Miroslav Toms

* 1931  

  • "I thought - probably they are going to lock me up but I don't care anymore. When they claimed: 'We told you it is only possible to meet in your office and not somewhere in a café,' I replied: 'What could I've done? Mr. Kollman told me to sit, have a coffee and discuss things for a few minutes because he was flying to London the next morning. Should I've told him no, I can't go with you, I am watched by the police and there has to be a Party member present...?' They said: 'No, you can't tell them that!' And I responded: 'Well, remember that whatever you tell me does not matter to me and if you don't like it, I will leave the company.' They were like: 'No, no, not that.' It was already at around March 1968, when Dubček took over. I thought, this wasn't just a change of cadres, this was more serious. They then got scared and didn't contact me at all." - "What did they want during the previous meetings, then?" - "Once, they came up with an idea of business cards. I told them: 'I'm happy to give them to you, I have them on my desk.' And so I brought in those people's business cards, there was nothing secret about it. Then they said: 'You know, we need you to take note of everything. Such as when a car comes, to write down the licence plate.' I said okay. Next time when he asked me whether I spotted anything, I said I did. Near Národní divadlo, there is a tunnel which was closed for regular traffic - it was only open for diplomats. There, a beautiful American car was parked. I knew I would tell them about it. I wrote down the number and when they asked, I said: 'Imagine, I spotted this American cars, it even had little flags on it.' - 'Where was it parked?' - 'In the tunnel near Národní divadlo.' - 'Yeah, but these are diplomatic cars, they are allowed to be there.' - 'Well, how should I've known?' - and so, I was playing Švejk [stupid]."

  • "Throughout the war, there were shelling alarms. At school, we always had to go hide in the cellar where we played children's games and messed around. When it was over, we'd return to classroom. Often, this was convenient, for instance when the alarm came during examination. For us, a shelling alarm was therefore nothing to take seriously. And then, for the first time, on 14 February, bombs began falling. I still don't know why it happened - whether the Americans dropped the remaining bombs while returning from Dresden... Thanks to my grandpa who lived in Pilsen where there was a lot of shelling I learned that as long as the bombs are banging, things are alright but as soon as they start whistling, it means they are falling on your head. I was in the kitchen with my mum, we were looking out of the window and could hear the whistling. And so we knew, it was falling down on us. We just ducked but stupidly, stayed by the window. If it had exploded, all the window fragments would have hit us. But it didn't."

  • "This boy was the son of Mr. Šváb who used to be a bigshot. Karel Šváb, his dad, was executed in the Slánský case. This kid was so indoctrinated by communism since his early age that he got the task of preparing political assessments on us prior to graduation. I only learned about that later. It was decided on some Party forum that I would be the only one from my class who wouldn't be allowed to graduate. The head of the examination commission Karel Bílek came over from another institute, and he was the one in charge about what would happen. According to the assessment written by Šváb, I despised the Soviet Union, the Red Army, only went to see American movies, played American jazz on guitar and so on... This comrade Bílek told to the commission in spite of me excelling during the graduation: 'Toms will fail the Czech language and literature exam.' He was a Czech language and literature teacher. My teacher said: 'What do you mean? He was perfect in grammar, perfect in theater...' He responded: 'That is a political matter,' pulling out the assessment. This think then followed me throughout university and towards my employment..."

  • "As I walked out to Wenceslas Square, there were tanks everywhere and those dummies sat on top of them. I saw that park across the railway station where I used to go on dates, there was a pond with goldfish... Now, tanks everywhere, everything dug up and destroyed. I saw the Museum damaged by the shooting. It was as if it had chickenpox, maybe it is still visible. I walked down to my office. There was a milk bar on the right side - I used to go there for breakfast before going to my firm at Můstek. The people who were passing around were coming to the soldiers, telling them in Russian: 'Do you fools even know where you are?!' One of them replied: 'Germania.' - 'No, we are not Germania!' One of the boys got angry, took down his assault rifle and fired a couple shots. I hadn't talked to him but as I walked around, I could hear the gunshots and see the shop window shatter. I said: 'I won't get myself shot dead by some Siberian primitive, that is not for me.' This was the last drop to my decision to get out of here."

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A bomb that whistles is a bomb that is falling on your head

Miroslav Toms, 2018
Miroslav Toms, 2018
zdroj: ED

Miroslav Toms was born on 5 July 1931 in Benátky nad Jizerou. He had moved around with his parents several times. They settled in Prague where he stayed up until his emigration. During WW II. he witnessed historical events, survived the February 1945 shelling of Prague as well as the retreating German soldiers at the end of the war. He had lived with his parents in Podolí for a long time, studying at a grammar school in Truhlářská street. His unfavourable cadre profile nearly prevented him from graduating in 1950, and also complicated his application to university. After graduating from the Czech Technical University, he worked in the Tesla company for several years and later in an engineering company. In the 1960s, he became of interest to the secret police. First, he was interrogated in Bartolomějská street and later, a secret agent was meeting him in the Družba hotel. Following the 1968 invasion, he decided to leave the country for Germany, where he had spent the next twenty-seven years of his life. After his return to the Czech Republic, he filed a lawsuit to have his name removed from the list of secret police informers and from an internet archive, and he succeeded. He has a son and a daughter and is married for the third time.