Press Advisories

4. 8. 201014:12

Petr Nečas' Address at Milan Paumer's Funeral

Milan Paumer was and will always be a courageous and fair man for me, even in situations where such a position meant real danger.

He did not face an abstract, academic threat, but the completely real danger of being followed, physical pressure, imprisonment and even death. Real historical facts on the victims of labour camps, communist prisons as well as people shot while fleeing clearly give evidence of this.

Milan Paumer's decision to resist this oppression and leave life under totalitarianism had the character of a heroic decision in the positive sense of the term.

A number of historians today look upon Milan Paumer and the Mašín brothers as controversial figures. They reproach them for the human victims their escape for the border unfortunately brought.
I consider such an explanation to be not completely correct and unfair. I am convinced that none of us has the right to judge, from the point of view of today's perception of the reality of the time, whether Milan Paumer and the Mašín brothers' group chose the correct or incorrect means.

Life under totalitarianism at the end of the 1940s and the beginning of the 1950s was a life in slavery and involuntary servitude. We are born into this world as free people, and as free people we have the right to fight against our enslavement or forced servitude by truly every means.

They decided at a given time. Face to face against the aforementioned threat. At a time when there was no freedom. In a situation where they could either resign to it, or join the shared passive resistance to the totalitarian regime, or turn and face it. They chose the latter. They faced it with arms in hand, which they considered the only solution. If we reject this stand, we cast doubt on the moral value of all other resistance movements. This could include the anti-Nazi resistance between September 1938 and September 1939, which was carried out outside a state of war, and even against the anti-fascist resistance during World War II. Communism declared war on its own citizens, and Milan Paumer fought for the freedom of our country against totalitarian dictatorship.

I consider it very important for coming to terms with our own history, and therefore for our path to the future, that the fate of Milan Paumer and the Mašín brothers not be forgotten. That it does not disappear from memory. In its way, that would be even more brutal than if we returned to the lives of these people even in very problematic discussions.

The dispute among historians about the Mašín brothers and Milan Paumer could instead be a reminder of our limited human possibilities. The proverbial last judgment, God's judgment, does not fall to any of us.

But please allow me to express my personal faith, hope and conviction. Before this court, Mr. Milan Paumer will without a doubt stand his ground.