Antonín Chládek

* 1949

  • „On September 11, 1973 I was taking a bus to the restaurant, which was about ten kilometers from our place of residence. I went to work in the morning, say at nine o'clock. And without knowing anything was wrong, there was a tank at the first lights and we were not allowed to continue. So the driver turned around and we drove home. I turned on the radio there and found that there was a coup. The coup was more or less a truly violent coup, including the bombing of the Presidential Palace, where Allende was with a handful of his loyalists. And the fact that it was prepared long in advance was known, for example, by the fact that in some copper mines, which were close to Santiago, people worked from Monday to Friday and the weekend was free, they started again on Monday. And to the people who came to work like this on Monday, an officer stood there and said, 'You don't, you don't, you don't.' They already understood it through the unions, who and how."

  • "Well, it's been around September, October 1968, and I kept talking to my friends, like it wanted to go somewhere. But I can honestly say that it was not out of any political anger. In my case, it was a desire for adventure. Just to leave. I said to my mother, 'Dear mother, I was not accepted to military service, I would have been gone for two years anyway, so I would leave and maybe come back in two years.' Well, I bought a ticket to Vindobona train, passports were issued at that time, I went to Smíchov to the Austrian embassy, where there was a queue of about 500 people. There I got a visa in my passport and off I went. I exchanged then, I don't know how much they exchanged, about 70 shillings for a tourist trip and I didn't have any special means. Well, I went to Vienna, where I was arrested and straight to the usual pre-trial detention, and I was there for about a week. Because of the wanderings - the official reason was the wanderings. 'Do you have any money?' That's what the commissioner told me. I said, 'I don't.' Then you'll have to sleep here, he said. And I was so naive that I thought: to sleep, it's like here somewhere in the office, a bed here, and I'll sleep here. But when they told me to take off my shoelaces and belt, it was clear to me that it would mean jail. Well, I was in custody for about four or five days before the bus arrived, which gathereds guys like me to the Traiskirchen refugee camp, which is not far from Vienna."

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From Ústí nad Labem to Chile and back again

Antonín Chládek in Chile
Antonín Chládek in Chile
zdroj: Archiv A. Chládka

Antonín Chládek was born on June 30, 1949 in Ústí nad Labem into a family of a druggist and studied chemistry under the influence of his father‘s job. He worked in the Ústí nad Labem company Chemopharma. In October 1968, after the Warsaw Pact invasion, Antonín Chládek emigrated to Vienna. Here he was detained for a short time due to wandering. At the end of 1968 he traveled to Chile. He learned Spanish, started working at a bacteriological institute, and ecountered his wife. However, after the military coup of General Pinochet, which overthrew the current left-wing government in September 1973, they decided to return to Czechoslovakia with their wife and first-born son.