"One day, the secret police came to get me at school. It was at the turn of 1988, I was certainly in my final year of university. They had their talks on me having a couple months before my final exam and why would I spend my time with those strange people, losers, junkies etc. There were two of them - the good cop and the bad cop. It was stressful but there was no violence involved. It is not even an interesting story. They were asking me about some philosophical lecture that I attended three years earlier. When they took me along, I thought all was clear because I reckoned they knew what I had been doing the past two years. I was ready for things to get rough. When they released me five hours later, I couldn't believe that that was it. However, we used it as a confirmation that conspiracy and caution were the ways to go. They pressured me due to some lecture which had happen three years prior to that, and they left aside the fact that I was publishing samizdat and travelling to Poland."
"Our intention was to deal with local things; not only whatever was happening in Prague, to advanced philosophy and literature. We wanted to cover the region. It was also about us becoming ever more active. And all three of us - Ivo Mludek, Jaromír Piskoř and I - had a longing to produce a newspaper which would reflect the things we could see all around us."
"We went to look at the places. We chose a pathway near Čantoryje which was suitable because there were no watchtowers alongside it. We marked the border columns with numbers; we even had some coding system. Then I bought two identical backpacks in Poland for money we put together with the guys. I took one of them to Bielsko-Biala. We had a system based on postcards, sending greetings and including a cyphered date and time. From both sides of the border, people went up with identical backpacks. They'd sit on a pre-agreed stone, pull out a snack from their backpack. The other one would come, do the same, they'd share a couple words, each would take the other one's backpack and on they went."
I bet on people without a future. It was the best thing I could have done
Aleš Bartusek was born on 25 August 1965 in Ostrava. He grew up in Ludgeřovice in the Hlučín region. His father was a worker in the machine works in Ostrava, his mother worked as a nurse in a social care home in Hlučín. He had a happy and carefree childhood. While at high school, he began to realize the lack of freedom in a society under communist rule. He established contacts with dissidents from the Opava region and became involved in transcribing and distributing samizdat texts. In 1987-1988, alongside Ivo Mludek and Jaromír Piskoř, he published the samizdat magazine Protější chodník. In 1989, he took part in the production of the Severomoravská pasivita newspaper. He translated Polish samizdats and collaborated with Czechoslovak-Polish groupings. He also became involved in the creation of a Czech-Polish channel for smuggling exile literature across the border in the Beskydy mountains. After the Velvet Revolution, he worked in the Region newspaper. He got married to a Polish woman and moved with her to Opole.