Ing. Bohuslav Koutecký

* unknown  

  • „The [invitation for cavers from abroad] was delivered to our ministry of culture and the ministry had to approve it and we received a permit from the ministry. Then we went on an official trip by the ministry of culture. We were going to various congresses in this way. But it was possible to travel only to countries which had concluded this agreement, and it included basically all European countries, including Switzerland. At least one hundred of cavers used this opportunity and none of them has ever emigrated, because there was an informal agreement among us that if somebody fled the country during an official trip with a permission from the ministry, then it would be over for all of us. So if somebody really wanted to emigrate, he would go privately with some tour from the Čedok travel agency and escape during the tour. In 1986 one member of an expedition died abroad when he fell into an abyss. The permits always had to be returned to the ministry after the group returned from their travels. And when the then chairman of the Czechoslovak Speleological Society David Havlíček afterward went to the ministry to return the permits, the female clerks were all surprised that one person had not come back. The chairman explained that the man had died during the expedition and that he was therefore bringing back his documents. And the clerks sighed with relief and said that at least he died and did not emigrate, that would have been worse. So such was the way of thinking of officials at the ministry and we felt so bad about it… What they [the communists] had sown into human souls is the greatest evil which persists even now; this communism in those human souls.”

  • “I was copying Karel Čapek’s essay Why I am not a Communist, which we liked very much, on a typewriter using carbon papers. A colleague brought it and since there were no copy machines at that time, we were copying it like this. This was one of the things that the StB later used against me. They found it during a house search, the banned texts which were prohibited from copying. It was being disseminated like this among students, anywhere. We were not careful. When I think of my mom, how careful she had to be during the war when she was delivering letters. My mom lived in Lány, but she was commuting to Prague. And since she was a Sokol member… Sokols were one of the principal organizations of [anti-Nazi] resistance. She would always be given some letter or she would be just told what she was supposed to write down and then place it up on a pillar in the barn at the gamekeeper’s lodge in Píně. She did not know for whom she was delivering it there, but then in 1945 she learnt that among those who had been accommodated in the lodge there were some of the paratroopers who had been involved in the assassination of Heydrich. If they had caught her, she would have been sent to a camp immediately. Even the gamekeeper, if they had found out that he had provided a hiding place for them, they would have shot him. At that time everybody was obliged to report it to the police when somebody provided a place to stay for somebody else, even if it were just for one night. If somebody failed to do it, there was the death penalty for it. But still those people were not afraid and they were doing it. They were providing accommodation for the paratroopers from England in spite of the great risk that they would be shot if they were caught. If somebody only knew about it but did not report it, that person was sent to a concentration camp, but the people were doing it nevertheless. If I compare it with the present time, when we are scared of everything, it is somehow incomparable. We were not afraid like this at that time, because we thought, well, so what can they do to us? At most they might expel us from school, and we would be able to earn a living somehow, so what?”

  • “They arrested me at school in Písek. At first they took me to Bartolomějská Street and then to Ruzyně in Prague, where I spent about a month in detention pending trial. I had been somehow expecting it, because they were already investigating my acquaintances and so I knew from them that I had to be careful because they were after us. It all started with a trifle. We, as cavers, had a shed in the Koněprusy Caves and we used it as our base. All those talks were held there, and we would discuss who would transcribe which document and where we would send it and how many copies we would make. The group of cavers was obviously strongly oriented against the political regime. And in 1971 there was the anniversary of the establishment of the Communist Party, the 50th anniversary of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia. Red decorations were everywhere. And above our shed there was a hill where filmmakers were shooting some film from the Middle Ages at that time. It was raining and so they left and they planned to finish the shooting in the following week, and a gallows remained constructed there on the top of that hill. We took a picture with the gallows. And two of my friends commented that although the decorations with the hammer and sickle and stars were everywhere, there were none at the gallows. We thus took a poster which we had on our shed, and we placed it on the gallows and we took a photo of it. A gallows with the numbers fifty and the symbols of the Communist Party, the hammer and sickle. It was a parody on the 1950s when several hundred of innocent people were executed. And then all of us took a group picture at the gallows. Then we took the poster off and we returned it to the shed. And one of my friends had this photo with the gallows and the number fifty and he was showing it in the Koněprusy Caves, but a woman who was an StB agent worked among the guides there, and she secretly took the photo from him and she brought it to the StB in Beroun. They did house searches and they discovered the negative films. We were not in that photo, but we were in the negative films. That’s how they found us. They arrested us and we did not know why.”

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    Brno, 14.09.2018

    (audio)
    duration: 01:32:36
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
Full recordings are available only for logged users.

The most important is not visible to the eyes

Bohuslav Koutecký
Bohuslav Koutecký
photo: autor

Bohuslav Koutecký was born on April 9, 1951 in Kladno shortly after his father had been arrested by the StB. The family has never learnt anything else about his fate. Very early on, Bohuslav became aware of the difference between what he was hearing in school and at home. His hobbies included exploring of caves. Together with other cavers, he began disseminating texts which were banned at the end of the 1960s. The secret police discovered the group’s activities shortly after and its members were gradually arrested. In 1971 Bohuslav was sentenced to two years of imprisonment with one year of suspended sentence for defamation of the country and its representative and for defamation of race and conviction. Subsequently, no employer was willing to hire him. Bohuslav eventually found a job in coal mines in Ostrava, where workers with “political blemishes” were common occurrence. He remained under the StB surveillance nearly until the Velvet Revolution. Bohuslav was a member of the team of cave explorers who discovered the Amateur Cave in the Moravian Karst.