Bernard Bokor

* 1924  †︎ 2013

  • “When we were leaving, a quarrel ensued when the superior, professor Valábek, voiced his disagreement with this unlawful proceeding: we haven’t done anything to anybody, we lived in accordance with valid laws, and now they read some decree to us by which they ordered us to leave the monastery. There were some disputes and arguments with our leaders, and we raised our voice as well: ´Why, what have we done?´ - ´It is an order, nothing can be done about it.´ We had to leave within one hour. These policemen were armed, and we didn’t have any weapons and we were not able to resist, and thus we took our clothing and left. They promised us that they would bring our remaining things there. But we have never received anything. We boarded the buses, their windows were covered with paper, and we couldn’t see where they were taking us. It was one o’clock or half past one at night, and we were leaving and we didn’t know where we were going. Before we left, professor Valábek was so angry that he began singing the hymn ´Christus vincit´ at that moment, and all of us joined in. They tried to interrupt us, but they were not able to, because there were eight policemen for the fifty or sixty of us and that was not enough to stop us.”

  • “We also had political training, in form of lectures, which were obviously aimed against Catholicism and Christianity, and above all against free thinking. It was communist propaganda. We had discussions with the political officer, and some nasty things occurred during these debates. He was often completely clueless, and he would put down the names of the people who joined in discussion, and these people would be then transferred from our group and placed to the professors and priests who were interned in other monasteries.”

  • “People in the village knew who we were, why we were there and what was happening to us. Nearly every Saturday they would go protesting - even one hundred people from the village would come. They were told: ´You must not protest here, or we will imprison you, too!´ But they didn’t care and they walked in a procession with a picture of Virgin Mary… in Slovakia at that time they also had those… portraits of saints, which were placed by the church pews.” – “You mean icons?” – “Something like icons, which are used mainly by the Orthodox church, but at that time Catholics also had something like that, but they don’t use them today. The people would gather and march all the way to the monastery; in the front there was a singer who was singing some Marian songs. But the StB policemen were strongly opposed to this, they threatened them with imprisonment, and what usually happened was that the people walked there, sang the songs, and then went home.”

  • “We, the hard-working workers, worked on the construction of the barracks for the artillery regiment, which was supposed to protect Prague from air raids of avengers from the West. They divided us in three-person teams, as was the custom in Russia. One person was putting mortar to the base, the second one was passing the bricks, and the third one was placing the bricks on top and adjusting them. We built two buildings. What happened when they were finished was that they discovered that it was all nonsense, because the barracks were built some ten or fifteen kilometres from the city centre, and shell splinters would fall onto the centre, onto the Old Town, and destroy it. The idea was thus dropped.”

  • “The Germans took over our student residence building and turned it into a hospital. When the Russians were liberating Trnava on 1st April 1945, we were watching them from the windows of this high building, wearing German helmets. It was stupid to do so, but the soldiers took no notice of us anyway, they were drunk. A tank would approach, then stop after fifty metres and start shooting, and the five soldiers who were behind it would throw grenades into all of the buildings, especially where shooting could be heard, when there was some resistance and somebody shooting at them. The shooters were some German soldiers, but they were young boys.”

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    Praha - Smíchov, 09.04.2011

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PTP was a prison which was legitimate according to the law, but which was actually not lawful

Bernard Bokor in a PTP (Auxiliary Technical Battalions) uniform
Bernard Bokor in a PTP (Auxiliary Technical Battalions) uniform
zdroj: Sbírka pana Bokora

Bernard Bokor was born November 28, 1924 in Pečeňady in the Pieštany district in Slovakia. Soon after his birth, his parents went to work in Argentina, and Bernard grew up with his grandmother. He studied the Salesian Bishop Grammar School in Trnava, a teaching institute, and then did a two-year teaching internship in Nitra. After that he decided to continue studying philosophy, and later theology taught by the Salesians in Svätý Križ nad Hronom (present-day Žiar nad Hronom). His study of theology became interrupted by the so-called Action K, when male monastic orders were dissolved on the night between 13th and 14th April 1950. Bernard Bokor was interned in the monastery in Podolinec in northern Slovakia. In September 1950 he joined the Auxiliary Technical Battalions - PTP (52nd Auxiliary Technical Battalion); he was placed in Svatá Dobrotivá in the Beroun region, and he worked on the construction of army barracks in Strašecí. After this he worked in the Poldi ironworks in Kladno, then on the construction of a building for the artillery regiment in Prague-Jinonice, and he also took part in the building of the mausoleum for the mummified corpse of president Gottwald. He became a civilian at the end of 1953 after 40 months of service. He worked in Konstruktiva, and later in the Research Institute for Iron Metallurgy. He made two attempts to get admitted to a university, but he was never admitted due to his family background. He died on April 18th, 2013.