Oto Mádr

* 1917  †︎ 2011

  • "I was prepared for this from my childhood. I remember that some of the communists here (We lived in Prague-Karlín) were trying to get as much visible as they could. For an example they were walking through our street and were shouting. They repeated this in the future many times. These communists represented the Soviet bolshevism. But most of the times they received negative responses to their behavior. Communists, they meant the betrayal, the weeds to decent people."

  • "I packed up my stuff and walked out through the gate. There was no extreme enjoyment - I just took it for granted. It was the right thing to do, I had the right to leave. So I headed out into the world, my world. So why should I be grateful, except for the Lord, of course. And so I was walking through the Valdice alley, which I have known since I was a student, so I knew I had about two kilometers ahead of me to Jičín town. I walked with the joy that something is above me and the bars are behind me. But unfortunately a nice car stopped and the driver told me to get in, he offered me a lift. I told him: ´No, thank you, I’d like to walk.´ but he insisted, so I finally got into his car and he took me to Jičín. He knew I was just being released from the prison. By his act he voted for the freedom, in fact."

  • "The school of Mexican persecution still lived inside of us. It wasn’t only that - even the three hundred year old persecution of the Roman Empire. It was simply a challenge for us. We intended to create situations in which we would be able to carry on as best and as much as we could - the underground known from the Roman period catacombs."

  • "The rope around my neck was getting more and more tight. I provided services in public, in Prague-Hradčany. The loyal catholics were coming back to this place. The StB agents had everything under control, so I felt that it will be my turn soon. I discussed the situation with my close friends. They suggested that it would be best if I leave the country and go to Rome. I considered this option and then asked the sisters to provide me with a hiding place. They were already hiding two other men, who were supposed to leave the country as well. I was convinced that it wouldn't t be a big deal and that it would be easy to sail on the Elbe River. We headed out by car, but as we reached the hiding place they said: ´No, no, it’s not possible.´ The StB agents were well informed about all of it. So we tried to get back, but on our way they (the agents) put me into their car. And then the investigation started; very tough one, indeed - the solitary cells, questionings. A lot of that happened in Bartolomějská Street and later also in Ruzyně prison."

  • "I was so lucky in my life, because I got the opportunity to study the spiritual life also from the scientific point of view; because that is a part of the Theology too. It was inside of me, and I think it was inside of most of us. The old Roman catholic motto was: Quotidie morior - I’m dying anytime!"

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    redakce Teologických listů, Londýnská ulice, Praha, 15.06.2006

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    duration: 04:06:57
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
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Quotidie morior - I´m dying anytime

dobové.jpg (historic)
Oto Mádr
photo: archiv Post Bellum (od Václava Vaško)

Mr. Oto Mádr was born on February 15th 1917 in Prague. His parents were Anna and František Mádr. After he finished grammar school he was admitted to the Archbishop Gymnasium (the so called small seminary) located in Prague-Bubeneč. After his graduation he continued his studies at Prague’s Faculty of Theology, which he finished as a Theology training school, because the Faculty has been closed down during the occupation. His ordination was postponed due to his health condition, for the following year. Therefore his ordination was in 1942. He started off his priest activity in Zásmuky village at first and then he began to work as an administrator in Stříbrná Skalice town. After the end of the war he was given the opportunity to become an assistant at the Prague Faculty of Theology. He was one of the last lucky ones who went to Rome for a study tour. There he achieved his Theology licentiate. After his return in 1949 he submitted his academic dissertation and soon after that was certified as the last person at the old Faculty of Theology in Prague. The Faculty moved to the town of Litoměřice, where it came under permanent government supervision and it was operated by quisling priests. Mr. Mádr has already become an eminent person of the catholic life in the mean time. Inspired by personality of Father Tomislav Kolakovič he helped establish the University student’s bees. These were focused on the systematic deeper handwriting study. The rules of the catholic religion and its assertion in everyday life have been discussed there as well. During the early 50’s Oto Mádr served in the Capuchin Monastery of Virgin Maria in Prague-Hradčany. Lots of the Theology students attended his services regularly. This fact awoke the StB interests so Oto Mádr was forced to start to hide soon. He found his shelter in the gracious sisters of Saint Bartholomew monastery when the superiors offered him help. Here Oto Mádr decided to leave the country and to serve continuously from abroad. Unfortunately he was caught by the StB agents in 1951 while on the run. He was questioned in Prague-Ruzyně, Bartolomějská Street. Staged process with him was held in the summer of 1953 in Brno. Oto Mádr was seen there as the leader of the assembled group of people. His sentence was: for life. He experienced such prisons as Ruzyně, Mírov prison or Valdice prison. His punishment was gradually reduced among various amnesties to 20-25 years. In 1966 he was finally eligible for parole. That was six years after the big Novotný´s amnesty (former President - translator’s note), when many of the political prisoners left the prisons. In prison he was one of the philosophical creators (aside form Josef Zvěřina) of the so-called ´Prison University´. The entire lecture courses were held here during the primitive work. Later after his release, Oto Mádr didn’t receive the state approval to perform clerical work and worked as an auxiliary force in the hospital. Later he also worked in the Prague Museum archive. He has a significant role in the establishment of the so-called Conciliar renewal in 1968 - that was during the Prague’s Spring festival. During the normalization period he began to publish samizdat Theological publications, which are nowadays famous theological revue. Monsieur Oto Mádr was a well recognized scientific theorist around Europe in the field of moral theology and belonged to the important authorities of the Catholic Church. Oto Mádr died on February 27, 2011 in Prague.