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Jan Sedláček (1931 - 2016) - Biography


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If I had known what kind of people the communists really were, I would have never stayed here and I would have built my life in the free world

 

Jan Sedláček was born March 16, 1931 in Růžďka in the Vsetín region in a farmer's family. His father was working the fields on the Moravian Wallachian hills, expanding his farm and raising his children in the principles of Protestant Christianity. During the Nazi occupation the family was hiding a man who had fled from forced labour in Germany and they were supplying partisans with food. In February 1945 Jan Sedláček witnessed a Gestapo raid against the partisans and villagers. None of those who were arrested, including several of their relatives, has ever returned home again. The Sedláček family faced pressure to join the Unified Agricultural Cooperative since the communist coup d'état in 1948. The cooperative's officials confiscated their fields and instead assigned to them inaccessible land far away from Růždka, which was impossible to work on. After nearly thirty years of resistance Jan Sedláček gave in and in 1976 he signed the application form to join the cooperative. At that time, he had been hiding religious literature brought to him by couriers from West Germany and the Netherlands in his granary for already five years. Evangelical pastors were coming for the books and handing them out in their parishes. From 1978 Jan Sedláček was disseminating the text of Charter 77 in the Vsetín region. A house search in September 1983 discovered this transfer point for foreign books. The State Security Police confiscated the books and Jan Sedláček was sent to a detention prison. After half a year of imprisonment he was sentenced to seven years of imprisonment with a one-year postponed sentence. In 1993 the Unified Agricultural Cooperative in Růžďka broke up and Jan Sedláček started working again as an independent farmer at the age of sixty-two. He has three children. Mr. Jan Sedláček passed away on June 2016.

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