Ing. Eduard Hájek

* 1942  

  • “My first childhood memory is how I was kidnapped by a drunk Russian soldier after the liberation of Ostrava. He kept saying he wanted a son like that and shooting his pistol into the air. My sister later told me what had happened. The Red Army accommodated its soldiers and officers in people’s homes in Ostrava. Each flat in our house was assigned a soldier or an officer. We were lucky. We were assigned two Russian officers who liked our family. They tried to help us. They brought us food. They even procured beef, which was a miracle. When the drunken soldiers abducted me, my sister saw it happen. The two officers were on their way home, that is, to us. My sister immediately ran out to meet them. They took me away from the soldier and ordered him to be punished.”

  • “Another such incident happened to me when we enrolled into the Pioneers [a Communist equivalent of Scouting - trans.]. Back then there were these mass events when everyone wanted to join the Pioneers. Their families wanted them there, for one, and they didn’t want to be outsiders, either. I was naive enough to apply as well. That was a mistake because one of my classmates, she was called Dáša – I know her surname perfectly as well – she said that she can’t be in the same organisation as a class enemy. They really denied my application. Because I was a member of Sokol. Dad was a Sokolite through-and-through. He exercised, played amateur theatre, helped get the Sokol gym hall built in Přívoz. He even had a memorial plaque placed there. So the way I saw it, Sokolites were enemies of the state.”

  • “I came against that when the war was over. Some women who were housewives like Mum told her that her man was wuss because he’s let himself get arrested and left her with five kids at home. That he was irresponsible. There were such opinions as well. It was mainly reflected in the way we dressed, in our social standing. We were actually paupers. But there were lots of paupers like us back then. The resistance was not acknowledged. Back then I failed to comprehend why the Communist regime was so set on destroying the Sokolites. I mean, they were educating the nation. They did everything for the nation. And that’s how the Communists repaid them for it.”

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    Ostrava, 05.04.2018

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If my father wasn’t a hero, we wouldn’t be here

Eduard Hájek, 2018
Eduard Hájek, 2018
zdroj: autoři natáčení

Eduard Hájek was born on 23 October 1942 in Ostrava. His father, Břetislav Hájek, worked as a mine blaster and was a member of the Moravian-Silesian Jan Žižka partisan group during World War II - he provided the guerrillas with explosives for sabotage operations. He was discovered and arrested by the Gestapo. The family was not informed of his death in concentration camp until after the war. Eduard grew up in poverty with his mother and his four siblings. His two sisters lost their eyesight, which doctors reckoned was due to the enormous stress their mother suffered when pregnant due to the Gestapo raids and her husband‘s arrest. The family was patriotic, active in Sokol, and never supported the Communist idea. This caused Eduard to be marked as an enemy of the state at school. He trained as a lathe operator but later also completed an evening course at a secondary technical school and earned a degree at the University of Mining in Ostrava. He worked as a design engineer. He never joined the Communist Party, which limited his career options. In 1993 he and a colleague founded the construction design firm Koexpro.