Martin Hassa

* 1968  

  • „I actually signed the Charter two times. First at Tomáš Hradílek’s house in Lipník nad Bečvou. He somehow passed it on to Petr Uhl who then published the names of new signatories in the magazine Information about the Charter. The names were also read out loud in Radio Free Europe. I waited and waited but nothing was happening. Meanwhile, Stanislav Devátý replaced Tomáš Hradílek as the spokesperson. I had known him as well and at his place in Zlín I signed the Charter for the second time, with almost a year-long delay. Later on it was explained – there was a house search at Petr Uhl’s house during which the signature sheets most probably disappeared.“

  • „I was parallelly both on trial and under investigation. The trial was concerning the distribution of illegal printed material and the ‘Několik vět’ petition. Tomáš Hradílek had suggested it back then, to drive to Přerov to see Vladimír Hlučín, who was supposed to give me something. So, I went to see him and meet him, and he gave me a copy of a notice from the Regional Communist Party Committee’s chairman RSDr. Josef Řezníček, in which he wrote that some crooks had been distributing the petition and which he then sent out to other Party organizations. He attached the full content of the petition to it, so that the comrades would know. Later in court I asked: ‘How come I am on trial for distributing the ‘Několik vět’ petition and Mr. Řezníček isn’t?’ The judge – Mr. Jurka, who is a Supreme Court judge now, reacted in a really good way. He helped me by cunningly wording the judgement. He stated that I had been distributing printed material that had not described the situation in Czechoslovakia quite objectively. I then managed to appeal to Brno and there I was sentenced to either a fine or to six months in prison.”

  • „Back then, life took place in the pubs for the most part. There was nowhere else to meet, so we used to get together in restaurants or in rehearsal rooms. Part of my older friends started a band called ‘Pod hladinou’. It was led by the local underground guru Sten Vlč and it resembled the band Plastic People of the Universe. They put some poetry into music, even Egon Bondy, I think. Other three boys started a rock band. And my friends and I came up with ‘Hurvínkova koloběžka’. It was mainly a joke. We composed a sequence of texts from the 1950s, texts by Pavel Kohout for example. We were just mucking around; we didn’t really know how to play. It was more a masquerade and a joke than anything else.”

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The basement was the only place where I was able to live a life in truth

Martin Hassa / around the year 1984
Martin Hassa / around the year 1984
zdroj: Archiv Martina Hassy

Martin Hassa was born January 17, 1968 into a family of workers in Prostějov. They first lived in Doloplazy and then in Chropyně where his father worked in the Technoplast factory. Martin had had several worker professions after graduating from high school. He started to spread the samizdat literature via dissidents in Kojetín and also collected signatures for petitions for the release of political prisoners and for the freedom of religion. He signed the Charter 77 when he was eighteen. He was a member of the Society of Friends of the USA and the Independent Peace Society. He was regularly interrogated and detained by the State Security. In 1989 he was convicted of distribution of samizdat and the ‘Několik vět’ petition. He actively joined the activities of the Civic Forum in Kroměříž during the Velvet Revolution and later worked as a manager of the local Civic Democratic Party. He lives in Kroměříž and works in the construction business.