Miloš Roman Slonek

* 1947  

  • “I don’t know how many there are there, 26 or 27 children in the photo, and it’s thirteen nationalities – black, yellow, white, everything... the way I see it, there are good people and not-so-good people...”

  • “At the last moment, my father – because he had a passport, so he got a visa, and I was officially informed that he would try to persuade me not to emigrate. So he came to Vienna, three days before my birthday, so on 13 September, and we travelled to Graz together to see Doctor Zahlbruckner and celebrate my birthday, and then on 19 September he took us in his MB to the airport in Schechat at half past four in the morning – that was the last time I saw him. He even brought my dinner jacket and suit and all kinds of things like that. So that 19 September, with one suitcase and one backpack, I boarded the plane to Canada.”

  • “I managed to get a connection from the radio station that very afternoon, and I phoned Grandma at Černopolní 44, and she just said: ‘Well, I’m home alone here, your parents aren’t here, your sister already married,’ she didn’t live there any more, well, and Grandma was alone there, and she told me: ‘It’s like in the war here, I have two Russian tanks here past the Tugendhat, going towards Brno. Other than that, the water works, it’s not cold, I’ve got enough food, so we’ll see what happens.’”

  • “That was kind of interesting, my father was an Evangelical, Chief Doctor Zbytovský as well, and Chief Doctor Handl was a big Catholic, so those were the kind of people in Boskovice Hospital. I remember, when I went there with my dad and I saw Doctor Zbytovský there the first time, they met each other at the X-rays. ‘Well, brother...’ and I shouldn’t say the next bit because Doctor Zbytovský especially was such a polite man, but they would say: ‘Well, brother, when will the sh** hit the fan?’ That’s how they greeted each other.”

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    Brno, 27.02.2020

    (audio)
    duration: 02:34:26
    media recorded in project Příběhy regionu - JMK REG ED
Full recordings are available only for logged users.

So – are you running yet?

Miloš Slonek, 1972, State Security file
Miloš Slonek, 1972, State Security file
photo: Security Forces Archives

Miloš Roman Slonek was born in Brno on 16 September 1947 into a family with a tradition in making skis, branded Lyže Slonek. He spent his childhood with his parents and sister in Brno, then in Moravská Třebová, and finally in Boskovice, where his father gained the post of chief doctor at the new hospital’s gynaecology ward. Relatives from both sides of the family and the witness’s father Miloš Slonek senior were active in the resistance during World War II. When studying at the Secondary School of Electrotechnology in Brno, the witness made the acquaintance of numerous classmates and friends who did not appreciate the ruling Socialist regime. They organised English weekends, went tramping, and occasionally had to explain their actions to State Security. In 1968 Miloš Slonek set out with a group of friends to visit relatives in Austria. Instead of returning on 21 August, they stayed in Vienna, from which they flew to Vancouver, Canada, on 19 September. That was also the last day Miloš Slonek saw his father, who died in 1976. In emigration, he first worked as an unskilled labourer at a sawmill and at construction sites, and he was later employed as a foreman on the Alaska railroad construction project. He gradually built up his own ski school and a shop with skiing equipment. In 1974 the whole premises burnt to the ground, and so he returned to Vancouver, where he managed a ski shop. He repeatedly tried to gain permission for his family to come visit him from Czechoslovakia, but it never worked out. In 1976 he married an English woman, and they later had two sons, Daniel and Michael. His wife visited Czechoslovakia several times in the 1980s, secretly smuggling in printer toner cartridges and computer components. In 1986 the couple volunteered for Expo 86, where they also acted as interpreters during the visit of Lubomír Štrougal. In March 1990, for the first time in 22 years, he could finally meet his family and visit friends in Czechoslovakia. After divorcing in 2001 he returned permanently to the Czech Republic. As of 2021, Miloš Slonek lives in Boskovice, where he participates in social life.