Ing. Karel Metyš

* 1932  †︎ 2018

  • “The prison prepared me well for the real life. I experienced loneliness, hunger, even beatings, and this makes man tougher and nothing can surprise him afterwards. Like commuting to school on a motorcycle for three years, in summer, in winter when it was freezing, and working at the same time... Later, when I was studying at the technical college, I had to take care for my family, draw my projects, and study the textbooks. It was no fun. I remember, when we would go on a business trip by car, I would pull out the textbooks from my bag, and start studying. But I have survived it all. I was already prepared to endure all this. And above all I want to emphasize that when man goes through all this, he then becomes thankful for his home, his good wife, his food, and the sun above his had, and the freedom to go wherever he pleases. It was terrible, when they were bringing me for interrogation to Brno in August 1949. Looking from the car window, I saw all these people walking outside, having fun, laughing.... one then learns to appreciate such things and nothing can crush him.”

  • “I used to be a boy scout in Litomyšl, and in 1968 the boy scouts from Moravská Třebová, Mirek Kužílek and Antonín Krystek, came to me and asked me to help them in their efforts to reestablish the boy scouts (Junák) section in Moravská Třebová. I hesitated, but then became persuaded by them, as it usually happens to me. So I became a leader of a six-member Cub Scouts group, and later the leader of the whole section. While doing this, I was also studying the technical college, so it was quite a load.... I received my scouting nickname UDEJS during a summer camp in Chudobín. During the first roll-call of all the groups the leader asked me what my scouting name was, and I answered that nothing, nobody. So they named me UDEJS, which means ´nobody´ in Greek.”

  • “I would almost forget to mention that the rector of our Piarist college from Litomyšl, Father Stříteský, was included in the whole exemplary trial as the main culprit. This was done to demonstrate the intended meaning of the whole case, to make it seem that the Vatican had been behind all this. They were bringing in busloads of students from the whole region, to show them what would happen to them if they dared to do something similar to what we had done. It was terrible, just one example so that you can imagine the atmosphere there: before the commencement of each trial, public prosecutor Ivanová, a woman who “studied” a law school for a mere one year, would always read out outraged petitions by workers from all over the country, demanding the most severe punishment for us. We occupied the first three rows of seats and behind us there were sitting the comrades-workers from Litomyšl factories, and these women – just to show that they had nothing in common with us – had red scarves around their necks and they were shouting: ´Hang them! Flay them!´ This is how the atmosphere there looked like.”

  • “I recall the Minister of Education and Learning Zdeněk Nejedlý. He was a truly problematical figure. In fact, he did write many works about music, or he was the founder of the music section at Charles University, but he was not a good man. My father collaborated with him, since Nejedlý was a native of Litomyšl. It was my dad’s idea to organize the annual music festival Smetana’s Litomyšl, but he knew very well that he would not be able to make it happen without the support and help of Z. Nejedlý. And my father had this hope that perhaps minister Nejedlý might help us in our case, so they went with the other parents of the imprisoned boys to Prague and wanted to intercede for us. But Nejedlý did not receive them at all, he just opened the door and declared: ´That reactionary cell must be wiped out as a burrow of vipers.´”

  • “My name is Karel Metyš. I was born on 4th November 1932. My father was a pastor of the Czechoslovak Hussite Church and he was also a keen musician. In Litomyšl he led the choir Vlastimil, he was a symphony orchestra conductor, and he was also inviting important artists from Prague, Brno and Ostrava and he would accompany them on a piano. Naturally, he also knew to play the viola and violin. My mother was a teacher. She studied a Teachers´ Institute in Litomyšl and this was where she met my father.”

  • Full recordings
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    Praha, 24.05.2008

    duration: 01:46:56
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
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Junák does not acknowledge totalitarian regimes and they do not acknowledge Junák

Metyš - vězeňské foto.jpg (historic)
Ing. Karel Metyš

Karel Metyš was born November 4th, 1932 in Litomyšl in a family of a Czechoslovak (Hussite) Church pastor and an influencial musician Jaromír Metyš and teacher Marie Metyšová, born Kašparová. Since his boyhood he has been strongly influenced by the upbringing in a Christian family and by the values of the boy scouts movement. He participated in his first scouts´ summer camp in 1946 in Chudobín. This is where he earned his scouting nickname Udejs. At that time, the ideals of the scouting movement and the Christian faith were becoming increasingly distanced from the ideals and goals proclaimed by the ruling communist party. While still a high school student, Metyš together with his classmates started publishing and distributing pamphlets containing the essays of the late president Beneš. In 1949 he was arrested as an underage delinquent and then in October 1949 sentenced in the Stříteský and co. (or ´ATA´) case to three years of imprisonment. Seventeen youths, mostly scouts, out of the twenty-four members of the Litomyšl group were convicted. He spent the major part of his sentence in an Institute for underage delinquents in Zámrsk. The conditions there were somewhat more bearable than in a regular prison or labour camp. The boys even formed a music band with friends there. Metyš was released on February 25th, 1952. He experienced difficulties while trying to find employment, and later worked in various professions. He married in 1960; with his wife Dagmar they have three children. In 1968 he participated in the renewal of the Czech boy scouts movement (called Junák in Czechoslovakia), and gradually he completed his tertiary education at a technical college. After the Velvet Revolution in November 1989 he briefly served as the mayor of the town of Moravská Třebová. Karel Metyš  largely devoted his time to his beloved music. He passed away on February, the 28th, 2018