The collection Printer Krumpholc contains documents published during 1970s and 1980s on a secret press located in the basement of the home of Jan Krumpholc (1927-2010) in Radíkov, near the Czech city Olomouc. Mr. Krumpholc was a political prisoner, and his collection therefore offers valuable insight into the work of a persecuted oppositional figure. In 1950 he was sentenced in a show trial to imprisonment for 25 years for the offence of treason and being an enemy of the Republic. In 1969 he was released due to an amnesty. His secret press had a manual duplicating machine, on which religious and other prohibited literary works were copied. Various other printed papers were copied as well, including those dealing with violations of fundamental human rights in Czechoslovakia.
Provenance and cultural activities
The collection Illegal Printer Krumpholc contains documents that were printed during the 1970s and 1980s on an illegal press located in basement of the home of Jan Krumpholc (1927 – 2010) in Radíkov, near the Czech city Olomouc. Mr. Krumpholc was a former political prisoner. Documents from his press give insight into the functioning and thematic range of a small illegal printer focused on Catholic samizdat. Thanks to close relationships with Slovak religious activists, documents from his press were relocated to the newly opened Nation's Memory Institute after its establishment in 2004. It is not known how many resources lie behind the documents in the collection: in the years following the creation of the collection there were many acquisitions from different institutions.
In 1949 Krumpholc was sentenced in a show trial to 15 years for the act of treason and betrayal of the Republic. Later he established an illegal press in his basement, which contained a manual duplicating machine on which religious and political literature was copied, as well as other printed material dealing with the violation of basic human rights in Czechoslovakia. Publications dealing with the situation in Slovakia were secretly transported to Slovakia.
In the summer of 1979 the press was discovered by the ŠtB and Mr. Krumpholc (52) together with other 5 persons - padre František Lízna (38), padre Rudolf Smahel (29), Josef Adámek (65) and Jan Vlček (55) were accused of illegal enterprise activities, and the sixth, Jan Odstrčil (55), of theft of socialist property (the paper on which some of the literature was copied, which had been taken from the offices of the Olomouc archdiocese, the Vicar-General of which, Dr Antonín Veselý, had been a prominent “patriotic priest”, collaborating with the communist regime. Their sentence was imposed in 1981, after two years of detention. Krumpholc was additionally accused of making a profit from the illegal sale of literature, whereas Smahel and Lízna were also accused of currency offences arising from allegedly accepting the sum of DM 5000 from a West German monk, Joachim Witt, in July 1979. Mr. Krumpholc, then already invalid due to his detention in the 1950s, was sentenced to 3 years without suspension.
In connection with this case, padre Anton Srholec, Anton Semeš and Miroslav Lehký, who worked together with Jan Krumpholc and were active in samizdat distribution in Slovakia, were interrogated by the ŠtB. However, they were not sentenced.
In this case the criminal qualification was quite interesting. The Czechoslovak Socialist Republic became, in 1977, a signatory to the Helsinki Agreements, in which it committed itself to respect fundamental human rights and civil liberties, including freedom of the press and dissemination of information. To avoid criticism from abroad, the court in Ostrava qualified the Krumpholc case as an economic crime. Despite that, Czechoslovakia faced criticism from the West and the USA due to violation of the Helsinki Agreements. Thanks to Radio Free Europe and the Voice of America, this case was known to the general public in the West.
Thanks to doctors, Jan Krumpholc was declared unable to serve the sentence. After his release he arranged a new press, and continued to publish samizdat literature. Others had to serve their sentences.
Description of content
The collection contains various publications that were published by the illegal press of Krumpholc, and short overviews about acquisitions of the collection. Some of these samizdats were published periodically, e.g. Informace o Chartě 77 [Information about Charter 77], Informace o církvi [Information about the Church] both from years 1984, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990. Other items include translations from foreign samizdats dealing with different topics: samizdat Psychologie smrti [Psychology of death] (1980) deals with the event of death in Christianity and with after-death experiences: other samizdats include Další problémy související s regulací populace [Further problems concerning the regulation of population] (1987), Medicínské a morální aspekty umělého oplodnění [Medical and moral aspects of artificial insemination], and a translation of the lecture Výchova dieťaťa k meditácii [The child’s training in meditation].
Unordered Slovak samizdats are: Bratislavské listy [Bratislava Papers] (1989), Desaťročie duchovnej obnovy národa [Decade of spiritual restoration of the nation] (1987), Velehrad (1989), Boží ľud vo svete [God’s People in the World] (1986), Všetko, čo som postavil Márii [Mary, the mother of the Lord] (1985, 1989), Spomienky pútnika [Memories of the pilgrim], Katolícky mesačník [Catholic Monthly] (1988-1989), Vojna a svedomie [War and conscience], Ako meditovať [How to meditate], Vznik a vývoj sveta [The origin and evolution of the world], Mariánska hora v Levoči [Marian Mountain in Levoča], Úzkou bránou [Through the narrow gate], Orientácie [Orientations] (1973 - 1985), Nové Turíce s Máriou [New Pentecost with Mary] (1988 - 1989), and Historický zápisník [Historical notebook] (1986 - 1987).
- publications (books, newspapers, articles, press clippings): 10-99
Geographical scope of recent operation
Date of founding
Place of founding
Bratislava Miletičova 7, Slovakia
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Important events in the history of the collection
- completely open to the public
Part of network
Author(s) of this page
- Benčuriková, Martina
Čarnogurský, Ján , interview by Benčuriková, Martina, December 04, 2017. COURAGE Registry Oral History Collection
Last edited on: 2020-02-06 19:38:08