“Methods. When someone was bad and didn’t want to, but we knew he was really bad, then we tried to somehow force him to tell us what we needed. That means that everyone has his mistakes, that means, if he’s married, we might uncover some affair, take some pictures of it, then show him the photos or film. ‘Look, we need to know this and this. You won’t tell us? Then your wife will have this on her desk tomorrow. How do you think she’d like that?’ So that’s one way. Another option was through their employment. Someone has the potential for promotion, so you can cut that short. I know that perhaps it’s discrimination or something like that, but it’s something for something. There’s no other way. ‘You want to go on a trip abroad? You’ve got a daughter? Then we’d just like to know about this one matter, you see? It’s no big deal for you, just tell me and you can go visit your daughter in Canada. You won’t talk? Hm, then you’ll have to wait. You’ll have to wait until you tell us.”
“[Q: But there were people who were locked up for their convictions, their opinions; initiatives that were free, independent, or didn’t want the Communist party were persecuted. How did you approach such efforts, which we could describe as free expressions?] Well that’s exactly like when I directed the agency. If you’ve got a different opinion, go earn a living with it, use it, talk about it with your friends, but for goodness’ sake don’t drag it out into the public. There’s no need for you to influence normal citizens of the country in this way. You can keep your blabber to yourself, go ahead and spend your time on that, record it by microphone and then play it back to yourself to show yourself how good you are, that you’ve got a different opinion, that you’re fighting against something and you don’t even know what it’s about - go ahead and do that. But don’t spread it among the people. And if you do spread it, then perhaps you’ll go to the cooler for a while, if it’s really harsh and there’s the political will for it.”
“I liked doing what I did. I didn’t have any reason why I should quit such an interesting job, because I enjoyed it and it also satisfied me in regards to the mental aspect and the such. Communicating with people and persuading people to tell me what I need to know, at times discarding some disinformation and then waiting what would turn up on my desk next, how it’s all connected. It’s a nice, a nice job. Admittedly, it’s got pretty long hours, and sometimes it’s physically strenuous, but they chose people with that in mind and sent them on regular physical check-ups to see if I could run a distance, climb up somewhere, and so on.”
“The way I saw the regime was that I had decent money, I had enough to provide for my family, I had a place to live, and I pretty much wasn’t limited by anything, I could do - not whatever - but what I wanted to, I had a certain degree of freedom. I saw it and assessed it like this: this is how it is, this is probably how it has to be, I’m no rebel, no one in the family was a rebel.”
“Three months before the end of military service some profilers came, HR you’d say nowadays, from the Interior, asking if I wouldn’t want to do the same job I’d done in the army, as a radio operator, if I wouldn’t want to do that for the Ministry of Interior. I talked it through with my mum at home, and she said, why not.”
“Always nice and polite, but tough, verbally. In all my twenty years doing that work I never felt the need to hit anyone, as they say. What’s a conflict? Verbal at most. When he said: ‘I won’t tell you that, that’s none of your business.’ I retorted: ‘Oh yeah?! You won’t?! But watch out because then I’ll have to do so and so.’ Those were educated people in certain positions. They didn’t even dare, because they’d lose their job, right. They realised that - some things they could say, some things they couldn’t, because it was a secret of the confessional or I don’t know what. It was a normal, standard administrative job, visiting people, talking with people, when you came back from a meeting, you’d write a report that you’d met so and so. There were matters of ideology, tangible benefits, or then compromising material. When a person frequented some places we needed and he wasn’t quite clean so to say, maybe he was cheating his wife, visiting the men’s room on purpose, then we’d put the surveillance team on him. If we had a big interest [in him], we’d say: ‘We won’t bother you much, but we need to find out this and this from that place. If you tell us, fine, if you don’t, well... right. (laughing) Then we’ll pass it on somewhere, pretty much.”
Česká republika, Praha, Vinárna V sudu Dejvice, 07.03.2011
Jaromír Ulč was born on 20 May 1950 in Pilsen into the family of a professional soldier. He died in 2016. Both his parents were members of the Communist Party. His mother served as a parliamentary deputy for the district national committee in Prague 6 for eight years. At primary school he joined the Pioneers [the Communist equivalent of Scouting - transl.] and became a member of the Czechoslovak Youth Union, later renamed the Socialist Youth Union. He graduated from a secondary agricultural-technical school but did not finish studies at the Faculty of Economics and Management of the University of Life Sciences in Prague. In 1971 he began compulsory military service in the radio section; at first he ran the military shop Arma. About this he says: “I sold Kofola [a Czech drink similar to Coca Cola - transl.] and biscuits. I learnt how to understand people, different types, which later helped me in my employment.” He served as a radio operator during various military training operations of the Warsaw Pact armies. Three months before the end of his military service he was offered a job at the Ministry of Interior. It was a technical post at Section 10 of the National Security Corps (NSC). In weekly cycles he visited radio stations on the western border of Czechoslovakia - Čerchov, Zelená hora, etc. - where he monitored the transmissions of German and Austrian border guards. He was forced to lie about his journeys to his wife. The only person who knew what he was doing was his mother, whom he confided in about his State Security (StS) service. (Jaromír Ulč refuses to describe this StS service, he claims this was just an ordinary job at the Ministry of Interior for the plain-clothes NSC). After five years as a technician at the ministry, his superior sent him to study at the NSC University; he was then transferred from Section 10 to counter-intelligence, internal security at the so-called Department of Church Protection. Jaromír Ulč became an StS agent, infiltrating the churches in Czechoslovakia, he was tasked with the non-Catholic churches. He coordinated agents and confidants in the Evangelical church, Hare Krishna, and other religious societies and sects. He claims that there was no church operating in the Communist state whose spiritual leader did not actively cooperate with him. After 1989 he began doing business in the travel industry and later bought up several wine bars in Prague.