Jaroslav Řičica

* 1924  †︎ 2011

  • “I can´t recall anything.” “How so you can´t recall anything?” “I´m taking a mental training course, I´m completely…., I´m 83 years old.” “What have you done in your life, actually?” “Well, I used to work in the railways, then I was a soldier, in the army.” “And what did you do in the army?” “I can´t tell you.” “Why not? Is it secret?” “Yes, I signed it then, so it´s secret.” “Is it secret still today?” “I don´t know that. But I won´t tell you anything, because I don´t remember anything, anyway.” “At least, what kind of army did you serve in, or which garrison?” “By the MNO. Administrative work. In Bánská Bystrice and in Prague.” “Where exactly in Prague?” “By the MNO, The Ministry of Defense.”

  • “May I ask one more question? This name: Tomáš Sedláček. Do you know who he was?” “I do.” “Who was he?” “Well… a soldier. I won´t be telling anything to you.” “Because he says about you that you interrogated him, in Domeček in the Prague castle….” “But I told this already some time ago. I don´t remember that anymore. I wasn´t interrogating then.” “He says about you that you even beat him.” “That´s nonsense.” “What was the daily routine there? The place was under the command of Pergl, who was even sentenced for violence. Did you know that man?” “Well, I did.” “What kind of a person was he?” “I only used to meet him when I was on duty.” “Political prisoners remember that “Domeček” was the worst of all places they went through. What do you think about that. Is that some kind of intention that they talk like this or what do you think about that?” “I need to sit down.” “Of course, sure…”

  • “What do you think about those memories of political prisoners…?” “Well, they just say what they went through…But I don´t know anything, I don´t remember . It was forty years ago, so please…! I joined the army, was assigned to that department there. There I was supposed to be as a trainee. So I was in trainee-ship there. Then I left for Bánská Bystrica.” “So how did you feel about that “trainee-ship” in “Domeček”? You are one of the last living witnesses..” “But I wasn´t in that “Domeček! I don´t know what it was like in Domeček. I just know they started calling the place “Domeček”. But my office wasn´t there.” “At the beginning we were at the same place as the Superior Military Procurator. Then I was sent to Bánská Bystrica, and then I came back and it was already called VKR by that time.” “VKR – military counterespionage.” “I became an investigator there.” “And what kind of crimes did you investigate?” “Crimes, mmm…, desertion abroad, unlawful weapons possession, a state secret endangering and then by the end, last ten years I was an Officer for Interior Confidentiality. According to directions I used to decide what was to be secret, top secret, ZD etc..”

  • “Tomáš Sedláček says he was really lucky that you were his interrogating officer, because, firstly, you didn´t beat him so much, and…” “I didn´t beat him at all. Well, he is making things up, that he was beaten. I didn´t even investigate his case, I didn´t arrest him. I was there mainly watching, learning to type.” “What were you typing?” “I was typing what Sedláček was saying.” “And what kind of crime did Sedláček commit?” “I don´t know what his charges were.” “According to memories of political prisoners from 1950´s they were frequently subjected to physical and psychological violence, they were…” “Look, I heard all this for the first time probably only after 1989.” “Would you call that period a “totalitarian regime”?” “I didn´t consider it a totalitarian regime then. I just joined and then followed orders. I was summoned to army, I was supposed to work by the railways.”

  • Full recordings
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    Praha 5, Czech rep., 05.06.2007

    duration: 17:00
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
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I was only learning to type, I just wrote down everything that Sedláček said I don´t remember anything any more

řičica ze svazku.jpg (historic)
Jaroslav Řičica
photo: dobové: ABS, současné: ze sbírky Post Bellum, autor Hynek Moravec

Jaroslav Řičica is a retired captain. He was born on 24. April 1924 in Veselí nad Moravou, became a machine locksmith in ČKD Sokolovo. In 1944 he was assigned to work for the Reich (total einsatz). After the war he earned his living as a laborer and in 1947 he joined the army to serve his duty. At that time he kind of “became politically wise” and applied for a Communistic party membership. He chose to stay in the army and after February 1948 he manifested his loyalty to the party and the government as an interrogating officer in 5. Department of The Defense Ministry. Among others he also interrogated a WWII veteran Tomáš Sedláček. Tomáš Sedláček claims he was physically abused during the interrogation. After 1989 he raised charges against Jaroslav Řičica. Investigation of the case was concluded prematurely though, because a presidential amnesty from the year 1960 could be applied on it.