Bohuslav Úlehla

* 1927  

  • "How I came to taking people across the border that is, to say it in Czech 'jak slepý k huslám', it just fell into my lap. Well, my mother, when she was young, knew a priest who then left, he was blind, and he lived in a monastery in Rajhrad near Brno. When the Communists banned/closed the seminaries, the novices came to him to the monastery in Rajhrad and asked him if they could get across the border, if he could help them. Well, he said to them: 'Go to Hrušky and Marie Úlehlová will help you.' I was really lucky at that time as I was just in the process of selling my motocycle. These people - priests and novices approached me and the Communists had no suspicion of me doing something against the state."

  • "There were Communists who were not real Communists. One of them, a Doležal , he was somewhat a family [member], married my aunt who was a widow, he came to me to tell me: 'Bohuši, I was called Bohuš, secret policemen came here from Brno, looking at your files at the town council. Are you involved in anything? Be careful.' When I travelled to Břeclav, I could see that somebody was following me all the time. So I spoke to Cyril. I said: “ Cyril, we have to sneak away, otherwise it´s too bad, we´ll end up in jail.“ They thought we were a large group and I am the organizer. They didn´t lock us up right then, they waited hoping they would arrest more people. But as the luck would have it, that Cyril and me would cross the border to Austria. Valtice was the name of the village, now I´ve remembered, and behind Valtice, it was, I think, in September. There was a village feast. It wasn´t like, well, people were dancing and Cyril had some friends there, a policeman and soldier. They were patrolling the border and a girl said: 'They´ll come to have dinner at about 8.' They came and she said: 'Now they came.' I remember it was just like daytime. The moon was shining and the border was about 100 meters from the road. Cyril and I walked it and he knew somebody among the Austrians. I think it was in Müslebach, he knocked at the door and an old man, already retired, gave us dinner and we could sleep there. Luckily, I had some 75 000 crowns with me, which was for a thousand crowns only 40 schillings that we got. It was little but better /than nothing/. So he brought us to Vienna at night."

  • "Yes, we had a kind of small farm and she had to do everything... seven children and when my father died, they were of the same age, she was 38. There was a farmer, he was not a Catholic, he was a Catholic but didn´t believe, do you know what he said to me? He said: 'Your mother will get straight to heaven.' He respected her so much. Also, when she died, my father too, she had the biggest funeral that happened in the village. My father as well. My father was for everyone. He was not, he was a farmer, but he was much loved by workers too. He also had a very good attitude to them. It was hard time, very hard time. I as a boy, I never saw her going to bed, and never saw her getting up in the morning. In my lifetime. She always had to wash and iron. For example, I´ll give you an example: Sometimes we were ten at the dinner table. My grandfather and his daughter. No, they didn´t live with us. They lived in another house but they ate with us. So, she put a goose into the oven and ran to the church to Moravská Nová Ves. Three kilometers."

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    skypem z kanceláře PB do Melbourne, Austrálie, 23.03.2017

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In joy and pain look up to heaven

Bohuš in Austria 1952
Bohuš in Austria 1952
photo: archiv pamětníka

Bohuslav Úlehla was born on 19th March 1927 in the south Moravian village of Hrušky. He is the youngest of seven children, the parents were farmers. Bohuslav does not remember his father, he died when he was two. His mother brought up all the children by herself. She kept the traditions, she brought her children up in the Catholic faith. After the February 1948 coup, the family was regarded as untrustworthy by the regime. His brother Miroslav emigrated to Australia in September 1948. Bohuslav started to help bringing people across the border to Austria, first priests then novices, later neighbours and acquaintances. In September 1951, he also emigrated. From the Russian zone. he crossed the Danube by boat to the American and later to the French zone. From there, he and his wife Marie emigrated to Australia. In 1986, when his mother died, the Czechoslovak authorities did not grant him the permission to come home to attend her funeral. It was only in 1990 when he could come home to see his family. In Australia, thanks to his hard work and honesty, he managed to build himself a new life. He has three children (one son sadly died) and thanks to his genetic disposition to longevity he is still vibrant and active.