Mikuláš Stehlík

* 1954  

  • “As boys we naturally went to see the arrival of Russian tanks but we definitely did not welcome them. I was fed up with the Soviets during my life in Ukraine. It was terrible for us and my mother cried. After August 21, people threw stones into our windows. The hatred towards the East was very strong in the society, despite the fact that we felt the same, perhaps even more strongly.”

  • “Because of one working Saturday [he is a member of the Adventist Church which observe Saturdays as a holiday] I got to the camp interrogator, who shouted at me and threatened me that I would not get out of the prison. I replied, ‘Very well, officer, if God permits, I may even die in prison but if he doesn’t there is nothing you can do about it. You have absolutely no influence on it.’ There was a cabinet in the room and he had a knife in it which he seized from the prisoners. He played with it for a while, then came up to me, put the knife against my chest and said, ‘If I stab you, no one will give a damn. I will say that it was in self-defence and will get promoted.’ I looked him in the eye and said, ‘You are perfectly right. If my God permits, I will die here.’”

  • “When we moved to the family house of my uncle in Aš, I felt like moving into a fairy-tale king’s palace. It was so unbelievable in Czechoslovakia that I really felt like in a fairy-tale. For example, I didn’t know bananas or any other tropical fruit. It was not like in the West but incomparable to my previous life in Ukraine.”

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    Praha, 01.02.2018

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I will serve as long as God grants me health

Mikuláš Stehlík, in the middle of 70s
Mikuláš Stehlík, in the middle of 70s
photo: archiv pamětníka

Mikuláš Stehlík was born in 1954 in Volhynia, Ukraine. He grew up in a poor family of farm labourers. His father belonged among the so-called Volhynia Czechs, his mother was Ukrainian. In 1966 the family emigrated to Czechoslovakia and settled in Aš. He went to the primary school in Czechoslovakia, then trained as a mechanization specialist and maintenance technician of farming machines. He entered the Church of the Seventh Day Adventists and was baptised. He worked in a farm as a repair technician of farming machines. In 1974 he was called for the military service in Kadaň. He refused to swear in because of his faith, for which he was then arrested and sentenced to eighteen months in prison. He served his sentence in Bělušice prison. In 1977 he was called for the military service again and got to Přerov, where he worked on the airport construction. He then joined the church, first as an administrator, then as a preacher in Beroun and Příbram. He also served in Luže and then as a chaplain in Rýnovice prison. He is currently retired but still serves as a preacher.