Miloš Rataj

* 1939

  • “To stop us from becoming friends in prison, there was a roll call with personal belongings once in every two or three months. That meant we had to pack everything from the bed in the blanket – the pillow, our personal belongings such as the toothbrush and soap (I didn’t have much of that) and line up. They read the entire list; buildings were indicated with letters and rooms with numbers. They would say things such as: ‘Rataj from K3 to G6.’ And I never came back to my former room – I went to G6 with completely different people. We had to get on again, get to know each other… That was not very pleasant but we maintained contacts otherwise because I worked with the same people all the time.”

  • “I did not regret anything. I was young, with no relationship, no obligations, no debts and my entire life lay ahead. I made plans for what I could do. I was only sorry knowing that I would not graduate, as I had been studying a subject that I thought was the only one that I could ever enjoy. When I started serving my sentence and saw the order and relations among the inmates, I thought: ‘This is a completely different school – you’re going to study an entirely different subject here.’”

  • “I was imprisoned on New Year’s Eve 1958. My sister was supposed to graduate from high school in 1959. They let her write the graduation essays but then she got a letter saying that she need not study for oral exams, as she would not graduate because her brother was a criminal. Interestingly, I was only dismissed after the finality of the sentence; with her, they did not wait for my sentence. They dismissed her and the teachers’ bulletin in Slovakia wrote that she was not allowed to graduate from any high school in Slovakia. All of my mum’s siblings lived in Bohemia so we moved to Bohemia. We first started discussing this on a visit to the prison. I didn’t know when I would go home then. Of course I agreed with the move. We planned to go to Mladá Boleslav. Then housing cooperatives started to operate so we moved towards Horní Počernice and I even managed to take part in building our apartment.”

  • Celé nahrávky
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    Nová Paka, 24.04.2015

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

I did not regret anything; maybe the fact that I would not graduate

Miloš Rataj (a period photograph)
Miloš Rataj (a period photograph)

Miloš Rataj was born on 13 July 1939 in Prague but he grew up in Slovakia in the White Carpathians promontory. As a child, he was a member of the Modrý kříž (Blue Cross) organisation active as part of the Lutheran Church. He led an active religious life as a college student and was arrested and imprisoned on New Year‘s Eve in 1958. He was sentenced the next year and as a result he was dismissed from his veterinary studies. He served his sentence in Příbram in the Vojna camp, working as a member of a construction team. He was released under the amnesty of 1960. He worked in the construction industry until retirement; he was seconded to Cuba for five years as a site manager. On returning from Cuba he moved to Nová Paka where he still lives.