PhDr. Ivan Kania

* 1932

  • Once they showed the movie there [in the camp]. It was only for the invited. I wasn´t there. They showed the movie „The show will be!“ And there really was the show. But it was a different show than in the cinema. Because something extraordinary happened. About twelve prisoners ran away from the camp. But how did they make it! They did it really rare way. They digged a verticular hole from one of the buildings. Seventy five centimetres under the ground the digged a horizontal tunnel. It led behind the wooden fencing. They used the time when the movie was projected and fled through the tunnel. The strange thing was they kept it in secret all the time they digged it.

  • I appreciate a lot I found people there whose example I could follow. There were the ministers, university professors and also the priests for a short time. It´s impossible for a man to play some role there. The masks will fall down very quickly. And the man uncovers himself. Like if he was naked. And it´ll be seen what he´s like. And the one who´s perceptive and willing to corrections will see himself as in mirror when looking at the others. In a good or bad way. I do not regret one day in the prison. Maybe there are only few people who feel it the same way. I realized what´s really important when I was there. And I saw that the human life only makes sense when a man can jump over his own shadow. And if he´s able to live for the others. Not for himself.

  • My nine years old brother wrote me the letter... He watched the world hockey championship very carefully. And he wrote how did Canada play with the Soviets, how we played... I wasn´t interested at all in this in a jail. He wrote the charts an send it to me. But I did never get that letter. And here you can see why. „Confiscate in 1955.“ They didn´t give it to me because they tought it´s some kind of cipher.

  • My parents didn´t know where I am. When I was arrested they wrote hopeless letters asking me to let them know. They wrote I should have been home already and why am I not there already. The state authorities weren´t interested at all. I was arrested 20th October 1954. My father wrote 22nd November 1954 when I should have been home for three weeks already. Mom wrote: „We´re still waiting some letter from you or your coming. We were expecting you last Saturday to no avail. We´re worried about you, aren´t you ill?“ Father wrote 29th November 1954. „My son Ivan Kania, lance corporal of local unit, should have came back home after finishing military service. But he didn´t return. But his personal things sent by lance corporal Sekáč arrived today.“ So they were . They didn´t know what is going on. The letter from employer from 24th December: „We ask of you an annoucement for what reason didn´t you return back from military service. In case of prolongation of your military service or if you´re staying in service continually send us a confirmation of this actuality from relevant garrison administration.“ So they didn´t inform even the employer.

  • A new jailbird came [into the camp]. Mining foreman Steiger – a civilian – told me: „He´s going to dismantle the piping. Give him the keys and the tools.“ So I gave him keys and tools because I worked there as the locksmith for a short time. And it happened that the one who was there less than a week... By the way it it was a man who left Australia where he found the communist party. He overstepped the czech borderline without permission so they put him in a jail. I don´t even know for how long. And he tried to flee after one week. But he didn´t know that place and no of the other jailbirds knew him. And if he sould say to one of the jailbirds: „I want to flee.“ everybody would consider that to be a provocation. So he went on his own. So I gave him the tools. He had no clue it´s the place is all watched. He went through the corridor to the neighbourhood of the second shaft. He climbed to the top of the ladder. There stood the guard and caught him. I was punnished for the contributing to the escape. I told them: „But it was an order..“ No, nothing. They didn´t také at all into consideration what I was saying. So it was a correction again.

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I do not regret one day in a prison

portrét dobo 01.jpg (historic)
PhDr. Ivan Kania
zdroj: Foto Lenka Zahradníková

Ivan Kania was born in 1932 to Chistian family of Jinřich and Marta Kania. In Prague he attended Scout club which was later cancelled. Due to political checking wasn´t allowed to pass the graduation. Started the compulsory military service and was assigned to Helping technical unit in Karviná. Shortly before finishing the service was arrested for tooking part on events for catholic youth. For six years he was kept in work camps in Jáchymov and Leopoldov.