JUDr. Milan Hulík

* 1946  

  • “Jesus Christ, Franta Stárek, he was probably my best client – dissident. He was so tough. He told them what he thought to their faces. I really liked and still like him a lot, he was a person who wasn’t afraid, one who they didn’t break. He spent time in different prisons and I would go visit him. Wait a minute, what was it? During the trial with him there were others there, too, Stárek, I don’t know who all was there, Jirous and others. The head of the senate asked him at the start of the trial if he acknowledged his guilt. Stárek stood up and said: ‘I don’t acknowledge the authority of this fascist court at all.’ I mean, I just had to stick my head in my papers. They had to always allow two relatives of the accused in to be the public. The main public, the audience, was made up of members of the State Security, so they started murmuring amongst themselves. Franta Stárek was awesome, it was always a good time with him, well, I mean as fun as it can be when you’re locked up.”

  • “Military service made me furious. Then the prosecutorial interview came saying I would go to Sabinov if I talked more. So that made me quite edgy and Petr Goll told me: “But couldn’t we get to the psych-ward if we used our heads?’ I said: ‘How? What would we have to do?’ He answered: ‘Easy.’ He came up with an utterly brilliant idea. Once, there was an alarm, and we both came out naked, just wearing our guns and our belts with pouches. So, they took us the psych-ward. I made it to Prague to the military hospital in the psych-ward where there were fantastic doctors. It was ’68 so I was covered in the hospital bed with newspapers and magazines. I could see how those army doctors, despite being communists, were nice and how they were on my side. Whoever was there in the psych-ward had to speak with them every other day. They asked us if we had suicidal thoughts. I said: ‘Doctor, I don’t like it here, there are so many things going on here.’ He said: ‘Tomorrow we’re having a meeting. Wait here and I’ll come.’ The next day he came and said to me: ‘We’re going to let you out and you’ll be diagnosed with anxious-depressive psychosis.’ I asked him if it would be a problem for me in civil life. He told me that not at all. So, they let me out as a civilian with a blue book which was a huge jackpot.”

  • “From the time I was a twelve-year-old I went with my mom to visit him in jail. We always prayed that the visit wouldn’t be at noon because the guards would rush off to lunch, meaning our one-hour visits would be cut in half. I had no way of knowing when I was going to those prisons to visit Dad, that one day I would end up being the boss of those prisons after the revolution. It was one of the most absurdities of my life, that one of the post-November functions I had was overseeing the entire prison system which was at the time still the Czechoslovak one. The visits to Dad in jail were pretty dramatic. I was just a kid then and it worried me terribly. They’d bring Dad out, wearing those rags they covered him with; he’d been a heavy guy, but in prison they’d turned him into a skeleton. Sometimes he had tears in eyes. The first thing you did was rush up to him, hug him, kiss him, and then they’d tear you off of him violently. ‘Sit down here!’ They spoke to you like you were a convict, there’s that lump in your throat, you start crying. Once I gave my Dad some chocolate and the guard smacked it out of my hand.”

  • “I had found out even before the revolution that there had been some Prague congress of lawyers. And that I had been talked about there, that the Prague head secretary of the Communist Party, Štěpán, had said: ‘And then we have such cases like the one of Dr. Hulík who shoots his mouth off and criticizes our regime and socialism in his closing statements.’ Dr. Cilínek told me that Štěpán had called him saying that they had to throw me out of the profession. It was June of eighty-nine, I started laughing, and I say to Cilínek: ‘Láďa, the communists will be out the picture by the end of the year. He said: ‘You always were the optimist, but communism will be here for ten more years.’ Then I had to laugh even more. When at Bory they brought out Štěpán, I asked him: ‘Mr. Štěpán, why did you want me to be thrown out of the profession?’ He said: ‘That wasn’t me.’ He denied it all, that they had wanted to throw me out of the profession. We spent about three hours speaking heart to heart; of course, he blamed everything on Jakeš, he wanted to be somehow… I asked him: ‘Why you, a college-educated man, a docent, why were you with those so-called communist dinosaurs?’ He answered: ‘Because I had information that Gorbachov would fall and that everything would return to how it had been.’ ‘But it didn’t work out for you,’ I said. ‘No, it didn’t work out for me,’ said Štěpán."

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On the 17th of November five of my clients were still sitting in prison

Milan Hulík before 1989, when he was defending dissidents
Milan Hulík before 1989, when he was defending dissidents
zdroj: archiv Milana Hulíka

Milan Hulík was born on 22 March 1946 in Kolín to the family of the owner of company involved in the mining of sand. After the communist coup in February 1948, his father lost the company, and in the second half of the 1950s he came to find out that the communists ruling the country had been only renting out his machines. At court he succeeded in getting the Czechoslovak Republic to reimburse him for the lost rents. Retaliation from the totalitarian regime was swift, and the former businessman Hulík was taken to court in 1958 and sentenced to 12 years for the falsified elicitation of tax breaks and for anti-communist activity. Visits to see his father in prison traumatized Milan Hulík. The courts ended his sentence, under conditions, in 1967. Milan Hulík was an outstanding student in his basic schooling, but communist power, considering him the son of a class-enemy, only made it possible for him to apprentice as a mason. After some time, however, he was able to go to Prague and attend a vocational program specialized in construction in Prague, where he finished his secondary education successfully. Then he undertook his two-year military service, which he was able to leave early thanks to him faking having psychological issues. He took the entrance exams for the Faculty of Law at Charles University, from where he graduated in 1974. At the start of his career, he worked in entrepreneurial law and in 1976 he became an attorney’s clerk in Prague. In the second half of the 1970s and 1980s he defended a number of dissidents – for example František Stárek, Petr Cibulka, Petr Uhl, and Jarmila Bělíková. After 1989, he started working as the director of inspection division at the Office for the Protection of the Constitution and Democracy (today the Security Information Service). Additionally, he served as the chairman of the vetting commission of the Board of Corrections (today the Prison Service), where he later on became the first deputy of the general director and where he attained the rank of lieutenant colonel. In 1995, he returned to the legal profession and he was able to study history at Charles University and acquired his doctoral degree. In 2020, the witness was living in Prague.