If you shake the Devil’s hand, you can hardly complain when it burns
Jan Trnka was born in November 1940 in Pardubice into the family of a junior postal clerk. In 1945 he and his parents and sister moved to Ústí nad Labem, into a housed belonging to deported Germans. After attending eight years of primary school, he was employed at Metra, an electrotechnical plant, in 1954 while also attending an apprenticeship course. He began military service in 1959 in Děčín, completed an NCO course and became a radio operator. After his discharge in 1961, he applied to serve in the police force because he wanted to try something adventurous; he was accepted as an investigator at State Security. He investigated people fleeing abroad and various informants’ reports. In August 1968 he disagreed with the invasion of Soviet forces. The Communist purges in 1970 forced him to leave State Security, and he was employed in Public Security (the normal police force) for four years. He was dismissed in 1974 and found a job at a gas works, where he was employed until his retirement. He raised a son and a daughter with his wife, whom he met during military service.