So – are you running yet?
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.