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Josef Koláček (1929) - Biography

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Only those who are determined to become fools for Christ's sake can succeed

Josef Koláček was born in 1929 in Brno, Bystrc. He was raised in a Catholic family. After graduating from high school in 1948 he volunteered for the Jesuit novitiate at Velehrad. He was determined to live up to his profession despite the extremely tense situation with respect to the persecution of the Church. His tutor was the legendary Father Zgarbík, who had been imprisoned by the Nazis and afterwards tortured to death in Communist prisons. After the elimination of the Jesuits in the spring of 1950, Josef found himself interned in Bohosudov, from where he was called up after a few months for military service and assigned to the infamous Auxiliary technical battalions (PTP) in now-Slovakia. The so-called "pétépáci" (members of these battalions) were deployed under primitive working conditions as construction workers. In 1954, he was released from the PTP and continued to make a living as a construction worker. He continued to abide by the rules of Jesuit life, resolved to exercise his profession even under the extremely adverse conditions existing at the time. Common life of the Jesuit Order was non-existent at the time. In 1968 he was able to travel and stay in Austria, where he also completed his philosophical and theological studies. Before leaving for Austria, he was ordained a priest, with a twenty-year delay. Since 1970 he has lived in Rome, where he was shortly after his arrival nominated the head of the Czech section of Vatican Radio. He is now the editor of the broadcast.

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