Canonization proceedings

Curriculum Vitae Drbola

Childhood and studies
Václav Drbola was born on 16th October 1912 in Starovičky near Hustopeče u Brna as the eldest son of Václav and Růžena Drbola. Mr and Mrs Drbola had seven children altogether. After graduating from elementary school, he studied at a grammar school in Hustopeče. Afterwards, he entered a seminary in Brno and he studied theology. On 5th July 1938, he was ordained a priest by bishop Josef Kupka in Brno. He joined church administration by becoming a chaplain in Slavkov u Brna in September 1938. When the World War II began, he was appointed a chaplain in Čučice and from 1943 he worked as a chaplain in Bučovice.
Chaplain in Bučovice
In the 1940’s there worked several priests in Bučovice. Chaplain Drbola took care of the religious education in the villages attached to the parish. However, he was also actively engaged inlocal societies and in the Czechoslovak People’s Party. Thanks to his peaceful, selfless but also tough nature, he was favoured and respected in his priesthood. Except for church and religion classes he met with the parishioners above all in the Catholic House where the activities of Society of Catholic Journeymen and the local Club Orel were concentrated. Václav Drbola seemed to be a good administrator because he was able to lead both these societies. Apart from theatre plays, he prepared for example acelebration of the priestly jubilee for the Bučovice dean František Rašek, with one of the guests being the Brno bishop Karel Skoupý. One of Drbola’s hobbies was alsocollecting paintings; he was devoted to fine arts. It was in Bučovice, where Václav Drbola was affected by the radical changes brought by the coup ofFebruary 1948. Since then the Bučovice chaplain had been observed by the communist officials because his past activities in public lifemade him a person inconvenient for the regime. After a time he ceased to be evaluated so because he did not act publically against the Communist regime. However, in June 1949, Václav Drbola, same as Jan Bula, did not hesitate to read theCircular for the Catholic clergy and the believers released by the bishops, which; however, was banished by the state. The Bučovice chaplain’s inner attitude to the regime of the time and the communist officials is evident also in the manuscript from February 1950 called History of the affairs of the Society of Catholic Journeymen in Bučovice from the events of February 1948.In this document, chaplain Drbola depicted his efforts of a rescue of the Society from elimination. His effort to proceed legally was to no use. A complaint against the assessment of the County National Committee in Brno did not help as wellbecause the Administrative Court in Bratislava rejected it. The catholic society “had to be” eliminated for its focus on work with youth as well as for the opportunity of confiscating its property.
In the Babice parish
Suddenly, in 1950, Václav Drbola was transferred to Babice parish near Lesonice. Because the local pastor Arnošt Poláček was arrested for “anti-state activities”, Václav Drbola was ordained a chaplain and administrator of the parish in Babice from 1st March 1951, and he started immediately. Drbola, as Babice administrator, took care of the entrusted parish carefully, so that he could hand it back in order to pastor Poláček when he comes back to Babice. He performed his priestly duties, taught religious education at the local school and in the villages attached to the parish, he took care of the presbytery’s management and he began with the reconstruction of the organ in the village church. Václav Drbola worked in Babice at the times when the Communist party struggled intensively to gain control of church and to bring agriculture under collective control. Both these endeavours; however, met with disapproval of some of the Czechoslovak citizens. Moreover, at the South-west of Moravia, the effort for establishing Communist regime met with defiance of resistance groups that continued in its activities from World War II. Nevertheless, these groups soon got under control of the Communist Secret Police – State Security. One of the experienced resistance fighters from the time of the Nazi occupation and an opponent of the Communist regime was a farmer Antonín Plichta from Šebkovice. Antonín Plichta, being a Babice parishioner, informed the administrator Drbola about his efforts. After the arrival of Ladislav Malý to the area of Třebíč and Moravské Budějovice in February 1951, the situation in the region changed radically. Ladislav Malý, an adventurer and a drunkard, apparently unconsciously controlled by the State Security, compromised more and more people and he started to provoke armed sabotage actions. After a gunfight in Heraltice there was an extensive arresting. One of the arrested was a classmate of Ladislav Malý – a Rokytnice administrator Jan Bula. Antonín Plichta, on the other hand, escaped his arrest and he hid in a nearby Cidlina. Václav Drbola soon found out that one of his parishioners is in a hiding place and because he regarded him as a just man he provided him with clothes and food supplies. In mid May 1951, Mrs Dvořáková revealed to Václav Drbola that she keeps a man in a hiding place at her place in Loukovice. Reportedly, this man was an agent from the West who rescued with his unit the Prague archbishop Josef Beran from