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Mgr. Naděžda Dočekalová (1940) - Biography

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You will not go to study journalism, you are a daughter of a Russian immigrant

Naděžda Dočekalová, née Kestřánková, was born December 16, 1940 in Chlumec nad Cidlinou into a family of a forest engineer Boris Kestřánek. She had sister Věra, who was one and a half years younger, and brother Boris, who was twelve years younger. The family history reaches back to Russia, where the Kestřánek family went in the 19th century from southern Bohemia in order to establish a brewery there. They eventually stayed and continued living there and it was only the generation of Naděžda's Czech-Russian grandparents who re-emigrated to Czechoslovakia. Their return to Czechoslovakia was made possible thanks to their son Boris, who got an opportunity to leave the Bolshevik Russia after the establishment of Czechoslovakia and to complete his studies at a Russian grammar school in Moravská Třebová. Boris worked as a forest engineer for Count Kinský. After the end of WWII the family feared that they would be forcibly repatriated back to the USSR by the Soviet counter-intelligence organization SMERSH. Fearing communist persecution, Boris Kestřánek joined the Communist Party after 1948, but attitude toward the Party was a conflicting one. As a daughter of a "Russian immigrant," Naděžda's personal-political assessment was not too favorable and she did not receive a recommendation to study journalism as she wished, but she was allowed to study library and information science. She worked in the Institute of Scientific and Technical Information in Prague. She and her husband were preparing to emigrate to Switzerland in 1969, but she eventually did not do leave the country because of her elderly grandmother Alexandra. Grandmother Alexandra already considered Czechoslovakia her homeland and she suffered during the period after the invasion of the Warsaw Pact armies to Czechoslovakia in August 1968 because people began turning away from her due to her Russian nationality. In November 1989, Naděžda's son Michal, present-day director of the drama ensemble of the National Theatre, became the leader of the students' strike at the Theatre Faculty of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague (DAMU).

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