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John Bok (1945) - Biography

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If you lose yourself, you become easy to manipulate

John Bok was born in 1945. His father was the Czechoslovak RAF pilot Bedřich Bok; his mother was an English woman named Florence Mary Spence; his parents moved to Czechoslovakia after the end of the war. The family suffered from persecution during the 1950s, and they were forced to move from place to place. State Security forced his father to collaborate with them as an agent-provocateur targeting potential emigrants. In 1968 his mother and sister decided to return to their homeland, but John Bok returned to Czechoslovakia, which began his period of interrogations and imprisonment in remand facilities, which lasted until 1989. Under the totality, John Bok was mostly employed in manual jobs, for instance he helped construct the Prague metro and he later worked as a metro driver. He signed Charter 77. After the Velvet Revolution he worked in the state administration for three years. In 1994 he and the writer Lenka Procházková founded the Šalamoun (Solomon) society, which tries to protect people who are unjustly prosecuted, to improve the conditions in prisons and to obtain presidential amnesties for people who have fallen prey to judicial error. John Bok is an activist who is known for holding hunger strikes; most recently he held a hunger strike for the resignation of former Czech prime minister Stanislav Gross. His a father of five children, he lives with his wife, the artist Jitka Boková.

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