Identification of the skeletal remains of the Czech communist regime crime victim, priest Josef Toufar

Forensic Sci Int. 2018 Oct:291:e13-e17. doi: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2018.07.002. Epub 2018 Jul 20.


Parish priest Josef Toufar died as a direct consequence of torture committed by Communist State Security Service agents, forcing him to confess that "miraculous" movement of crucifix above the main altar during the Holy Mass held in the Roman-Catholic church in Číhošť was staged by using a technical equipment. Josef Toufar was presumably buried in a mass grave at the cemetery in Prague-Ďáblice under a false name Josef Zouhar. In 2013 the Czech Bishops' Conference grant an approval to begin the process of his beatification. However, the beatification required the exhumation and identification of the remains. In this case report, we describe the process of searching, exhumation, and the combined A-STR/Y-STR DNA analysis of remains of Pater Josef Toufar. His identification was feasible due to kinship analysis: buccal swabs of three family members (niece, grand-niece, and grand-nephew) were available for testing.

Keywords: DNA; Exhumation; Personal identification; Totalitarianism; Victim.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Body Remains*
  • Burial
  • Chromosomes, Human, Y*
  • Clergy
  • Communism
  • Crime Victims*
  • Czech Republic
  • DNA Fingerprinting / methods*
  • Exhumation
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Microsatellite Repeats*
  • Pedigree
  • Torture