Monsignor Vnislav Fruvirt

* 1923

  • “The first air raid on Brno came quite late, I don’t remember anymore what year it was. One of our seminarians died there, too. I was already a seminarian myself at that time. He died young and we were at his funeral, which was held in Královo Pole, I think, and the air raid on Brno occurred that day in the evening. The funeral was during the morning and we only went to Brno in the evening, at around seven or eight, because the city was damaged. We were only able to take the electric tram, which is called shalina in Brno, to Tomášek at the square, and from there we had to walk to Petrov, via Husova Street. And the following day we discovered that there was a warning sign ‘Blindgänger’ – a timed bomb – on it. We had walked by that building and then it exploded at ten in the morning. There is a nice joke about it. A bomb was dropped somewhere and it tore off the front wall of a house. There was a row of toilets in the building and a guy was sitting there on the toilet on the seventh floor, and he was just one step from the abyss above the street when in exploded. Well, firemen reached him with a ladder and the guy was shaking with fear and he said: ‘But it’s really not my fault, I just pulled the flush handle and it exploded.’”

  • “At first there was interrogation, then there was the prison in Znojmo, then the district prison, it was in Cejl, and when the court session was over, they took us to other prisons again. And at that time, I don’t know how the policemen or communists decided on that... many priests were in labour prisons, where the regime was a bit more relaxed, and they assembled all of them into closed prisons. The priests who were sentenced to ten years of imprisonment were thus all sent to Mladá Boleslav, and those who had a sentence over ten years and more, were sent to Mírov. There were about 180 of us there, the whole prison was occupied. They transported us to Valdice, I don’t know for how many years. Then I went to work as a miner. I am a miner, who is more? You know that slogan. I was there for about a year and three months or so, in the East Bohemian Coal Mining area. Black coal is mined in eastern Bohemia, too. Then I returned to Valdice again, and I learnt the glass-cutter’s trade there and in 1960 I went home from Valdice.” – “What did you produce there?” – “Pendants for chandeliers, there was a glass-cutting workshop. The glass-cutting industry from the border region. The boss taught us the trade and we were cutting glass there. I was processing the tiniest pendants, the were pear-shaped like this… I don’t remember how many facets there were … eight, three times eight around the whole piece. So when you started cutting it, your fingers were cut through.”

  • “Well, I was thinking about getting a job. I enjoyed driving and all that, and so I applied to the Transport company as a tram conductor. ‘Yes, great, we are hiring, we are hiring…’ That was because tram conductors had to sign a contract for at least one year, they could not just leave right away. And it is a work with irregular duty hours, one day you work like this, and then like this, and they were searching for conductors all the time. And so I applied to work as a tram conductor. ‘Yes, yes.’ In the personnel department they told me: ‘Yes, you are hired, we will contact you.’ But two days later, a notice appeared in the newspaper, that the drivers’ course was starting, and I still didn’t know anything. So I went to Pisárky in Brno to the personnel department by myself, and I told this to her and she replied: ‘Mr…,’ well, not Mr., she addressed me as a comrade, comrade was still used at that time… ‘But Comrade Fruvirt, you returned from prison, is that so?’ When the procurator informed us about the amnesty, he talked about bright future for us, and so on. ‘But you have come from prison, well, yes, but it says here, at least two years of manual work.’ An order like this came, and so I applied to work as a cleaner of tram rail switches.” – “For how long did you work there, two years?” – “Nearly two years. But there were good guys in the Transport Company, and so I applied for that course, I passed the drivers’ course and then I worked as a tram driver for four years, until 1966.”

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    Brno, 24.03.2018

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We expected that the regime would collapse quickly, but it did not

1942 - graduation photo
1942 - graduation photo
zdroj: archiv pamětníka

Vnislav Fruvirt was born on July 11, 1923 in the village Příbram na Moravě near Zastávka u Brna. He graduated from grammar school in Brno in 1942, and after his studies at an alumniate for priests he was ordained a priest on July 5, 1947. His first parish was in Tvarožná. In May 1952 he was transferred to Mašovice near Znojmo and from there he was drafted to do military service in Uherské Hradiště in November 1952. In January 1953 he was arrested by the StB for anti-state activity in Tvarožná. He was marked as a spiritual leader of the group and sentenced to ten years of imprisonment. Vnislav was interned in prisons in Cejl in Brno, in Znojmo, Mladá Boleslav and Valdice. Vnislav was released in 1960 during the extensive amnesty. He worked as a cleaner of tram rail switches for the Transport Company of the City of Brno and later as a tram driver. He received the official permission to serve as a priest again in 1966. He served as a chaplain in Staré Brno, as a vicar in the Sts Peter and Paul Cathedral and from 1973 he was a priest in Brno-Bystrc. From 1986 he worked as a judge of the diocese church court. In September 2010 he was appointed the Chaplain of His Holiness (monsignore).