Prague, Bartolomějská Street
Former secret police (StB) interrogation and detention prison · Bartolomějská 306/7, 110 00 Prague-Prague 1…
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StB was secret political police intended for hazing

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The State Security was established after the World War II as part of the restored Czechoslovakia’s security forces. It gradually got under the influence of the Communist Party and after the February 1948 coup it became an integral part of the newly installed communist totalitarian regime’s repressive apparatus. Its primary task was to gather information and act against persons whom it considered a threat to the state. After February 1948, the StB recruited many new members – the worker cadres. It had around 13,000 full-time employees by 1954. The StB had 75,000 secret collaborators in the mid-1980s. According to historians, it tracked and monitored almost 100,000 due to suspicion of what was referred to as the “anti-state activity”. In the late 1980s when the StB was directed by the feared Deputy Minister of the Interior Alojz Lorenc the military counter-intelligence had 969 members, the HQ had 1,575 and 1,292 confidents, and the regional directorates of the StB had 7,200 agents and 7,300 confidents and used 794 conspiracy and 538 temporary flats. When the StB was abolished in the spring of 1990, 469 out of the total 643 people were put in reserve from the II. Directorate – the “political police”. The democratic regime sentenced the former three top officials in October 1992. Alojz Lorenc was sentenced to four years of imprisonment, the former Head of the Main Counterintelligence Directorate Karel Vykypěl to three and half years, and the former Minister of the Interior František Kincl to three years. Lorenc as a Slovak national never served his sentence; his prosecution in Slovakia was stopped after the split of Czechoslovakia. This was allegedly due to the hesitation on the Czech side which, however, denies this. Slovak courts sentenced him to 15 months suspended in 2000. He later worked for the Žabka retail chain and for the Penta investment group. StB officers managed to shred a great part of the ‘live’ files – the documents regarding the pending proceedings – between the autumn of 1989 and the spring of 1990. In the sound clip, you are hearing former StB officer Jaromír Ulč who served in the 1980s until the abolition of the StB. He speaks about the methods he used.


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Structure of the communist security forces in the 1970 and 1980s

Structure of the communist security forces in the 1970 and 1980s

The I. Directorate of the SNB – the Main Intelligence Directorate (espionage abroad). The II. Directorate of the SNB – the Counterintelligence Directorate for Combating External Enemy (standard counter-espionage). The III. Directorate of the SNB – the Main Military Counterintelligence Directorate (the military CI). The IV., V. and VI. Directorates of the SNB were in charge of technicalities (monitoring, tapping etc.). The X. Directorate of the SNB - Counterintelligence Directorate for Combating Internal Enemy (the political police) was one of the most feared sections. The XI. Directorate of the SNB took care of the economy. The II., X. and XI. Directorates were merged in 1988 into the Main Directorate of the SNB Counterintelligence, with the cover designation the II. Directorate. It resided in the Masaryk Dormitories in Thákurova Street in Prague 6 – Dejvice.

Prague, Bartolomějská Street

Available in: English | Česky

The street acquired its oldest name, Benátská, after the poor local neighbourhood and the brothel called Benátky (Czech for “Venice”). The street was known as V Jeruzalémě or Jeruzalémská from the 14th to the early 18th centuries after Nový Jeruzalém – a preacher seminar and refuge for penitent women that Jan Milíč of Kroměříž founded on the parlour house lot in the latter half of the 14th century. Police buildings are in the location today. At the end of the 19th century, the Grey Sisters nuns took care of the sick and abandoned there. The convent was finally evicted in 1949. The detention prison of the StB was set up in the building known as "Kachlíkárna" (tile house) in 1947. In October 1952, it also housed the pre-trial custody prison of Prague I and after further organizational development it was finally shut down in September 1963. In 1950, it had a capacity of 120 inmates but it was grossly exceeded at times. Up to 45 inmates would at times be located in a cell intended for 12. The Kachlíkára also served as the main seat of the StB (Bartolomějská 14). Today, the building serves the Police of the Czech Republic. The administration of the StB housed in Bartolomějská Street 10. After the Velvet Revolution in 1989, the Institute for the Documentation and Investigation of Communist Crimes was established here. The investigation methods of the StB are comparable to those of the Gestapo. Corporal and mental torture was the standard method of interrogation. Tens of thousands of Czechoslovak citizens went through the building.

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