Karel Bloch

* 1965

  • "Most of it came from Klamovka. That was the number one source. When I stayed in Prague long enough on an assignment, one project would end in one district and another would start elsewhere. I spent most of the time in Prague, really. Fík [Jiří Fiala], Lojza and me used to come to Klamovka. Čuňas [František Stárek] would bring Voknoviny, so fresh from the presses that we got dirty with the ink. I'd always go: 'Give me a stash for Mariánské and a stash for Plzenec.'" - "How did the transfer work?" - "The cops never picked me up with it and I always brought it to Plzenec. I told Venca: 'Look, I'll hand it to you out the coach window when I arrive on a slow train.' Or we met in Plzenec, or in Plzeň. I used to go to Plzeň a lot. In Mariánské, all you had to do was hand it over to Metud [Vladimír Svoboda] and it was all over the town - in pubs, with friends. Everyone always got more than one copy because they had someone to give it to. Or they were instructed: 'Here's one copy, read it and then make sure to pass it on.'"

  • "...but at an event where we were just having a listening party. I brought a suitcase full of tapes we got from Mikuláš [Chadima] and Cíba [Petr Cibulka]. We were happily playing them and debating. Regulars used to frequent the place, but there must have been a secret police officer or an active idiot sitting among them. After some time, the entire squad arrived, led by Captain Zoubek again. Me, Vrah [Václav Vlach] and the bartender ended up at the police station in Starý Plzenec. Fortunately, they just kicked our asses and kicked us out, but they took the case full of tapes from me. About a week or two later, I got a summons to come to the station to pick it up. The StB office was in Plzeň, somewhere by the river near the swimming pool. They wanted me to spill some beans. First, a nice man came in; Zoubek pretended to be nice. Then a lieutenant stormed in and made himself look like a terrible tough guy. And I kind of laughed at them. They kicked my ass and kicked me out again. They still gave me the suitcase, though, so I was thinking, good, and I didn't pay much attention as they advised me that all the recordings had been impaired. When I played them at home... They had somehow magnetised the tapes. The way the tape is wound on the reel, there's some metal protrusions over it. Only half of each tape wind was magnetized. I put it on, and there was nothing. Suddenly, it started playing out of nowhere, and then it cut out again. The entire tape was like that. And it was brilliant of them! After that, I didn't have to make loops for our shows. I just took a tape and that made for cool background sound before we went onstage. I put that on, and it would make sounds out of the blue. Over and over. Well done, StB!"

  • Celé nahrávky
  • 1

    Mariánské Lázně, 20.05.2023

    délka: 01:26:28
Celé nahrávky jsou k dispozici pouze pro přihlášené uživatele.

Fresh samizdat publications went from Klamovka to Mariánské Lázně

Karel Bloch in 1988
Karel Bloch in 1988
zdroj: Witness's archive

Karel Bloch was born in Strakonice on 7 December 1965. In 1966, the family moved to Mariánské Lázně where he grew up. His father was a forestry expert and his mother was a teacher and later the headmaster in a preschool. Having completed primary school, he applied for studies at a technical high school in Ostrov nad Ohří but was not admitted. He enrolled at a telecommunications vocational school in Tábor and graduated in 1984. He served in the military in 1985-1986, first in Kolín and then with a radio-electronic warfare unit in Český Krumlov. While in the army, he took part in the production of a theatre show and founded the band Mozková sondáž, playing the guitar and bass. Following his military service, he worked at Montážní podnik spojů Praha; the job included trips to various sites in Czechia. During the latter half of the 1980s, he was actively involved in the Mariánské Lázně and West Bohemian underground movement. He attended the concerts of local bands, such as Patologický orchestr and Litinovej Pepa and Průmyslovej plyn. He also regularly distributed samizdat books that he brought from Prague. In 1994, he emigrated to the United States where he lived until 2019. In the US, he earned an engineering degree in coolant technology. Since 2019, he has been living permanently in the Czech Republic again. He was certified as a participant in the Third Resistance for disseminating samizdat.