Mgr. Miroslav Anton

* 1959

  • "Everyone who experienced it has it under their skin and carries it to this day. It is such a historical event, there is no question about it, that it is unprecedented in modern history, that is, in the history of the Czech Republic today, or it is one of the highlights. And if anyone was as lucky as I was and my friends and acquaintances who were there, they will certainly confirm that the bond that was formed back then, thirty years ago, still exists today. That it's actually not possible to convey it to someone who didn't experience it. Less even so to the younger generation. And that in spite of the differences of opinion and political affiliation or political preferences that we have among ourselves, that bond is still there and will still be there. I've also said somewhere that I feel that it doesn't happen to so many people in history to be not only a witness, but an active participant in a major historical event like this. And that I'm very glad for that."

  • "In Pilsen there was, let's say, an underground community where we all knew each other. And when we get to November 89, it's not surprising that we then met on that square or that we were the founders of the Civic Forum. There were maybe a few dozen of us living in a similar style in Pilsen. After all, the literature, the samizdat, the music records, the things I was talking about, must have reached people somehow. So they got them from someone they knew and with whom we knew we were on the same boat. And in that year 1983, one of the key activities that was going on in the underground community here in Pilsen was the Damil record evenings, which were organized by Milan Kohout and his colleague. So these were informal meetings. They rented a hall somewhere from somebody they knew so that it wouldn't be too widely known, and they played music and in today's terms maybe did some happenings or something like that. Things were read that you couldn't normally get to. And this Milan Kohout organized an event in August '83 in Holubín, which is near Planá near Mariánské Lázně, on the private property of an acquaintance. It was a former school, he lived there at the time. And it was supposed to be a kind of unofficial culture event. There was mainly music played from records, and there were to be other theatre performances. I was going to have some kind of theatrical sketch there, so I was to be involved in the program in some way. Well, I wasn't involved, because the State Security intervened, which at that time had already had the event under surveillance, of course, and which later made an affair out of it. Apparently the comrades had to show some activity, so this came in handy for them, because it was actually the biggest, in their terms anti-state, event that was to take place in Holubín. I'll cut it short. Some of us arrived there a day earlier to prepare the stage and so on. The next day, when the people were supposed to arrive - probably not from the whole country, but from western Bohemia, because it had been known there - the place was already surrounded by soldiers, by State Security members... They dispersed the event. They registered all of us, of course."

  • "At about four o'clock in the morning my mum woke me up [and] she was crying terribly. And I remember to this day that she dropped that sentence... I didn't know what was happening. A ten-year-old boy being woken up by his mum at four o'clock in the morning crying. And she said one sentence: 'We were attacked by the Russians.' Because the reports that Allied troops had entered Czechoslovakia, as they were officially called, were first broadcast sometime around midnight. And even before that, the radio had already warned that it was going to broadcast an important message. So they actually learned sometime during the night that it was like this. And it wasn't long after that that the tanks started rumbling around Pilsen. But I don't remember [that] because the very next day my parents picked us up. We already had a car at that time. Mind you, that was not such a common thing either. And they drove us back to Vrčeň, where we spent the rest of the holidays. And the other impression that I remember still today is that when we were arriving in Vrčeň, we drove through Nepomuk, because you can go through Nepomuk or you can take a kind of a side road through the monastery. Anyway, if you go down a little bit before Nepomuk, the Green Mountain appears in front of you. The Green Mountain Castle, we all know, the Black Barons [book], the Green Mountain Manuscript. And there, in the fields below Green Mountain, were three Russian tanks, their barrels raised, pointing at Green Mountain, because there was a military garrison on Green Mountain at that time."

  • "I actually read through those beginnings and how a child perceives that time. Because I used to go to the library at least once a week, I would bring back piles of books, and pretty soon I started to jump from that childhood reading, starting with fairy tales, and into things that came out then. So I knew quite early on, dare I say, at the age of ten, eleven, that the World War II had not been just the Soviet Union that had liberated us, as we were drilled into our heads in primary school. But I knew that there had been something called the Western Front, that the war had not ended on May 9, 1945, as we were also drilled into our heads in school, but a day earlier. That there had been a Western Front, that there had been a war in the Pacific, where the Americans and the Japanese had fought until August 1945, and so on and so forth. That there had been a resistance, not just the Communist resistance, that there had been our airmen in England who were idols to us, to the boys of those days. So for my generation, those idols were not only Old Shatterhand and Vinnetou. That's when those famous movies came out, now long ago movies for elderly, with Pierre Brice and Lex Barker. So it was a kind of initiation thing, let's say. Then the previously mentioned Jaroslav Foglar, and then the Western airmen. And because I lived in Pilsen, of course, at that time we knew and could talk again about the fact that Pilsen had not been liberated by the Soviet army, but by the Americans."

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Everyone who experienced November 89 has it under their skin and carries it with them today

Period portrait of Miroslav Anton
Period portrait of Miroslav Anton
zdroj: Witness´s archive

Miroslav Anton was born on 12 January 1959 in the Pilsen maternity hospital. The family lived in the village of Vrčeň near Nepomuk, then moved to the Slovany quarter of Pilsen. At the beginning of the 1960s he attended the 13th Primary Nine-Year School in Houškova Street, where a church grammar school was later established. From the moment he learned to read, he was strongly influenced by literature. In 1968 he joined the renewed Scouting. At that time he also experienced the invasion of the Warsaw Pact troops as a ten-year-old boy. In order to get to grammar school, he had to formally join the Pioneer organization. He failed to be admitted to the grammar school, so in 1973 he joined the Škoda factory as a milling engineer. He graduated from the secondary vocational school in Škoda. In 1983, he completed a four-year course at the Faculty of Education specializing in primary school teaching with extended physical education. Shortly after graduation, he was interrogated by State Security for his participation in an „anti-state“ event in Holubín organized by Milan Kohout. He then worked in the Pilsen branch of the state-owned company Nábytek Cheb, after which he was hired as a beginner in the theatre in Karlovy Vary. In the spring of 1984 he started his military service in Terezín. After a year he returned to the Karlovy Vary theatre, where he stayed until June 1989. Then he worked as a regional methodologist at the regional cultural centre in Pilsen. In 1989, he signed a petition of cultural workers for the release of Václav Havel from prison and the declaration Several Sentences. He participated in meetings uniting students and theatre workers protesting against the regime, co-founded the Civic Forum and actively participated in the general strike of 27 November 1989. He then worked as an editor and later as editor-in-chief of Czechoslovak Radio Pilsen, then as a freelance cultural editor and also as a director and editor. In 1990-1994, he was a member of the Pilsen City Council, and was also active in the association Děkujeme, odejděte [Thank you, leave, please]! In 2012 he started working in the field of promotion at the Diocesan Charity of Pilsen.