At that time, it was inconceivable for me that somebody would go to jail for the Bible
Václav Mach was born in April 1933 in Leškovice. Since his youth, he’s been in strong disagreement with the communist ideology and immediately after his graduation, together with his life-long friend Ladislav Šmejkal, they joined an anti-Communist group in the Semilsko region and got involved in sticking up posters and disseminating flyers. They were arrested along with the other members of the group in July 1952 and after an extensive and exhaustive pre-trial custody which lasted for 10 months, Václav Mach was sentenced to 14 years in prison for high treason. In April 1953, he was posted to the Equality (“Rovnost” in Czech) labor camp in Jáchymov and after two months he was transferred to the Bytíz labor camp in Příbram. Due to the shortage of adequate food, exhausting labor and inhumane living conditions, he suffered from significant health problems in both camps. Already in custody, he met for the first time a member of the Jehovah’s Witnesses and he would entertain contacts with members of this faith in the years to come. Because of his persistent health problems, he was transferred to the stone prison in Leopold in 1956. Compared to the murderous conditions in the labor camps, the working conditions in the prison brought some physical relief for Mr. Mach. Nevertheless, the labor quotas in the prison were ridiculously high. In 1960, Václav Mach was paroled. A friend from Jehovah’s Witnesses helped him in a difficult situation and Václav Mach got a job in the Transport Chrudim, where he worked as a crane slinger. Already in 1960, he joined the Church of the Jehovah’s Witnesses which was at that time prohibited by law. In 1984, he was sentenced to 10 months in prison in the wake of a large-scale swoop against the Chrudim community. He spent his prison term in the Bory prison. However, he remained with the Jehovah’s Witnesses until today.