I was born into the“wrong” family, and so I had to join the PTP.
Ing. Richard Smola was born on the 3rd of June 1930 in Pilsen. His father was Ing. Alois Smola, the owner of a turbogenerator company, Ferrotechna, and president of the Pilsen Society for Trade and Commerce, which became the target for communist persecution following 1948; Alois Smola was arrested and sentenced to one year of prison. In 1953, the whole family was forced to move from Pilsen to the small village of Božanov in the Broumov district under Operation B - Bourgeoisie. Thanks to the intervention of Škoda, the location was changed to Ptenín near Merklín. Richard Smola graduated from grammar school and studied mechanics at the University of Mechanics and Electrotechnology in Pilsen, which was part of the Czech Technical University in Prague. His studies were interrupted by compulsory military service at the Auxiliary Engineering Corps (abbr. PTP, forced labour units - transl.). He served with the light, and later the heavy PTP from October 1951 until the PTP were disbanded in May 1954; he was stationed at Libavá, at the airport construction site in Přerov, in the mines at Ostrava and in Hájníky near Banská Bystrica. After his release he completed his university studies, and in 1956 he gained employment at Energostroje, which later became part of the Škoda Works, later still the independent company Škoda Prague. Among other work, Richard Smola was in charge of installations and dealings abroad - in Denmark, Bulgaria, Canada, Argentina. He was in charge of the construction and installation of the Felton Super Power Plant in Cuba.