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Ján Tocký (1930) - Biography

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After a month of reeducation they told us: You shall go home not as religious anymore, but as civilian citizens – comrades

Ján Tocký was born on December 30, 1930 in Žilina as the youngest of seven children. He attended public school as well as high school in Žilina. In 1948 he decided to enter religious order of the Salesians of Don Bosco. Within a liquidating intervention of the communist state power against the male religious orders in April 1950, Ján Tocký was interned in Podolínec monastery. Since being young, after several weeks he was relocated from Podolínec to reeducation monastery in Kostolná near Trenčín. Approximately after a month of reeducation in Kostolná, along with other young religious men, Ján was moved to building the so-called Youth Dam (Priehrada mládeže) near Nosice (in Púchov district). After the release and a short stay at home he was drafted to the compulsory military service, which he carried out in units of Auxiliary Technical Battalions (PTP) in Plzeň. About four months later, in December 1950 he was released from PTP and returned home, where he continued in his studies at Žilina's high school. In 1951 based on a compromising material, the State Security managed to recruit Ján Tocký for cooperation with the State Security authorities. (The compromising material was a reality that Ján Tocký was hiding his friend Anton Semeš for several days. This man deserted from the compulsory military service and tried to runaway to Austria. Tocký got to know Semeš when working on the Youth Dam.) However, not even after a year the ŠtB members threatened him with an arrest because of his unwillingness to collaborate. This reality together with the desire for further study of theology led him to a decision of running away from Czechoslovakia. Right at that time there was a Salesian Ernest Macák who offered Ján the opportunity to get behind the borders. The runaway took place at the end of April 1952 and the escaping group was comprised of 32 people. In spite of various complications during the border crossing, all members of the group managed to runaway to Austria. They crossed the state border near village Moravský Svätý Ján. After several weeks spent in Vienna, Linz and in a refugee camp Wels in Austria, along with other young co-brothers he reached a Salesian centre Valdocco in Turin. This was a gathering place of almost all Salesians running away from Czechoslovakia. After his study and a two-year long activity in Turin, Ján Tocký made his religious vows in the Salesian religious order in 1955. Subsequently he left to Great Britain, where he continued in his studies in a centre called Melchet Court.  In 1958 his religious superiors sent him to a Salesian center in Ramegnies-Chin near Tournai in Belgium. There Ján served until the year 1981, when he began to work as an economist in the Slovak Institute of Saints Cyril and Methodius in Rome. In 1992 he returned to Slovakia and became active in Žilina's Salesian centre, where he lives up to the present.

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