Josef Čermák

* 1952

  • "My confirmation godfather and I spent ten days in the early August or the first half of August by the sea in Rostock. And then when we were returning, it was strange to me that as we approached our borders, the railway wagons were loaded with military equipment. It was actually the technique that... The exercise was great here and then the training soldiers, the training units, still didn't leave. It was still so embarrassing, when they would leave our territory again. And then they left, but some only went beyond those borders, that is, on the twenty-first of August they came. I was sixteen years old."

  • "And I have such an impression, when I talked about that inner freedom and how one perceives God's hand over him... So right when I started military training, the very first day, I took the New Testament with me, the Holy Writ. This is important to me, the word of God, to keep in touch with it on a daily basis. And so I stood there, they cut our hair, we had to wear the clothes we came in, so it was sent home. So we stood there in shorts, and I held the Holy Scriptures in my hand. And when it was my turn, they asked me - first they asked my name, it was all written down again, and then they said, 'There are your things over there,' and they said, 'What do you have in your hand?' I say, 'I have the New Testament, I need it.' And they said, 'No, no, what you need, the army will provide you with just everything, starting from handkerchiefs.' When I have to defend my homeland, I have to be taken care of as a soldier, so everything needed, right… So I said, 'I really need this.' They said, 'No, no, send it home.' So we talked about it for a while, it was the kind of verbal ping pong we played there, and now we were delaying the others, so they had to work it out. And so they said: 'Just keep it and move on.' So I went on wearing those shorts with the Holy Scriptures."

  • "On the first of September we started the second year of high school in Jihlava, which is today a grammar school, and our class professor welcomed us and said, 'Look, what you've been through, you'll carry it all your life within you.' And she told us: 'And the next day we go to the potato brigade, we will collect potatoes over Jihlava in the fields where the military equipment was buried.' So we were picking potatoes there, and it was very interesting."

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    Kadaň, 26.04.2021

    délka: 32:18
    nahrávka pořízena v rámci projektu The Stories of Our Neigbours
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Ten commandments allow me to live freely internally, even if external freedom is lacking

Josef Čermák in the youth
Josef Čermák in the youth
zdroj: witness archive

only with his mother. He comes from a strongly believing family and this has fundamentally affected his life. He graduated from primary and secondary general education in Jihlava. In August 1968 he went to sea to Rostock in the then German Democratic Republic. When he returned home, he was surprised by the amount of military equipment on our railways beyond our borders. He remembers the occupation, which he learned about from the radio, as well as a school trip to Prague in September, where a teacher took them on a tour of the National Museum‘s marked battle. After high school, he began studying at the Cyril and Methodius Theological Faculty of Charles University in Litoměřice. After the third year, he had to start a two-year military service, first in Janovice nad Úhlavou, then in Hrdel near Terezín. In 1977 he was ordained a priest in Brno and served in various places of the Brno diocese. On February 1, 1982, he became a pastor in Prosiměřice in the Znojmo region, where he worked until 1990. He welcomed the Velvet Revolution with joy, and the external freedom joined the internal freedom. Until 1997, he worked in various places in Moravia and Slovakia, he also experienced the division of Czechoslovakia on the border in 1992. In 1997 he came under the diocese of Litoměřice, worked briefly in Frýdlant and then until now in Kadan.