Věra Bartošková

* 1946

  • "I mean, sometimes it could have broken Pavel's neck and endangered the existence of our family. So I can tell you that in Osek, Pavel managed to invite art restorers and find the money to restore the ceiling in the monastery in Osek, where the Hrabišics, the founders of Osek - the lords of Rýzmburk - were. When the work was finished, the monastery was closed, but he invited the public and organized a small concert. He presented everything with great enthusiasm. Awful and lengthy troubles followed. He was summoned at the district party committee. There he was disgraced and had to leave the heritage conservation field. As he was inclined towards writing, an opportunity rose to join the newspaper Průboj and he took up journalism. He was kicked out of the heritage conservation because of this, but there were many similar situations where he was on the edge."

  • "That was extraordinary in the final year, when the demonstrations were already underway. In that year [1989], the doctors were already speaking openly. That was really something, because they were openly talking about how full their surgeries were, what effects and impacts [the bad environment] was having. Anyone who spoke out like that was taking a chance on what was going to happen next. And that's what we were risking, too. It was dramatic in the newsroom, we were in chargé of a radio station, in addition to the magazine, where we were publishing information. We were subordinate to the city administration, but we were also with the people, so we were reporting on all the goings-on. And we were getting into a sharp clash with the city hall. And I said we were going with the people. It was topical news. There were moments, if [the regime] hadn't changed, I could have lost my job. For example, I got a call from the city and they said they were putting militiamen at the organizations under their administration to protect them and us. And I said I didn't want militiamen. Even though we were a tight team, a good team, nobody dared to decide. They came to me to ask what they should do. So I decided."

  • "I was working in the culture centre at the time, I was the manager there in Duchcov. At that time the premises of the culture centre were being decorated and the decorators took a portrait of Lenin and put it at the men's toilet. It was an awful scandal because one of the communist leaders stirred things up. I thought to myself, the way things were happening, that if it had been the fifties, I would have ended up under the guillotine. It was an unbelievable affair. They summoned me, there were about 20 people there, it was my first job here in the north. They made me a total outcast, said how could I dare, and literally fired me from work without notice, immediately. But then a lady at the city hall advised me, she didn´t have to, that a law said that if you had small children you couldn't be fired without notice. So it went to court. And what happened? The decorators wrote a wonderful letter saying that it wasn't true, that I'd put it there – Lenin, that they'd put it there because they wanted to protect it, because the corridors were being painted. That it was a good thing to do and that they didn't know why this was happening. And that I had nothing to do with it. The letter saved me, the decorators signed it. So there was a trial, there was only a representative of the city hall there, and in the end they sorted it out. As months had passed since the dismissal, that they had to give me my money back and take the dismissal back, but I said I wouldn´t be going back there."

  • Celé nahrávky
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    Ústí nad Labem, 31.05.2022

    délka: 01:49:27
    nahrávka pořízena v rámci projektu Příběhy regionu - Ústecký kraj
Celé nahrávky jsou k dispozici pouze pro přihlášené uživatele.

The forests around Teplice reminded me of a dying horse

With daughter Šárka and son Matouš, 1975
With daughter Šárka and son Matouš, 1975
zdroj: Witness´s archive

Věra Bartošková was born on 27 September 1946 in Prague. Her father Julius Bartošek alias Ilja Bart was a deeply left-wing oriented poet and translator. Her mother Věra Bartošková, née Kalašová, was a housewife. Witness spent her childhood in Prague‘s Smíchov district, where she attended primary and secondary school. In 1968 she was admitted to the Faculty of Social Sciences and Journalism at Charles University. In 1973, two years younger brother Ilja succumbed to a serious illness, and subsequently also her father died. In Duchcov she met her future husband Pavel Koukal, who was working at the Heritage Institute, and married him in 1975. They have two children together. After her maternity leave, she started working as a manager at the culture centre in Duchcov. She left her job a year later and became a journalist. She was interested in culture and ecology. In 1986, she managed to convince the communist authorities to organize a festival of films with ecological themes. The festival sparked ecological demonstrations in Teplice in 1989. After the Velvet Revolution she was at the very beginning of many ecological activities and at the rescue of monuments such as the Jezeří Castle. She has been constantly involved in ecology and writing poetry, and has published several collections of poems. In 2022 she was living in Duchcov.