Jaroslav Lamr

* 1950  

  • "It was hard to bear the fact that also the youth was followed by the secret police, including the Scouts. In the Brdy area where I used to live, there were large settlements of the tramp movement. At that time – late 1970s and early 80s – there were efforts to break the movement apart or infiltrate it with our people. I found it hard to bear that missions were organized with the sole goal of destroying Scout settlements where there were totems and places ready for an assembly. The order would arrive: liquidate it. I was personally strongly against it. We argued with the guy who was supposed to carry it out. I was against it, argued with him, but this was an order and he couldn’t have changed it. It was wrong for the secret agents, policemen and militia men to participate in the destruction of the Scout and tramp settlements."

  • "The job of an operative consisted of targeting the environment of foreign residents who were arriving in the given district. When it was the whole family they attempted to gather as much information as possible about the family, its members, relatives, acquaintances, out of whom they would single out people who could be recruited and give out information about the family. Foreigners would commonly visit the factories in the Příbram area, uranium mines, ore fields, the world-wide known enterprise Hamiro for business purposes. We would seek the people who were in official contact with those foreigners, trying to recruit them. Interestingly enough, after 1989 we found out that there were traitors among ourselves. Not that we wouldn’t have known back then. But only after 1989 did I find out the details. As I reflect upon my work, we could have done our best but still achieve nothing because among our ranks there was a guy recruited by the British intelligence. He was able to disperse any interest that we in the Central Bohemian region had in England. He was our operating officer in the secret service and furthermore had the competence of unlimited lustration. So any efforts were futile. His name was Jiří Kroča and nobody would have ever found out had he not died of heart attack. His wife, a Soviet citizen, brought the equipment to the secret police HQ in Prague where they in horror discovered that he was an agent for the British."

  • "I was lucky not having to intervene in anything which I would be later held accountable for. Regarding foreign residents, I never witnessed anything worth noticing. It was just routine interest in the citizens of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic and in the foreigners. The routine was set: focus on the information. There was nothing adventurous about that, maybe with the exception of going to private appartments. The owners had to be lured away and secured not to jump our backs while we were in someone’s appartment. The owners were typically summoned to the military administration, traffic or foreign police, the doctor’s... Their children were being guarded at school. We had to obtain the appartment keys – at the workplace of the owner or at their children’s school or by summoning them somewhere where they would leave their keys in their coat pockets. We would borrow them, make a print of the shape and then the technicians would make a copy. Some did not have the nerve for it. I remember a guy unable to fit the key into the imprint box. It was often a matter of minutes. He had this clay box and wasn’t able to fit the key in there. It was unnerving. Both the operatives and people from the 6th corps would then go to the appartment and install the tapping device. Sometimes it took a couple hours. They would have to dig into walls, paint it over, dry and iron out. It’s the same old story today – every secret service does it. The only variable is the benefactor. We did it for the communists and the guys today do it for their bosses. Not much had changed."

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    Praha, 21.02.2015

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Don’t serve in the secret services. And trust no one

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Jaroslav Lamr

Jaroslav Lamr was born on 22 January 1950 in the Nymburk district. His mother worked in agriculture, his father served with the police working at various district departments. He trained to be a carpenter and did his military service with the Border Guard. In 1971 he joined the 5th department of the Federal Interior Ministry whose competence was ensuring security of public officials. In 1973 he transferred to the secret police department in Příbram. His work there consisted of collecting data on foreign nationals arriving in the district and their contacts with Czechoslovak citizens. He followed the locals’ contacts with their relatives or acquaintances living abroad. His task was to expose foreign spies. Initially, he expected the work for the secret police to be an adventure but the longer he stayed there, the more disappointed he was. In 1984 he changed the secret police for a regular police, feeling that it makes more sense to work on investigation of robberies, theft and other crimes. After the November 1989 revolution he witnessed the burning of secret police documents in the Příbram district. He had left the police corps upon his own request and began working in the newly-established federal Bureau for the Protection of the Constitution and Democracy. Soon after, the bureau was once again dissolved. As a former secret police agent he could no longer find a job with the police, or with the intelligence. He had therefore worked as a forest worker for fourteen years until reaching retirement age.