Jan Dittrich

* 1943

  • "As soon as my father was taken away, the house search began, which lasted until the morning. My mum had to sit through it, they searched all the things. They took away piles of papers. Reportedly, in the children's room, I had this children´s phone, so they dismantled the whole thing. They finished in the morning and told my mum she was not allowed to tell anyone. So she told them she didn´t have to because they hadn't closed the roller blinds and people in the street must have been watching what was going on. So they drove my dad away. In a bus with the others. They tied them up and they had to be blindfolded so they couldn't see who was there. And they took those, I don't know, about fourteen people to the prison in Ústí nad Labem."

  • "My sister, who was born in 1953, so she was six years old, has traumatic memories of this. She was at home and she recalls, for example, that two men in leather coats came to see him [our father] and led him to the basement and then they were persuading him there... And that's actually how it went on, so I would say he was actually surveilled for the rest of his life. My parents also had a lot of contact with various evangelicals from the GDR. Well, and at that time a lot of those families were split, that some [relatives] were in East Germany, some were in West Germany. And a lot of times in Horní Krupá, because those West Germans could come here because of the currency, from the GDR it was not a problem [either], so those families would meet for example in our parish house. And then there's a curiosity that one member of the congregation was given the task of writing a report on the father, yeah. What was going on in the parish house and so on. Well, I don't know why that person had signed it, how they had made him sign it, but anyway, he came to my father and told him that he was in charge of that, and then they used to write the reports together."

  • "Dad found out that Václavík is not actually imprisoned, in an almost funny way, I would say. Mum was allowed to send a letter once every three Sundays, where she could write anything. My brother, who was born on May 30, 1950, was four months old at the time. When she wrote to him [the witness' father] that he weighed three and a half kilos, the number was blacked out because they thought it was some kind of code. But it remained there that she had met a person who had had a broken clock repaired for us. And that's how Dad found out that Václavík was free, because that Václavík worked at Chronotechna and promised us to have the clock repaired."

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    Brno, 19.01.2023

    délka: 02:12:13
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I wouldn‘t want anything like this to ever come back

Jan Dittrich with his younger brother Dan, 14 April 1951
Jan Dittrich with his younger brother Dan, 14 April 1951
zdroj: Witness´s archive

Jan Dittrich was born on 16 December 1943 in Vlachovice nad Vlárou into the family of Bohumil Jan Dittrich, an evangelical priest. He grew up together with three other siblings. One of his sisters is Rút Kolínská, the founder of the mother´s centres [mother and baby groups] movement after the Velvet Revolution and the first president of the Network of Mother‘s Centres in the Czech Republic. In 1947 witness´ father went to Texas, USA, for an internship, where he was offered a permanent job. However, the family did not manage to join him, because the coup of February 1948 came. His father returned home and began working as a parish priest in Chomutov. However, a State Security agent infiltrated the local congregation. On the basis of the trap the agent had prepared, Jan‘s father and other members of the congregation were arrested. For lack of evidence, Bohumil Jan Dittrich was eventually released. Until his death, State Security kept him under surveillance. Jan, like his siblings, later faced difficulties with admission to university, and until the Velvet Revolution he had troubles due to his bad background references. In 2023 he was living in Brno.