Leopold Färber

* 1928  †︎ 2015

  • “There was always someone in a family who got mixed up with the Communists. Am I right? But don't think all the Communists were the same. My father's family background was purely Proletarian. They came to him after the war and said: 'Hynek, your son was involved in resistance activities. You are a Proletarian, come and join us in the Communist Party.' They gave him an application form and added: 'But you are a churchgoer, it has to stop!' And he replied: 'I do not want anyone to give me commands again!' And he tore the application form to pieces. My uncle, him, whose son I co-worked with during the war, he was also given an application form by them. They said to him: 'Leopold, come among us! We need such people as you are!' And he said: 'What for?' 'Well, so that we had such brave and courageous people who were involved in resistance.' He took the application form and: 'What is this for?' 'Well, that's the application form.' And he replied: 'But it is far too tough for wiping my ass!' And it was the end of it.”

  • “(November 1989) meant a lot to me, but that was because we had lived through both the occupation and the communist coup, and I had been in prison, so all of that together made me thrilled with the new-found freedom. You could say that the students started things. Always, in any regime, it‘s the young generation that is at the forefront – it was like that during the war, after the war, and so on.”

  • “Well, I can tell you stories about Holocaust, the second resistance movement, the third resistance movement and I was also involved in dissent. So I'm ready for you.' 'And you have experienced this all?' Yes, I have. I'm the chairman of the Documentary Commission, which means that my task is to study history. But it was false. It was told the way so that the Communists liked it. The fighters from the West fell into disfavor, they were called 'the servants of imperialism.' The people engaged with resistance activities, many at the last minute, some after just the eleventh hour, they were famous. I speak to everyone with complete frankness.'”

  • “What affected you the most that year?” – “It was the great joy, and me and a group of enthusiasts, people we knew didn‘t like communism, we took part in events and were active in Prostějov and in Konice. You could say Konice was smaller… Prostějov and Konice. But that depended on where the people who were willing to be part of things were. My wife would say the same… she was afraid that if it wouldn‘t work out, they would throw us all in prison again. But I guess it‘s in my nature, I always stood up for the right side. Sometimes it caused me trouble… I can tell you though that we were surprised that there were people who were suddenly Chartists, but we didn‘t know about them, we didn‘t know they had been playing a double game the whole time.”

  • “It was in Bory. When you got there you had to take all your clothes off. We were taking our clothes off on one side, there were piles of prisoner's clothes on the other side. It was all gone west. Shorts, the others had full length trousers, coats... Well, we put it on. There stood my accomplice next to me and said: 'We came to a lovely ass, didn't we?!' We had no idea that the screw were watching us. Then they led us to our cells, to reclusion. And then it started. The screw came and said: 'Well, have you been beaten here yet?' I said: 'No, what for?' And he just for fun – punch, punch, punch, he was beating me. About three days later he was on duty again. His name was something like Vrabec. (Author's note – Patrolman Václav Brabec – a notoriously known sadist from the '50s in the twentieth century. He worked in Bory and after 1960 he was given disciplinary punishments for violence in jail.) He came and asked: 'Have you been beaten here yet?' 'Well, I have. Yesterday by you.''Whaaaaaaat?!' And he beat me again. Then he was on duty again, he came to the cell but I said nothing. He beat me again but somehow hit my eye and it fell out. It was such a shock to him! Then he looked at me, I was there without my eye. He slammed the door and left me alone.”

  • “They were allowed some small bundles of limited weight. But then they threw them all on one heap anyway and transported them separately. The Jews never saw their possessions again. They were taken to the railway station to be transported. I was there to say good-bye to my Dad. (Author's note – The witness means – to say good-bye to his relatives. His father, although of Jewish origin, was not included in the transport as he married a Christian.) My little cousin held a doll and a soldier plucked the doll out of her hands. He threw it on the heap and she kicked him. Even if she were such a small child, he beat her in front of everybody's eyes. I have no idea why my father said: 'Let's go home, quick.' I said: 'Why?' 'If someone said – they are Jews as well. And they could take us with them.' Those are things that are coming back to me after so many years.”

  • “You are living your own way of life. But you should know the heritage of our ancestors. You should know that those people lived in a different way, they had different knowledge. We wanted that you lived in better times. This should be also your mission. You will also have children and you will want them to live in better times. Consider the fact whether all sorts of hi-tech won't do you harm. It may be for example nature contamination etc... But it is up to you. Be careful not to have problems. You have to fight for it. This is in people – they always have what they fight for or what they spoil.”

  • “They said: 'You are damn lucky, man. There is going to be amnesty tomorrow. There is a paper here and write what you were doing and you'll go home.' But I wrote nothing. They came the next day again and it was no fun. They tied me up on a chair, both hands and legs. They gave me a paper and said: 'Write a good-bye letter to your family.' Damn it, I felt really weird. I was not going to do it. They blindfolded me and said: 'You've got one more chance. We will count to three. One, one and a half, one and three quarters, two...' They were making it so long. Then they shouted: 'Will you speak or not?!' I replied I had explained it to them how it all went. That we didn't want the children to write it. All of a sudden there was a bang. I was wet. They shot with an alarm gun and they were killing themselves laughing.”

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While the guard was beating me, he accidentally struck my glass eye and it fell out

Leopold
Leopold
zdroj: pamětník

Leopold Färber was born in Stará Halič in Slovakia on October 31, 1928. He grew up in Boskovice. His father was a Jew; his mother was a devout Catholic. Their mixed marriage saved them from their deportation to the extermination camp. As a boy, Leopold, nicknamed Hurvínek, acted as a messenger between the anti-Nazi resistance groups. After 1948, he decided to carry on with the resistance activities. He founded a group with his two brothers Josef and František Marek, who wanted to damage the Police School with their secretly acquired explosives. However, the explosives blew up by an unlucky coincidence in the Färbers‘ flat and Leopold lost one of his eyes. The State Security arrested him along with Josef Marek in May 1950. It was shortly after the children from his Scouts‘ group had distributed leaflets saying ‚Death to Communism!‘ around the neighborhood. Leopold Färber didn‘t know about them, he only inspired the children by his narrations about the war. The Court sentenced him to sixteen years in jail; he served eight years of his sentence. After his release he worked in road construction for many years, and he was finally allowed to arrange shop-windows. He died in 2015.