Radislav Wagner

* 1932  

  • “Back then, my mom had already three children. The little ones were Dušan, Miro, Svatka and Jožo, who was on his way. Well, somehow she ended up without money and my father hadn’t realized that. She didn’t have any means for living and it was only me earning money as the PTP worker. Every month I used to send her thousand crowns I earned. Then the year 1953 came and the monetary reform caused that the money at our bankbook were reduced in ratio 1:50. So even though having there thousands of crowns before, there wasn’t much left afterwards. When I completed the military service, it sufficed me to buy my wife a sewing machine. It was all I labored for over two years in mines as the PTP worker. They paid us always, but then the salaries became very low and the military levies remained. So at the end we earned much less than at the beginning. We weren’t such cavaliers anymore.”

  • “I was a witness of one interesting case. During the mining works, there was such regime that the new shift went down the pit and the finishing one went up. Gradually according the levels people moved. I went always at the end. As they were leaving the pit, I guess this could be somewhere in the middle, at about seventh or eighth level, some people were already going up. Suddenly, there was shouting and shooting. Even though I didn’t see them, I knew there were three men trying to escape from the afternoon shift. The night shift followed. So from the afternoon shift, the men tried to use turmoil along with even slight inattention of the guards and in the meantime others were lining up in chains, they managed to launch their escape. However, great shooting began and I know they were killed back then. I cannot surely claim this, but I heard that one of the men reached a house on the next day, where he tried to knock so that the people let him in and helped. Those people were afraid to help, in case he would have been an informer, so when the guard caught him, he shot him down, even though the escapee surrendered.”

  • “We were meeting the norm up to more than two hundred percent. You know, the drivers fought for us. They didn’t want the civilians, they wanted us, because they knew they made real loads with us. They were also rated according to how much coal they drove away calculating per kilometers. Based on that kind of our work, I earned nice money for those times. My salary was around twenty thousand crowns, what was a huge amount of money back then. So I used to get ten thousand on hand and ten thousand on my bankbook, what wasn’t of the same value, though. Due to this fact, many men didn’t like us there. Many used to go to the pub and there the nickname Black Barons originated. When we came to a restaurant, those waiters knew us, since we had black shoulder boards. They knew who we were, and all the soldiers had to wait until we were being served first. The military guys were mad at us. You know, Olomouc was the military headquarters back then, such military centre.”

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    Valaská, Slovensko, 14.02.2018

    (audio)
    duration: 01:55:11
    media recorded in project Stories of the 20th century
Full recordings are available only for logged users.

I was still unreliable, but if sufficed for labor

Radislav in the young years
Radislav in the young years
photo: archív pamätníka

Radislav Wagner has a profound life story depicting constant conflict with the communist totality. He was born on March 15, 1932 in Southern Moravia in family of a dentist. Yet as a young boy he had to witness terrible events, when during the passage of liberating Soviet troops, his mother in a late stage of pregnancy became a victim of sexual assault. His antipathy towards the communist regime showed in his emigration attempt when being only 17 years old. Ever since the half-year imprisonment for his deed, he has been stigmatized as the system’s enemy. After a small conflict with his superior at work, who was the Party’s member, Radislav was condemned to spend one year in Jáchymov mines. Shortly after serving this sentence, he had to say goodbye to his closest ones again, when he had to leave for 29 months of military service in Auxiliary Technical Battalions (PTP). Yet after the release he settled down and worked at various positions in engineering plant Piesok near Brezno. Despite the exhausting work and forbearing all potential conflicts, he was considered unreliable until the end of existence of the socialist system.