Memory of Nation


Vojen Syrovátka (1940)

  Vojen Syrovátka (1940)
I signed Charter 77 and the Church considered me a saboteur

Living with the Secret Police

“When you became a political prisoner your family was either moved out, into a village or to the border, since the expanding apparatus of the Ministry of Interior needed many flats. This was the way they got them. Or when the flat was a bigger one, they halved it and moved a Ministry employee into the other half. This was our case. We lived in Dejvice in a four-room flat, there was a kitchen with a room for maid. They left us two rooms, the other two were occupied by a Secret Police family, then another. We got along quite fine with the latter. We had different opinions. Me and my mum guarded our mouth when speaking to them, especially while my father was in prison, but otherwise we got along well. My mum had no need to bring hatred into our life. When my father returned from the prison the Secret Police officer had to complete his secondary school education. He had terrible problems with maths. And my father gave him lessons, while voicing openly his opinions. And the officer held him in such a high regard that when my father died after years, he came to his funeral.”

  • Born on March 8, 1940, in Prague
  • His father, Václav Syrovátka, served fourteen years as a political prisoner
  • He trained as an electro engineer
  • At sixteen he started attending the Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren in Dejvice, Prague
  • He studied Evangelical Theological Faculty, Charles University
  • Since the early 1970s he was the vicar of the Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren in Rumburk
  • He signed Charter 77
  • Until November 1989 he was monitored and interrogated by the Secret Police
  • He co-founded the Civic Forum in Rumburk
  • He contributed to the establishment of the Diakonie's centre for old people in Dvůr Králové
  • Since 2010 he has served as the vicar in Vilémov
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