Horská Kvilda
Šumava National Park, Horská Kvilda 2, 385 01 Horská Kvilda, Czech Republic
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They didn’t want a Czech priest

Available in: English | Česky

Priest Johannes John from Rejštejn took care of the German population of Horská Kvilda. He set up a chapel for them in an abandoned house near the school building. During his services, the windows were opened and the men stood outside because they wouldn’t fit inside the building. It was on a Saturday when Karel Fořt got a phone call from Father John, asking him if he could hold the Sunday Mass as well as all the other services in Horská Kvilda for him: “I wanted to ask him something but he hung up and no one would answer the phone anymore. As I found out later, they were just arresting him at that point because he had helped some people to flee across the border.” On Sunday, Father Fořt thus arrived at Horská Kvilda but found the chapel empty. He went to the pub and asked the innkeeper what was going on. “And he said: ‘oh, they’re not going to come to your service. They don’t like that their German priest is in jail and was replaced by a Czech,'” he recalled. The innkeeper then sent him to a local midwife who enjoyed great respect among the community of the Germans in Horská Kvilda. The old Klostermannová knew who he was but didn’t want to talk to him at first. He started to speak German to her and she then asked him: “Wann kommen Sie wieder? When will you come again?” “Next Sunday, but you have to come as well. Ja, wir kommen,” she said. Next Sunday, the chapel was crammed. Karel Fořt preached in German: “You’ve asked me: ‘Wer bist du? Well, I’m Czech, you know? And it’s just about the same crime like when you’re German.”

Karel Fořt

Karel Fořt

The catholic priest and editor of Radio Free Europe, Monsignor Karel Fořt, was born on November 8, 1921, in Rožmitál pod Třemšínem and spent his childhood in Vodňany and Horaždovice. He attended grammar school in Strakonice and České Budějovice. In 1940, he was arrested by the Gestapo and briefly imprisoned. In 1941, he joined a Catholic seminary. The following year, he was taken to forced labor in Linz, where he met face to face with Adolf Hitler. After the war, he completed his theological studies and in 1948 he was ordained a priest. He worked at the rectory in Vimperk and toured the secluded and abandoned parishes of Šumava. At the last moment, he was warned about the intention of the secret state police that wanted to arrest him and stage a trumped-up show trial in connection with a murder that had taken place in the area. He escaped on a motorcycle across the border. He served as a priest in Algeria, where he experienced the anti-French uprisings and civil war. Eventually, he settled in Munich, where he served as a priest to his Czech countrymen and also worked as a journalist for Radio Free Europe. After 1989, he lived alternately in Munich and in České Budějovice. He died on January 21, 2014, at the age of 93.

Horská Kvilda

Available in: English | Česky

Horská Kvilda, (Innergefild in German), is one of the highest-altitude villages in the Czech Republic, (it is situated 1,070 meters above the sea level). It consists of cottages scattered throughout a forest. There are about 30 of them to be found in the village today. It is located in the Šumava highlands with its many typical wetlands. The Hamerský potok Creek runs through the village. The first reference to this village is dated to 1577. Traditionally, most of the population had German origins. It is said that the relatives of Karel Klostermann also lived here. In addition, Horská Kvilda is interesting from a meteorological point of view because it is also a frost basin. It isn’t unusual that the temperature drops below zero even in the summer here whereby it attains the status of one of the coldest places in our country. At the last census, (2011), the village counted 98 inhabitants, which three-fold increase compared to 1998.

Horská Kvilda

On this place

A poacher turned teacher

A poacher turned teacher

Karel Fořt
They didn’t want a Czech priest

They didn’t want a Czech priest

Karel Fořt
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