Ing. Milan Uhlíř

* 1958  

  • “We were attending churches everywhere in the vicinity, and then our daughter Markéta was born and she was going with us. With a child and a baby pram we were quite conspicuous, because there were not many people like us there. All the people saw us everywhere. Principal Škoda was reprimanded because one of his teachers was going to church, and I don’t know if he was even penalized for that or not. He called me to his office and he asked me whether I could stop going to church. I told him that I could not, and that I had warned him before and that he had told me at that time that it was not a problem for him. He replied that it was not a problem for him, but that he had thought that once we had the baby, we would no longer have time for that and that he was now in big trouble because of that. I told him that I was sorry, but that I was not able to change anything about it.”

  • “I was not present there, but the fact is that principal Škoda did not like them, and some other teachers did not like them, either. For example, during meetings he spoke of them as black mouths. He commonly used words like this. The students did not want to complain about him, but they knew that he did not like them. I was not present when it happened that day, and for twenty years I did not think about it and I forgot about it, and I remembered it only as we talked about it together. Škoda’s version of the incident was that he came to the residence hall and they had a mess there. He told them to clean it up, but they were drunk or misbehaved and he said that they threw a blanket over him and they gave him a beating and that he managed to run away and call the police. The Vietnamese students came with a different story. I don’t know if their version was more trustworthy, but allegedly the principal came in there, he got angry and he yelled and he started choking one of the younger students. The others came to his defence and they were pushing against principal Škoda and he got awfully angry and he threatened to call the police. Then he left and he really called the police. At that time, I was doing an extra course for teachers in Brno and therefore I was not there during that weekend. The same day, or the day after, a bus full of policemen with dogs arrived there and they surrounded the whole vocational school. People who lived there later told me about it. Then they selected about five boys or more, whom Škoda pointed out as attackers, and they handcuffed them and took them away in the bus.”

  • “Those who remained there then came to me and to other teachers and they said that it was terrible, that those boys would be sent to a prison or to a labour camp in Vietnam and that they would probably die there and that everything was now over for them. They asked us whether we would not be able to help them somehow. There were more of us teachers who were willing to help and we knew that principal Škoda had provoked them and that he had been biased against them. About twenty of us gathered there and we agreed that we would write a letter to the Vietnam embassy in Prague and that we would state our view of the situation so that there would not be only the explanation given by principal Škoda. It was a spontaneous, adventurous act. At night we went to the Vietnam embassy in Prague and we met in some apartment. He confirmed everything for us. We asked whether we could help in any way and if it made any sense to write something. He said that it would certainly help. We thus wrote a letter. We did not write that they were innocent, but we wrote that the principal had provoked them and that it was not only them who were to blame. Then we sent the letter to the embassy.”

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    Bílá Voda, Vlčice, 24.08.2017

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    duration: 02:07:42
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
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I hope and I believe that we have helped them a little bit

Milan Uhlíř
Milan Uhlíř
photo: archiv pamětníka

Milan Uhlíř was born September 18, 1958 in Brno. After graduation from the College of Agriculture in Brno in 1983 he moved to the Javorník region. He worked there as a machinery technician at the State Farm Žulová and from September 1985 he worked as a specialized teacher at the secondary vocational school of agriculture in Horní Heřmanice. In the same year he married Lýdie Biernatová. He had ties to the Christian community and he thus quickly got acquainted with many interesting people in this region. Some of them were members of the Catholic dissent and Milan was receiving samizdat documents from them and later distributing them to his friends. Milan was also engaged in buying the material necessary for the printing of samizdat. In 1987 when he was a class teacher in Horní Heřmanice, Milan and several of his colleagues defended Vietnamese students who attacked the school principal due to racially motivated bullying. They were threatened with deportation to Vietnam and allegedly they also faced a risk of being sent to an internment camp where they might succumb to the harsh conditions. Although they were not able to avoid deportation, thanks to the teachers’ intervention these students eventually did not get imprisoned. Milan Uhlíř was fired from his job shortly after, and he was nearly evicted from his apartment. Owing to the principal’s contacts, nobody wanted to employ him and he and his wife were even considering moving to another district. Eventually he found a job in the Unified Agricultural Cooperative in Bernartice. After the collapse of the communist regime Milan worked in the charity house in Bílá Voda, where the communist regime had interned nuns from various orders and congregations. Later he became the director of the charity house and he was forced to deal with supporters of the old regime, because collaborators with the StB who had been sent there by the communist regime still continued working there. Since 2000, Milan has been working as the executive manager of the company Unita which produces altar bread and spa wafers in the premises of the convent in Bílá Voda. In 2017 he and his family were living in Vlčice.