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Georg Kebrle (1938) - Biography

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Never act against your own conviction

Georg Kebrle was born as Jiří Kebrle on November 19, 1938 in Pilsen. His father František Kebrle worked as a teacher at schools for the Czech minority in the Domažlice region, and later he and his wife lived in Nýřany. The town became part of Germany after the Munich Agreement and Jiří's father, who was an official of the Social Democratic Party, was ordered by the authorities to leave the Reich's territory. With his pregnant wife they moved to their parents' house in the village Líně near Pilsen and later they lived in Pilsen. Jiří's father began working as a district education inspector in Stříbro in 1946. His family, into which a younger son and a daughter were meanwhile born, followed him there. Firmly believing in principles of Social Democracy, Jiří's father did not agree with the union of the Social Democratic Party and the Communist Party in June 1948 and he continued maintaining contacts with his friends, fellow members of the Social Democratic Party. In 1949, the State Security Police (StB) arrested him for this and the State Court in Prague sentenced him to twelve years of jail with increased supervision based on Act No. 231/1948. He was interned in labor camps in the Jáchymov region and in the prison in Leopoldov. Jiří's father was released only in 1959. The persecution of the family continued, and in 1951, the Kebrle family were evicted from Stříbro on grounds of being politically untrustworthy persons. The mother was not allowed to live with the children in their own house in Nýřany, and they stayed in a devastated house in Heřmanova Huť instead. As a son of a political prisoner, Jiří was not allowed to study. He apprenticed as an electric machine fitter in the Škoda factory in Pilsen, and then he was employed as a worker in various factories and also as a miner in the Ostrava region. Based on his personal profile, he was not allowed to serve in a paratrooper unit while doing his military service, and although he was already an experienced paratrooper, he instead had to serve as a telephone operator-communications operator in Chotusice near Čáslav. Based on his own experience as well as on what he had heard from his father about the conditions in the labour camps, Jiří became a convinced anti-communist. In 1963 he faced criminal prosecution for sedition, when co-workers from the Škoda factory informed upon him that he spoke critically of the political regime. The prosecution was eventually stopped by the procurator. During the political thaw in the period of the Prague Spring, Jiří was actively involved in the Czechoslovak Socialist Party. After the occupation of Czechoslovakia by the Warsaw Pact armies in August 1968 he emigrated to Germany. However since he was unable to arrange for his wife and little son to follow him there, he used the opportunity for amnesty in 1973 and he returned to Czechoslovakia to his family. He again worked as a worker and miner in various companies and he faced trouble in his workplace for his political views again. He was under surveillance and interrogated by the State Security Police. In 1979 Jiří and his wife therefore decided to apply for permission to emigrate. They were granted exit visas and in September 1980 they left for Austria where they received political asylum and subsequently Austrian citizenship in 1987. Jiří became a member of the Czechoslovak Social Democratic Party in exile, and in 1983 he was even elected into the central committee of this exile Party. After the Velvet Revolution he contributed to the restoration of the Social Democratic Party in Czechoslovakia, but soon after he discovered that their views differed. He subsequently co-founded the Association of Social Democrats together with Rudolf Battěk, but the Party did not manage to take root at the Czech political scene. At present he lives in Wels in Austria.

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