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Olga Masníková (1931) - Biography

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My husband first saw me in dancing lessons led by the deaf dancer Mobi Urbanová


Mrs. Olga Masníková, née Čálková, was born June 28, 1931 in Prague-Košíře as the second of seven siblings. As a little girl she nearly lost her hearing after suffering from otitis and in 1937 she was thus admitted to the Prague Private Institute for the Deaf-Mute in Smíchov in Holečkova Street. She quite enjoyed going to this school. Some teachers were not permitting the children to use the sign language, and when they noticed that the children were using it to communicate with each other, the children had to pay penalties, but on the other hand there were also Catholic nuns who worked in the school and who tolerated the sign language. Some of them also used it to communicate with the children, and they were very kind to them.

All the time during her elementary school and vocational school studies, Olga was attending dance lessons led by the famous hearing-impaired dancer Mobi Urbanová. She also met her future husband there. The girls were dancing in a gym and there was a balcony from which other people were able to watch them. Boris Masník, her husband-to-be, was among them. He fell in love with her immediately, and as soon as Olga turned eighteen, they married and they lived together happily for sixty-two years until his death. Boris Masník was a famous animator and together with his two brothers he established the first Czech studio of animated film called Bratři v Triku (‘Brothers in T-shirts'). He worked as an animator for several decades. Although Olga Masníková had learnt the seamstress's trade, she never pursued this profession. At first she worked in the Vítkovice Ironworks, and after moving to Prague she spent long fifty years doing interpreting and administrative work for the Union of the Handicapped, and later for the Prague branch of the Union for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.

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