Miloš Miltner

* 1932

  • “We had a meeting of our troop, and two gentlemen and two boys came in and said: ‘Look, boys, go home, because you are no longer Scouts, this is now the Czechoslovak Youth Union.’ We thus dissolved the troop, and we were cursing them, of course, and from time to time we were going tramping, mostly to Jarov. Before I was to go to do my military service, they summoned me to the municipal committee of the Youth Union and told me: ‘Look, comrade, you are going to the army…’ They had written me to bring my ID card and my Union card. I came there and said: ‘I don’t have my ID card, and I don’t have the Union card, either.’ – ‘Why didn’t you bring them, when the notice said that you were supposed to bring these documents?’ – ‘See, I have been a Scout all my life…’ – ‘But you cannot compare the two organizations!’ – ‘Well, I cannot, because I think that for a young man it is more important if he knows how to wash his shirt than if he knows when Lenin was born.’ They kicked me out of the door.”

  • “One thing that happened in the camp: one evening there was an alarm, and they made us all get out and in front of the commander’s barrack there were three handcuffed guys sitting there, and we were told that they had allegedly thrown half a kilogram of potassium cyanide in the coffee dispenser and they wanted to poison everyone in the camp so that they would be able to escape. It was nonsense, because imagine what amount that would be. Half a kilogram of cyanide! They were beating them so that all of us would see it and then they made them get on a truck and they took them away.”

  • “We arrived to Switzerland and I met a colleague there with whom I had been working for sixteen years and his sister was living there. We thus stopped by for a visit and we decided that we would stay there. We got a three bedroom apartment, and I began working as a maintenance worker in the company Kabelwerke in Brugg. It was funny, we had a three-bedroom apartment and we didn’t have anything. We had a three-piece mess-tin, and we ate from that – three people. We had a big paper box, which served as a table, and we slept on inflatable mattresses. I was out of luck, because my mattress had a hole in it, and in the mornings I would always wake up lying on the wooden floor.”

  • “We thus set up the camp, the four eldest boys stayed there and I went back – and the Russians arrived that night. How nice! A Scout camp to be held after many years, and it didn’t happen, because the Russians arrived to Prague. Their parents came and they were asking me: ‘Where are the children, where are the oldest ones?’ ‘They are there.’ Oh my God! I thus got into my Trabant car and I went there. They did not let me drive where I wanted to go. I thus had to drive around through the forest but eventually I reached the place, and we raised the Scout flag on the flagpole and the eldest boy recited his Scout pledge to me. Then we packed everything and we drove home, we arrived around three o’clock in the morning and the parents were still waiting for. So that was the end of our Scout camp.”

  • “When the funeral of President Beneš was held, there was a long line of people all the way from the Liberation Monument to the gas storage tank in Libeň. It was horrible, I have never seen anything like that. As boys from Žižkov, we knew that if we took the main street and pass the Baťa shop and climb over the fence there, and jump over the railway track and run up the hill, we would get right under the monument. We thus got there this way, and I went there three or four times. If I had joined the queue somewhere in Ohrada, people would have kicked me out. But since we were already there, they were all sad and quiet and therefore they left us boys alone.”

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    Praha - Neuenhof (Skype), 23.03.2015

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If people trust each other, everything works much better

Miloš Miltner as a private in the Auxiliary Technical Battalions
Miloš Miltner as a private in the Auxiliary Technical Battalions
photo: soukromý archiv pamětníka

  Miloš Miltner was born March 7, 1932 in Prague. His father was a house painter, and his mother was a seamstress. Miloš grew up in Prague-Žižkov and he became a Boy Scout already before WWII. The Junák organization (Czech Boy Scouts - trans.’s note) was banned during the war, and Miloš thus continued with his Scouting activities after the war until the organization became banned by the communists. After that it was possible to engage in Scouting only under the patronage of the Czechoslovak Youth Union. Miloš Miltner trained a shop assistant, later as a machinist and eventually he also learnt the electrician’s trade. In summer 1950 he crossed the border to Austria together with his three friends, but two of them, including Miloš Miltner, were intercepted by Russian soldiers in Vienna, and they were handed over to the Czech police. Miloš was sentenced to seven months of imprisonment and he served his term working in the Mayrau coal mine in Vinařice. After his release he was employed for a short time and then he was drafted to do military service in the Auxiliary Technical Battalions. He married in 1956. During the following political thaw he took some steps for the restoration of Junák. In 1966 he sent a letter to the then Czechoslovak president Antonín Novotný, asking him to be allowed to form an experimental Boy Scout troop, which should prove to have a positive influence on the youth. His request was turned down. In summer 1968 he was however allowed to lead and organize the first legal Scout camp. Miloš received his Scout nickname Jestřáb (Hawk) during the preparation of the camp. The military intervention of the Warsaw Pact armies in August 1968 however put an end to the camp and it eventually never took place. Miloš Miltner decided to emigrate with his wife and daughter shortly after August 1968. They went first to Lichtenstein, but after some time they moved to Switzerland where he has been living since. Miloš Miltner worked in the company Brown, Boveri & Cie. He formed a Scout troop for exiles’ children in Switzerland, which functioned within the Swiss organization SPB (Schweizerisches Pfadfinderbund). He was one of the organizers of so-called Exiloree reunions, meetings of Czech Scouts abroad, inspired by Scout Jamborees. When his daughter Eva Miltnerová grew up, she followed her father and she became the leader of the Scout organization. This activity however did not evolve further because the following generations of immigrants were gradually becoming assimilated. In 2005 Miloš Miltner was awarded the honorary citizenship by the city borough Prague 3-Žižkov. For many years he has been working on preparing a several-volume book Heroes Don’t Speak about important Czech personalities related to Junák.