Jiří Beran

* 1955  

  • “It was summer, maybe you learnt in school that on the 21st of August 1968 Russian tanks arrived, but for someone who wasn't there it's just a date. Back then, I was in Slovakia with my father, we were in High Tatra mountains and lived in a beautiful village under Tatra mountains. I was thirteen and one morning, very early, there was a knock on the door and the gentleman with whom we'd been staying answered. He was a senior teacher, his name was Ján Michalko, a really nice, elderly man that I respected. And suddenly I saw him in a white nightshirt, with a white hat with a small pompom, which looked ridiculous to me, I was laughing. And he said in a serious tone, with a radio next to his ear: “Doctor, it is bad, the Russians are here!” My father froze and said: “What do you mean, the Russians are here?” “Occupation, come downstairs to watch the TV.” And so we watched the TV and my father said: “I knew it would all end badly.” And really, in the village where we lived, behind the village was the road connecting Košice and Žilina, it was not a highway back then, just a first-class main road that goes under the Tatra mountains. And that place was already roaring with heavy vehicles, transporters, with ten, fifteen metres between them – they weren't tanks, those would have destroyed the road, but they were heavy vehicles, armoured personal carriers, I think. And these heavy vehicles would sometimes be pulling a cannon or something and it was a huge noise. And these vehicles, with about ten metres of distance between them, kept coming maybe for a week.”

  • “You were always afraid of something. For instance, I know I could never make it through torture. I know I couldn't stand it, I know I would have a hard time being in prison with my family left to fend for themselves. I did certain things like making copies of literature, printing banned literature. Here, in my basement under the coal, I had a plastic bag with certain publications that I regularly gave to certain people, distributed to people. Someone came to get five copies of Lidové noviny, someone came for Informace o církvi. They were unpublished materials. Which I had hidden in my basement under coal for no reason. Someone had those at home and could be afraid of a house search. I wasn't afraid of having my house searched because I had it stored in the basement but still, sometimes you were perhaps more afraid than necessary.”

  • “We had our wedding in 1975, and as religious people, it was important for us to have the wedding in a church. We were looking forward to it and spent half a year preparing. Obviously one could not have a wedding ceremony in a church only, you had to go to the municipal office for the main wedding, so to speak. And what was going on in the church, that was considered private business. But I don't consider religion to be a private thing, I think it should overlap with the other area too. And so we wanted to somehow express that we were going to get married in a church and that we didn't take the municipal office wedding too seriously. So it was just us and the witnesses at that wedding, that's four people. And the office worker, when she saw me, in some polyester trousers and a striped pullover, she said: “This is how you want to present yourself before a state authority?” I said: “Yes.” My wife was in a pretty skirt, with a pretty blouse. “Alright. Do you have your rings?” “Nah, we won't have those until tomorrow's church wedding.” “And does the bride have her bouquet?” “Nah, the bouquet is being made right now, it'll also be ready tomorrow for the church.” And so the wedding went on silently, the office workers were shaking their heads a little, we were nevertheless married and could have a normal wedding in the church.”

  • Celé nahrávky
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    U pamětníka doma, Praha 7, 29.03.2017

    (audio)
    délka: 54:00
    nahrávka pořízena v rámci projektu The Stories of Our Neigbours
Celé nahrávky jsou k dispozici pouze pro přihlášené uživatele.

Only a dumb person makes the same mistake twice

Jiří Beran 2017
Jiří Beran 2017
zdroj: archiv účastníků projektu PNS

Jiří Beran was born on the 11th of March 1955 into a Catholic family in the Prague neighbourhood called Letná. His mother‘s brother was the poet František Hrubín. Jiří studied at a graphic high school and worked in printers and publishing houses. During the communist era he participated in printing and distribution of unofficial literature. In 1989 he was actively involved in the activities of the Civic Forum. Today he is the deacon of the Roman Catholic parish of St Anthony in Holešovice, Prague.