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Milan Nerad (1921) - Biography

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Our family was openly defiant of Communism

Milan Nerad was born on 18 July 1921 in Ledeč nad Sázavou. His father owned a shoemaker's firm, his mother died when Milan was four years old. The family did not hide its anti-Communist views. Before completing primary school, Milan and his father moved to Prague-Horní Počernice. He studied at the secondary technical school in Czecho-Moravian Kolben-Daněk (CKD), where he then worked as a technical clerk. In 1946 he established his own company for repairing boilers, but his dream of life and enterprise in a democratic country were smashed abruptly by the Communist coup in February 1948. Already in May 1948 he was arrested for the distribution of anti-Communist pamphlets in Horní Počernice. He was interrogated in Bartolomějská Street and then held shortly in custody at Charles Square. Milan was stood on trial, but was released due to an amnesty of President Klement Gottwald. This experience did not stop him from founding the illegal anti-Communist organisation Moje vlast (My Country); but in the end he decided to escape to West Germany. In November 1950 he left Cheb and came to Waldsassen; after a brief stay in the Valka-Lager near Nuremberg his contacts helped him get in touch with the anti-Communist Czechoslovak Intelligence Office (CIO) of Colonel František Moravec, which he joined in March 1951 as a so-called agent-ranger. In April 1951 he and two colleagues crossed the border near Domažlice and travelled to Prague, where he contacted his cousin. His mission was to restart the activities of the My Country organisation that had dissolved after his departure. He completed this task, but on 11 May 1951 he was arrested near the National Theatre in Prague. He underwent harsh interrogations and was stood on trial once again; although the prosecution originally proposed the death penalty, the result was a milder sentence of twenty years in prison. During the years 1951-64 Milan was imprisoned in Pankrác, Pilsen-Bory, Leopoldov, Bytíz, and Opava. When in Bytíz, he planned an escape attempt, but finally decided against it. He was released in 1964 from Leopoldov, and took up employment as a boiler man, maintenance man, and later supervisor at a heating plant in Prague-Spořilov. He received a flat from the heating plant and got married. He worked until his retirement. In 1968 he was active in the club of former political prisoners K-231, and in the current times he is the vice-chairman of the Confederation of Political Prisoners in Prague. He lives in Prague.

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