PhDr. Jiří Málek

* 1930  †︎ 2021

  • The reconstructed object of the former office houses.

  • “Close to the Equality pit, there was a sawmill where lumber was transformed into planks for the pit – they made various planks in required dimensions. Throughout the years, a vast amount of sawdust had accumulated around the sawmill. Somebody came up with the idea that sawdust was the perfect isolation material. Therefore, we would make ourselves ice cream here in the winter. We bought dried milk in the canteen and mixed it with a bit of jam in a mess tin. In the winter, there was plenty of snow here which we put together with the mess tin in a washing-up bowl, we salted it and then you had to turn the mess tin. That’s how we made ice cream.”

  • “The Nikolai camp was one of the worse camps with a harsher regime. I got there shortly after my trial - that is in November 1952. I was sentenced to 11 years of imprisonment and the prosecutor claimed that these were mild sentences due to the fact that a part of our activities were under the oversight of the state security. I got to Nikolai about three days after the sentence. At the time, it was covered by snow. In the beginning, it wasn’t all that bad but since January 1953, we started to suffer from hunger and this lasted all the way to the summer of 1953. Then the situation improved as the authorities apparently realized that starved people are not able to work well. By the time I came to Nikolai - that is in 1952 - the regime had already improved. Before that, the leadership of the camp set the criminal prisoners against the political ones. In my time, the political prisoners already constituted the majority. You had three groups of inmates here: the political prisoners sentenced by a Czech court, the representatives of the Czech retribution (the so-called small retribution, collaborators with the Germans) and the Germans who were then exiled in 1955. We didn’t get in touch with the Germans or with the collaborators (Gestapo confidents and the like). If somebody assumes that there were innocent people tried and sentenced in the course of the retribution, it’s probable that they got to Nikolai, and judging by how we witnessed them in Nikolai, we could only perceive them as the scum of human society. I stayed at Nikolai till 1956.”

  • “There was this beautiful thing, Something blackened. Well, it was against light, so we could pretty easily see why it had been blackened. Someone was saying in the writing, ‘If you work for a revolution, don’t refuse to spend some time in jail. When your work brings about a revolution, it will be you who will be sending people to jail.”

  • The story of the witness František Šedivý relates to the condemnation of Jiří Málek. A separate file.

  • “Before entering the pit, we and the civilian employees had to change clothes. They pulled our inmate clothing up on a hook and let down our working overalls. After the shift, it was the other way round to make sure the work overall would dry.”

  • “Now we are to be found at the former Nikolai camp. Today, there’s nothing that would hint at its former existence. This is where the entrance gate to the camp used to be. The offices of the warders, the houses of the inmates. What has survived though is the foundation walls of the cultural house.”

  • “Now we are in the premises of the former pit Equality, where I worked since 1956. I didn’t witness the New Equality. Today, you can find recreational chalets here. Of the old buildings, only the guard house that was located at the original entrance to the camp has survived. In the summer of 1956, it had already been connected and you walked to the pit directly from the camp. We and the civilian employees had to change clothes in the pit. They pulled our inmate clothing up on a hook and let down our working overalls. After the shift, it was the other way round to make sure the work overall would dry.”

  • The Equality pit from 1945 till 1964, before that the Werner pit.

  • “The foundation walls of the cultural house survived. It served for educational lectures and sometimes they would screen a movie for the inmates there in order to keep them occupied and prevent them from misbehaving. The lectures were sometimes taking place every day and they were held by incapable people that the regime chose for this purpose. Some of the lectures were held by a guy called rogue who used the word rogue in almost every sentence when it came to the enemy. For instance, he would say: ‘Churchil, that rogue scoundrel, has spoken out again’. In this way we actually learned that Winston Churchill had a speech but the content of his speech was mostly vastly distorted Churchill. He would also tell us that it was neither our, nor their fault that we had been imprisoned in the camp, but the fault of the world capitalists. There were four of them: Baťa, whom the Communists had chased out of the country, Henry Ford in the USA, IG Farben in Germany and Company in England. We burst out in laughter but he was not to be derailed by that. ‘What are you laughing at? On every English product, you can read ‘and company’. Now people started laughing again. ‘What are you laughing? These are not facts, this is reality’. That’s how we were politically educated.”