internment. Administrator Drbola set out to Loukovice where he met with a stranger who was introduced to him as Malý from Stareč. Ladislav Malý attracted Drbola’s attention by his tale about a kidnap of the archbishop Beran and by his reported request of a reliable confessor, which he had already used in his meeting with Jan Bula. It was then that Václav Drbola told Malý that he knows about Antonín Plichta’s hiding place. Later, Malý went to see him. Václav Drbola and Ladislav Malý met several more times. The Babice administrator; however, started to hesitate if he could trust this man. At that time he also informed about the reported Western agent and archbishop’s deliverer his fellow priests from Jaroměřice nad Rokytnou who warned him – from their experience with the arrest of Jan Bula – against Ladislav Malý. Soon after, Václav Drbola was arrested. It happenedearly in the morning on 17th June 1951.For the motion to be composed it was sufficient that the suspect, Václav Drbola, knew about the resistance units in the county. These units; however, had been, for some time already, watched carefully by the members of the State Security. The sudden arrest of the Babice administrator caused a great surprise. The citizens of the village could find only one possible reason for the arrest and that was his absence at the peace march.
Investigation, sentence and execution
Concerning Václav Drbola, the same as in Jan Bula’s case, the reasons for arrest and accusation were looked for only during the investigation itself. A murder of three officials of the National Committee in Babice at night on 2nd July 1951 enabled that there were some people chosen from the group of the arrested. These people should not have been judged as enemies of the regime; however, rather as people who knew about the perpetrators of the criminal act. Moreover, Václav Drbola who worked in Babice itself and who lived nearby the school was forced to confess that he had instigated the murder. He should have confessed to a crime which was committed two weeks after his arrest and about which he was actually informed when he already had been in prison. Witnesses who happened to be in Jihlava prison at the time of the investigation of Václav Drbola later reported that they heard the wailing of the tortured priest. Václav Drbola was violently forced to learn a requested script for the judicial hearing during which he was asked, “Mr defendant, do you feel guilty that you have become one of the initiators of the murder?” He answered thefollowing, “I am conscious of the fact and I also admit it that I have been one of them who induced the terrorist act which was committed on these people.” The trial was prepared in a great haste for 12th to 14th July 1951. Nevertheless, the secretariat of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia decided about the penalization of the accused even before these hearings actually happened. Václav Drbola was sentenced to death by the senate of the State Court Brno. His crimes were high treason and instigation of a murder. His appeal against the sentence was rejected and the execution was performed after five o’clock in the morning on 3rd August 1951. Václav Drbola could not say goodbye to his closest even by writing letters, which was later enabled to Jan Bula. Drbola’s remains were cremated and secretly deposited at the Central cemetery in Brno. At the end of 1960’s the urn with his ashes was handed over to his relatives and later it was deposited in the family’s grave in Starovičky.
Now, it is obvious that the capital punishment was given to both Jan Bula and Václav Drbola because they were priests. The judiciary of that time did not serve justice; however, it was a “gearbox” of the Communist party that wanted to discredit specific clergyman, and thus the whole church. To this purpose should serve also the instigative propaganda campaign which started before Drbola’s conviction. In collectively written resolutions, the misinformed public demandeddisproportionate punishments above all for the accused priests. Moreover, the Brno bishop Karel Skoupý was intentionally given twisted information about the “criminal activities” of the priests. On the basis of these facts,he released an Ordinary circular in which he declared a punishment of demotion for Václav Drbola and František Pařil, a priest judged together with Drbola.This circular; however, was not relevant from the point of view of the ecclesiastical law. On the other hand, at the time of the conviction of Václav Drbola there were people who were well informed about the life of the priest and theyregarded his proceedings as fabricated and his death as martyrdom for faith. This attitude was evident also from the broadcasting of the Radio station Vaticana on 16th July 1951,“We do not know the real motive of the capital punishment for the catholic priests and laymen. And we will not be informed about it in the official news. We can hardly think that the motive was political because priests are discouraged from any such activity by legitimate ecclesiastical authorities and the Vatican radio. Their faith and reason forbid it. If they were convicted in connection with the defence of the inherent and inalienable law of a human being, they should be considered true martyrs…”

You know that the path I trod was not easy; that it was rather filled with hawthorns.Jan Bula