had a close collaboration between different political fractions, no matter if they were Christian democrats, social democrats or people with other political views. Even former soldiers and so on... they all got together. We were a unified group which had a clear dominance.”

  • “I really took resistance seriously. For me, it was not some kind of an adventure. People often laughed at me but I didn’t care. I just thought that the takeover simply must happen some time (I really didn’t know it would last so long) and I though that if you wanted to fight against the regime, you had to do it with qualification and some competence. That was my credo. And several times in prison I found that those attitudes really helped me get through that.“

  • “With Rudolf Probst we once we witnessed a shooting (in Vršovice where I attended a grammar school) where a secret agent was shot. Then we talked about plenty other things and he suddenly told me that he was a member of an underground organization. I asked him if he knew Lukšíček and he did even though he lived at Bohdalec while Lukšíček lived on the other side of Prague. Then I found that the Ostříž organization was a boy scout group that was stretched from Strašnice to Pankrác and also had ties in Kobylisy and to the boys that I was in touch with when I thought about joining the boy scouts (they belonged to a branch called Polárka). It was an organization that had a very broad range.”

  • “Because I lived in that kind of an environment, I tried do study some methods by myself. First that I read resistance literature from the war period. I also got hold of some technical materials like manuals for various methods for the prewar intelligence sevices but also an insructional manual of the communist service for their own agents. Besides, I also studied some sabotage techniques and so on. I was quite enthusiastic I would say. I was decided that I would apply for a job in the intelligence service as soon as the system breaks down. Some of my friends from our group thought that I was crazy and they told me: ‘Are you mad? You take it so seriously, take it easy.’ But I said: ‘It is not fun anymore. People are dying and if we want to do something about it we have to do it properly.’ That was when I began to dissociate with the Ostříž group.”

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    Praha - pobočka KPV, Revoluční ulice, 07.07.2009

    duration: 04:50:02
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
  • 2

    Praha, 15.12.2015

    duration: 01:54:13
    media recorded in project The Stories of Our Neigbours
  • 3

    Praha, 02.02.2017

    duration: 01:59:59
    media recorded in project 10 pamětníků Prahy 10
  • 4

    Praha, 13.03.2017

    duration: 01:59:44
    media recorded in project 10 pamětníků Prahy 10
  • 5

    Praha, 30.03.2017

    duration: 01:47:52
    media recorded in project 10 pamětníků Prahy 10
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Resistance had to be taken seriously and you had to prepare for it both practically and theoretically. For me, the anti-communist resistance wasn’t just a moral gesture but also a serious intelligence activity

kopt_mladi.jpg (historic)
Miroslav Kopt

Miroslav Kopt is a Czech scout and a political prisoner. In 1948, he started to print and distribute anti-communist leaflets. His uncle František Bohdal who was also involved in the resistance showed him some more effective ways to fight the regime - that resistance should not be restricted to moral gestures, which are in their nature predetermined to a very short life, but it should also involve effective conspiracy activities. In 1948, Kopt participated in organizing an illegal camp and joined the Ostříž organization, which consisted of several boy scout organizations that were compelled to preserve the boy scout movement in case it would be prohibited and to plot against the system. Kopt began reading sources and instructions of effective intelligence. The aim Kopt and his friends pursued was to prepare technically and strategically for the fall of the regime, which should have been carried out as an organized uprising supported from the democratic West. In 1952, he was arrested after a failed operation of the Oldřich Rottenborn’s group. He was sentenced to six months in prison. He was saved from imprisonment with an amnesty. In 1954, Kopt began to dissociate with Ostříž because he had a different view of intelligence activity and he felt higher risk of being revealed. He established a new group named Tonda. Shortly after, the State police caught a member of the Ostříž group who didn’t stand the interrogation and revealed all the activities of the group and the names of its members. Kopt was arrested and interrogated and sentenced in a trial for alleged treason to 10 years in prison. He spent six years in Panrkác penitentiary and in labor camps Rovnost and Nikolaj in the Jáchymov area. In 1968, he helped to renew the boy scout organization as a paid member of the official child and youth organization. Three years later, he left the organization and began to create a parallel boy scout movement that, as opposed to the official one, was not willing to comply with the normalization directives - the modus operandi resembled the one adopted in 1948. Until 1989, he was in touch with the German movement and smuggled forbidden books and other materials to Czechoslovakia. He also had some links to the Radio Free Europe. After November 1989, Miroslav Kopt helped to recreate the K231 club and later became a member of the parliament for Občanské fórum. In March 1990, he left to the Federal office for the preservation of constitution and democracy where he took part in vetting the II. degree State police officers. He used the 40 years of experience in anti-communist fight. He left the counter-intelligence service in 1999. At present, he engages in research and publishes articles and edits anthologies dedicated mainly to the boy scout movement and anti-communist resistance.