  • “It was on April 30, 1952, when I was still in my pyjamas and someone rang at the door. My mum had already left for shopping, so it was not deep at night. I went to answer the bell. There were two or three gentlemen in suits. One of them pointed a finger at me and said, ‘We are the State Security. Get dressed you will come with us.’ He was rather polite. So I dressed and went with them. In the car the one sitting beside me said… it was Tatra 603 they had, they used them often… I hope I don’t have to handcuff you. Just bent your head.”

  • “Not far from the pit Equality, there’s a castle that was built by the inmates. Right next to it, there was the solitary confinement. They were building it for an incredibly long time and the reason for it was to smuggle some food to the solitary confinement cell when there was no warden present. I didn’t take part in the construction. The solitary confinement was no longer there when I served my term in Equality. That was an older affair.”

  • “The former camp Old Equality originally served as a German war prisoner camp and since 1949 for the political prisoners. I know from witnesses that the stove was still warm from the war prisoners that had been moved just shortly before the advent of the political prisoners. When they were preparing the New Equality, in the beginning, you had to walk to the pit through a corridor. But when I was serving my term there, we walked through a gate.”

  • “From the Nikolai mine, we used to go to work to the Eduard pit. It’s about 800 to 830 meters away – we measured that distance later on. We were taken to that pit by the so-called ‘Jáchymov’ or also ‘Russian’ bus. The whole shift had to gather and we were tied to one another by an iron wire. Then we walked through a corridor to the pit. The key was carried by a warden. There were high fences made of barbed wire everywhere and of course the whole area was tightly guarded.”

  • “The interrogation was quick and decent, as the officer who interrogated me had all of my ‘spy’ messages lying on his table so there was nothing to deny. I confessed that I had tried to get those messages abroad and that they had been written by me. I confessed that I had taken part in espionage and treacherous activities and in November 1952, I was tried as a member of a group of spies that counted 18 people. I was sentenced to 11 years, two of my colleagues got 14 years. The leader of the group was František Šedivý, his right hand Zdeněk Otruba, a classmate of mine.”

  • “He served there as a collector, a civilian, Ladislav Hubáček. He still lives, he is even one year older than me. He was in jail with our accomplice, Jiří Nečas, and this was the way we met. He used to bring me… he used to go to Prague once a fortnight. He used to bring to me, and some other people, letters from home – secretly. So thanks to him I was in touch with my people at home. And he also used to bring us food. When we were really hungry, at the Nikolai shaft, he brought us food every day. For all this time he traveled to Prague he never took a penny, for all this travelling, he went to Prague, visited the families. This was what he did. And then he was put in jail too.”

  • Celé nahrávky
  • 1

    Praha, Jáchymov, 18.09.2010

    délka: 01:32:42
    nahrávka pořízena v rámci projektu Stories of 20th Century
  • 2

    Praha, 29.07.2017

    délka: 02:27:39
    nahrávka pořízena v rámci projektu Stories of 20th Century
  • 3

    V Praze, 12.11.2019

    délka: 01:32:52
    nahrávka pořízena v rámci projektu The Stories of Our Neigbours
Celé nahrávky jsou k dispozici pouze pro přihlášené uživatele.

At Nikolai, we were told how to properly behave by a guy called rogue

Jiří Málek, 2017
Jiří Málek, 2017
zdroj: Eye Direct

Jiří Málek was born on 21 August, 1930, in Prague. After the family moved to Říčany, he commuted to Prague to grammar school. After the war, he became an active member of the National Socialist youth. Simultaneously, he studied at the pedagogical and the philosophical faculty. After February 1948, he got involved in clandestine intelligence activities for a resistance group called „Barrandov“ which was connected to the exiled leadership of the National Socialist Party. On 30 April, 1952, he was arrested by the State Security, sentenced to 11 years and sent to a forced-labor camp in Jáchymov and later to camps in Nikolai and Equality. In Jáchymov, he also went through the central camp C Vykmanov and later, along with other inmates, he was transported on a bus to various other workplaces in the Slavkovsko area. In 1960, he was conditionally released in the wake of an amnesty, but in the spring of 1962, he was arrested again and as a „recidivist“ sent to prison in Leopoldov. He was finally released in 1965. Following his release, he managed to complete his studies at the Faculty of Arts, Charles University, Prague, where he worked as an assistant. He later worked at the Research Institute of Geodesy and Cartography. After 1989, he worked in the Office of Documentation and Investigation of the Crimes of Communism. Jiří Málek died on November 22, 2021.