Hana Moravcová

* 1933  

  • “[Q: Did you forgive them?] The Communists or the regime? No. I won’t forgive them. When I think of my Dad, I won’t. They also ruined us in a way. We managed to adapt somehow to live a decent life. But they completely ruined our dad’s life. He was such a – I apologise for using the word – but he was a genius who was an amazing contribution to the country. And he wasn’t the only one, there were many such people who were talented, clever, and beneficial. But all they saw was that they had a big factory or that they were better off, but the benefit this brought to the country or to the people who had employment, or for research, or for progress...”

  • “It’s a terrible thing when everything is fine, you have your life and your friends, and suddenly some housekeeping hag comes along, all flared up and full of Communist ideals and says you’re bourgeois swine and should be hanged, good riddance. Suddenly you’re practically a criminal and you don’t know why. And that puts an end to that period of beautiful, carefree youth. My only good luck was that I had my sport. But the sport was cut short too, because in 1951 the Communists dissolved Sokol and turned it into VSOs [Voluntary Sports Organisations - trans.]. That was the Škoda Works, Slavoj, and Dynamo. And then we were banned from training at the Doubravka Sokol Hall, where I had grown up and where our coach was, who was also a member of the men’s national team. We weren’t allowed inside at all. Only Škoda workers were.”

  • “They questioned him and offered that he could collaborate with the American secret service. That they’d like to have a talk with him. My father said he was an independent and that he didn’t want to cooperate with any secret service. He told them that he already had a job waiting for him and that he would leave Germany straight for India. They then pretended to phone somewhere and told him that if he wasn’t interested in collaborating, they weren’t interested in him. They started going through his things – the book described it as ‘with feigned greed’. They robbed my father of everything. Everything he had with him. Some money, a camera, gold, his watch. A week later the stetsecs were pawning it off in Pilsen. They had a request for a camera and watch of unknown origin. They couldn’t say where they had gotten them from because that would have proved that my father had never crossed the border. He had no idea where he was. They wrote a report of the interrogation in German, which is full of grammatical mistakes. The German who interrogated him spoke perfect German because he had grown up with his parents somewhere in Germany and spoke well. But his grammar was another matter.”

  • “All those years I felt the terrible oppression, and that my life was somehow inferior. There was always someone pointing at you and deciding what you were like without knowing you. Just because some regime had said that when so-and-so has this or that, he’s evil and the enemy. My dad was doubly the enemy. Till the last moment he believed in Batushka [Daddy] Stalin, right until they started knocking down his statues. Then they made him into an outcast and locked him up to boot.”

  • “They headed out towards Železná Ruda. Before that he had told him he could take one large piece of luggage and warm clothes because there would be snow there. So they set out on the First. They drove to about as far as Lučina, the taxi took them there. Then this Jarda told him he would have to walk, that it would be about two or three kilometres. That he wouldn’t accompany him any further. That he’d cross a bridge and then come up against a German patrol. It was all in the dark, he crossed it [the bridge] and really was stopped by a German patrol in German uniforms with German sub-machine guns. But there was a sign there saying ‘Deutsche Grenzpolizei’. Except the ‘Grencpolizei’ was spelled with a Czech ‘c’. But the Germans spell it ‘Grenz’. So there was a grammatical error there. Well, and then they started interrogating him.”

  • “In that year when there was the European or world championship, we received ‘calorie allowance’. Depending on your performance it was from about 150 to 300 crowns a month. It was to supplement your diet. But for us to get something for a medal, that was out of the question. I had to pay someone to do my work for me, even though the company lost nothing because it was remunerated for the days when I didn’t work by the state committee. [Q: And you also said your wages were half the normal amount because of your dad.] Certainly. I moved on from payroll accounting to company inspection, and I worked in a warehouse where my colleagues had wages two levels higher than me for exactly the same work. [Q: And couldn’t it have also been because you lacked the education?] Of course it could. They didn’t even acknowledge my state exams from typewriting and shorthand because it wasn’t from a state school but a private one.”

  • “The way it was set up – it was like the screenplay of some film. All he told me was that he felt as though he had never actually crossed the border. That they had set the whole thing up. Back when he still had a ball-bearing workshop and it wasn’t completely ruined yet, they visited him. This one man named Klér came there. He had acquainted himself with my father somehow. He told me he had a friend called Jarda who could guide him across the borders. That if he was interested, he should say, and he’d organise it. Some time later my father decided he would, and they agreed there’d be a taxi waiting for him somewhere in a street in Pilsen at about five p.m. on 1 March 1951, and that they’d go.”

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    Plzeň, 19.04.2018

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State Security set Dad up with a fake border and then ruined his life for crossing illegally

photo: archiv Pamětníka

Hana Moravcová, née Valentová, was born on 8 August 1933 in Pilsen to Anna and Emanuel Valenta. Her father was an inventor, journalist, poet, and chief of the Experimental Institute of the Škoda Works in Pilsen. The Communist persecuted the whole family as soon as they came to power in February 1948. They seized her father’s business, her grandmother’s shop, Hana was barred from studying, they lost their beautiful family villa. In 1951 Emanuel Valenta fell into a State Security trap - in Operation “Stone” they arrested him on a fake state border. For the unauthorised crossing of the borders, which he never actually crossed, he was sent to the Jáchymov mines for three years. He returned a broken man and was employed for the rest of his life as a boiler man. He died in 1971. The consequences of his imprisonment affected the whole family. Despite her versatile talents, Hana was not allowed to continue her courses at a private school, she was employed in transportation, where she remained for the rest of her professional life. Despite these conditions, she worked her way into the national volleyball team, and thanks to her coach, who stood up for her, she travelled the world in her sports capacity. In 1962 she went on maternal leave, in 1971 she began training children and adolescents. She wrote several books on volleyball. After the revolution, in 1990, she played a major role in opening the Czech-German state border between Broumov and Mähring.