Oldřich Kučera

* 1950

  • "Mrs. Kaplan, a mother of ten, really wanted to go to a meeting in Warsaw. She also didn't have a passport, she had it confiscated. She knew I was going to Poland. So she persuaded me if I would take her there somehow. So I told her: 'We can try.' We went to Jablunkov and we wanted to cross Čantoryja. However, it happened that our citizens were checked on the Czech side. She didn't have an ID with her. She said she was my mother. Very clever and they believed it. After that check, I said, 'Marie, that's not good. We should go back because they let them know, they're connected. ‘I knew it worked that way there. I said, 'It's priceless, they'll hook us in.' She said, 'No.' She just persuaded me. I said, 'Okay. As you wish. I cannot guarantee anything.' They took us for interrogation to Cieszyn, Poland. We were in custody there for a day, they interrogated us. She claimed to be my mother. I was enough for her during the interrogation, they didn't look after us so much, to dictate all the birth dates of their siblings, mother, father. She memorized it all, they recorded it all. The next day they took us to Třinec and there were the same happened again. Then they let us go."

  • “The secret police were on the roofs and in various apartments. They monitored the whole event. I even have a photo taken of the policeman, who was recording the whole meeting from the town hall bay window. I don't know exactly how many people there were, a few hundred. It gathered around the Trinity [Holy Trinity Column]. Viennese television arrived, which actually preventing police raids. They were careful about that, very careful about if getting to the media, on television in the west, not the domestic one, of course. Thanks to that, it turned out that they didn't disperse it. I managed to take a picture of it quite successfully. I have a photo of people standing there with crosses. Then I have a photo of about seven police officers carrying Stand Ninth to City Hall. But because I wasn't close, I don't know exactly what happened there, but I have the photo. It served the purpose. They registered me to take pictures there, even though I was careful. They registered me to take pictures there, even though I was careful. They entered the house, but it is complicated, as it has a double staircase and it is not clear which apartment the door leads to. Then we found out that they were looking there, they rang with various people, but they didn't find us in the apartment."

  • "There was a Slovak priest in Warsaw, I don't remember his name anymore, he was probably with the Jesuits. He studied in Rome and had contacts there. A lot of Slovaks in particular followed him. He had piles of books there. I packed as much stuff as I could, what was good and necessary. I met my future wife in Poland. We drove it to her. Coincidentally, she lived not far from the border in Prudník. Then we did it by agreeing a date at the Bishop's Knoll. This is a mountain near Zlaté Hory, where there is a lookout tower. There are borders and common hiking trails. I arrived there with a backpack, she also arrived with a backpack, the same. We sat there under the lookout tower. The border guards used to go there, but somehow they didn't look after it. We sat for a while. We exchanged our backpacks and I carried it down. Then I handed it out as needed."

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    Olomouc, 13.04.2019

    duration: 02:41:15
    media recorded in project Stories of the region - Central Moravia
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Out of external lack of freedom, I found true inner freedom in faith

Contemporary photo of Oldřich Kučera
Contemporary photo of Oldřich Kučera
photo: z archivu Víta Pelikána

Oldřich Kučera was born on November 20, 1950 in Prostějov and grew up in Moravian Beroun in the Sudetenland. In his youth, he found a passion for photography that accompanied him all his life. He trained as an electrician, worked at Granitol, but his conventional life did not fill him. He took refuge in underground culture, went to music festivals and made contacts in the hippie community in Czestochowa in Poland. He got a job as a photographer at the Department of Forensic Medicine at the Olomouc University Hospital. In search of the meaning of life, he found God, converted to Christianity and joined the lively community of Catholics in Olomouc. Subsequently, he reproduced religious literature by samizdat and also smuggled it with the help of his future wife Eva Osietska from Poland. He got under the spotlight of the State Security, which monitored him as an enemy of the third degree of danger; he was arrested, detained and interrogated several times. He took part in actions in support of the unjustly prosecuted and was persecuted for it. His passport was confiscated and he continued to cross the border illegally to see his companion Eva to Poland. When his passport was returned to him in 1988, he traveled to France and Germany, among other places, where he met personalities of the Czech exile. He also went to Rome for the canonization of Agnes of Bohemia. During the November demonstrations in 1989 in Olomouc, he performed with a guitar and joined the Civic Forum. After the revolution, he devoted himself mainly to his family, working for a long time as an electrician at a sawmill in Pavlovičky and for three years he went back to work as a photographer in the forensic medicine department.