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Jiřina Šiklová (1935) - Biography


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It was worth getting locked up

Jiřina Šiklová, née Heroldová, was born on 17 June 1935 in Prague into the family of a medical doctor and a teacher. In 1953, she graduated from a grammar school and then went on to study history and philosophy at the Faculty of Philosophy, Charles University in Prague. In 1956, after the XX. Congress of the Soviet Communist Party and the critique of the Stalinist regime, she joined the Communist Party. In the mid-60s, she co-founded the Department of Sociology at Faculty of Philosophy. In 1968, she actively participated in university life, supporting reform tendencies within the Party. She supported students in their strike in November 1969, as well as after Jan Palach's self-immolation a couple months earlier. She left the party the same year and was fired from the faculty. She worked as a cleaner, educated herself individually and consulted with students. In early 1970s, she found a job as a social worker at the Geriatric Department of Thomayer Hospital in Prague where she anonymously helped with research projects. In parallel, she worked alongside Petr Pithart in smuggling illegal literature abroad and back to Czechoslovakia. In 1977, she became the main liaison for this activity, which she did up until the group's exposure in 1981. Jiřina Šiklová was accused of subversion. After her release in 1982, she resumed literature smuggling with Vilém Prečan and Wolfgang Scheuer. After the 1989 revolution, she began lecturing once again and initiated the establishment of the Department of Social Work at the Faculty of Philosophy in Prague, which she chaired until 2000. She also established the Prague Center and Library of Gender Studies.

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